'One of our biggest achievements' - Mashrafe
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza hailed his team's first ever ODI series win over India as one of the team's biggest achievements, and said that while the ease of the victories was unexpected, his gumption to play till the very last ball had been sprea
The Bangladesh dressing room was booming with loud bangs on the glass window from the viewing area. The captain Mashrafe Mortaza was gesticulating about almost everything that was happening in the middle. The moment Sabbir Rahman took the winning single, the players moved away from the center quite calmly by usual Bangladesh-celebration standards. But as soon as they had Mashrafe within earshot, it was his party.
Bangladesh immediately got into one of those jumping and singing huddles, usually seen in European football after big wins and characterised by chants of "Ole,Ole". Here, the PA only played those songs that were promoting the series, somewhat degrading to Bangladesh's stature compared to India.
Then came a round of "Mauka mauka", but by this time, the celebrations had moved into the dressing-room. Nasir Hossain tried his best to douse anyone within his reach with a bottle of water. Exactly who poured water all over selector Habibul Bashar was hard to spot.
Before the presentation ceremony, Mashrafe found time to shake hands with all the groundsmen lined up near the 30-yard circle. It was a gesture only Mashrafe could have come up with. He had led Bangladesh superbly in the second ODI and should have been the centre of attention. Instead, he was spreading it around.
Later in the press conference, he thanked his team for being fearless in playing shots and asking for aggressive fields with the ball in hand. He stressed the need to be aggressive in ODI cricket, which he believes has given them the 10-match winning streak at home either side of a successful World Cup campaign in Australia and New Zealand.
"I think the boys are playing fearless cricket," Mashrafe said. "This is the significant change. The boys are not scared to play shots. They are not scared to put the slips on so I think that sort of cricket has changed. Cricket is all about mind games. I think we are all playing good cricket at the moment, especially with our head in the right place."
"I have always wanted to play attacking cricket. In Tests, you can do it more. I believe that when you hit a boundary, you are still not set. When you take a single with a four, you are set. So the thing that I wanted to tell the bowlers is that when I didn't move the fielders they were taking a few calculative risks. Luckily we survived and on maximum days our plan is to play aggressive cricket."
Mashrafe hailed his team's first ever ODI series win over India as one of Bangladesh's biggest achievements. He said that the ease of the two wins was unexpected but his gumption to play till the last ball had been spread throughout the team. He did, however, feel the team had gotten a little lucky and that they had areas to improve upon, unlike the 3-0 win over Pakistan which he called "near perfect".
"This is one of the biggest achievements. Actually I think the boys are really confident. Maybe we didn't expect (to win) that way. But we always thought that we are going to play to win and fight till the last ball. Obviously I know that if we play our best cricket, it will be competitive. But we can win as well. I will say that a lot of luck was involved.
"If you win matches it doesn't mean that you have won perfect matches. I will say we played perfect cricket against Pakistan. Here there was rain and a partnership but we came back. If you win a match you are always there, but you can always improve in certain areas."
Mashrafe believes the current team is consistent, which is the biggest difference from previous Bangladesh sides.
"Our biggest problem was the consistency," he said. "If you are going with a single person, or team, that was our problem. At the moment things are going for us. I hope it will continue. In cricket, momentum is very important so hopefully the boys will keep it up.
"There were a lot of challenges in the last 15 years. Now there is not much pressure for that. A lot of pressure was there in 2014 on us. I think it's a good pressure. When you win everything comes out well. Hopefully the boys will continue to deliver better results."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84