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We want to play all-out aggressive cricket - Mashrafe

Mashrafe Mortaza celebrates the wicket of Corey Anderson Getty Images/ICC

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza has called for an aggressive approach from the team on the eve of the first ODI against Afghanistan.

"We want to play all-out aggressive cricket," Mashrafe said. "We want to begin like we had finished last year. We sometimes have to play defensively, but we want to play our best cricket."

Mashrafe, however, was wary of Afghanistan, who had defeated BCB XI by 66 runs in the warm-up match on Friday.

"Why shouldn't we think of this as a tough series? We should keep that in mind when taking the field on Sunday," he said. "We will do well if we can carry the confidence that we built through training in the last two-and-a-half months."

Coach Chandika Hathurusingha felt that the long gap between international matches - one day short of six months - was the major problem for his team. He also believed that the first hour of the first ODI would be vital in shaking off the rust.

"The main focus is to win the three ODIs against another national team," he said. "Not playing for a long time is a bit of an Achilles' heel for us. That is what we are trying to get over, that uncertainty.

"The first match is very vital for us. The first hour is vital for us. It is important that we start well, so the focus is all about winning the first game."

Hathurusingha was pleased with the skills of the side, but said that playing in front of a large crowd could be a challenge for the players.

'We have no concern over any skill part - batting, bowling or fielding. It is all about the mental side of the game - getting into the game, playing in front of a crowd for your country," he said. "We played so many practice matches with the top 25 players in the country. You cannot create that atmosphere. Probably, we play a higher level of cricket, but you cannot create that atmosphere of playing another international team."

Bangladesh will be without their best bowler, Mustafizur Rahman, who is undergoing rehabilitation after a shoulder surgery. He is set to miss the home series against England too, but is likely to recover for the New Zealand tour at the end of the year.

In the absence of Mustafizur, Mashrafe hoped himself, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain and Shafiul Islam would step up.

"We had the same attack in the 50-over World Cup," he said. We will miss the Fizz, but the ones who are in the team, they have a chance to prove themselves. I think this is our best possible bowling attack."

The Bangladesh squad includes uncapped batsman Mosaddek Hossain, who has been a prolific run-getter in domestic cricket. He staked claim for a place in the first ODI by top-scoring for BCB XI on Friday.

"Mosaddek is in the team on merit," Hathurusingha said. "He played very well in first-class and the Dhaka Premier League. We played four to five practice matches and we saw him, and yesterday, he obviously put his hand up. He is really putting pressure on the guys who are in the team, so that's a healthy situation for me and the selectors."