Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza has said his side's Test series win in the West Indies will lead to more consistency in their performance. The team, he said, had been knocking on the doors of a big win for some time and were confident it was round the corner.
Mortaza was speaking on his return to Bangladesh, his tour cut short by a knee injury that ruled him out of the second Test and the ODI series.
"We did something which never happened to Bangladesh cricket," he said. "I thoroughly enjoyed it even though I was not playing for the most part. Our cricket can only go forward from here. We are not going to win every game from now on but I believe you will see more consistency because the boys have confidence and belief in their abilities."
He said the team put the loss to Ireland in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup behind them. "We have been playing good cricket for seven-eight months. We pushed teams like New Zealand and Sri Lanka really close and the players were confident that a result was just around the corner. One Twenty20 loss to Ireland doesn't wipe out the good cricket we played before that."
Bangladesh's win came against a severely weakened West Indies side, the hosts ravaged by an internal contracts dispute, but Mortaza wasn't about to let it take the gloss off the result. "We had planned for Gayle and the rest but then their line-up changed. We couldn't do anything about that and decided to stick to the same plan against players we didn't know much about. We executed our plan really well and it worked."
Mortaza praised the effort of the top-order batsmen in the series, an area of worry for Bangladesh recently. "That had been one of our areas of concern in the past but Tamim (Iqbal) was excellent in the opening slot. Imrul (Kayes), Zunaed and some others may not have made big runs to show but balanced that by staying at the crease for long periods. Spending time at the wicket is decisive in Test cricket."
Mortaza was unsure about the details of his injury, and said he would travel to Australia to receive treatment. "I'm still not sure about the extent of the damage. I've heard that there could be a bit of internal bleeding probably. I will have to travel abroad and get it checked and we'll see whether a surgery is required or not. But I'm confident that I would return to cricket pretty soon."
Fast bowler Shahadat Hossain, who also returned to Bangladesh after being omitted from the ODI team, admitted it was not a memorable Test series for him. "I am disappointed with my bowling. We played on wickets where you had to bowl long spells to get wickets. I didn't do that and that's probably the reason why I wasn't successful. The pitches are slow in the Caribbean and we have Shakib who is super and then (Abdur) Razzak, Riyad (Mahmud Ullah) and Naeem (Islam). I expect the spinners to do well in the ODIs."
Newcomer Sahgir Hossain did not get to play in any of the Tests, but was happy to be part of the winning national team. "Obviously I would have been happier if I had played but the feeling of winning a Test series on my first trip with the National team is still a most memorable experience," he said.