Matches (15)
NZ v AUS (1)
Ranji Trophy (2)
WCL 2 (1)
Nepal Tri-Nation (1)
Sheffield Shield (3)
CWC Play-off (4)
PSL 2024 (1)
WPL (2)

Tamim credits Litton for 'brilliant call' to open with Shanto

Bangladesh could test their bench strength in the final ODI, their captain has indicated

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Tamim Iqbal scored an unbeaten 50 to help Bangladesh seal the series  •  AFP via Getty Images

Tamim Iqbal scored an unbeaten 50 to help Bangladesh seal the series  •  AFP via Getty Images

Bangladesh were keen to turn their fortunes around in their tour of the West Indies after losing the Tests and T20Is convincingly, according to Tamim Iqbal who oversaw the ODI side's march to a 2-0 lead in the series. The visitors put together a nine-wicket win in the second game against West Indies, their biggest win in terms of balls remaining.
Tamim said the team was reeling from the absences of Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Yasir Ali, but they spurred them on bring about their fifth successive ODI series win. Shakib and Mushfiqur skipped the series due to personal reasons while Yasir has a back injury. Bangladesh also missed allrounder Mohammad Saifuddin who couldn't recover from a back injury ahead of the series.
"The confidence falters when three players from your best XI are missing," Tamim said after the match. "But the boys didn't allow the team to miss them. Everyone was hungry to win. We wanted to take something from the tour, particularly after the T20 series. It is not about me, but the other fifteen. I think we got this result due to the players' desire.
"Every win is special for us, regardless of whether we are playing Australia, England, New Zealand or Zimbabwe. We have to work hard to get to centuries or five-wicket hauls. We should celebrate the wins, because at this level, nobody gifts you anything. You have to fight for everything."
Bangladesh decided to field first in both games, giving them a significant advantage on the Providence Stadium pitches that aided the spinners. The visitors dropped Taskin Ahmed to make room for Mosaddek Hossain, the spin-bowling allrounder, as they expected more help for spinners ahead of the second game.
"These are very difficult wickets," Tamim said. "Worse than Mirpur. You don't know which delivery will get you out on these wickets. We had scores of 149 and 108, so I don't want to judge anyone on these wickets.
"We knew that we needed one more spinner when we looked at the pitch yesterday [Tuesday]. We also thought it might be worth having an extra batsman. You can lose back-to-back wickets on this wicket. The ball spins too much. It was a totally tactical decision. Taskin was very unfortunate to miss out; he had been bowling well."
To counter the spin themselves, Tamim took Litton Das' advice to tweak Bangladesh's batting line-up. It meant breaking the Tamim-Litton opening partnership, Bangladesh's most frequent pair in the last five years.
"Opening with [Najmul Hossain] Shanto was a brilliant call by Litton," Tamim revealed. "Towards the end of the West Indies innings, he told me how about I go out to open with Shanto. I thought he made a wonderful call. It would have been really difficult for right-handers in the middle.
"Shanto and I thought that we can do without scoring runs. When the left-arm spinners finish all their overs, they still have to bowl 30 overs. We had a 48-run partnership but here it is worth a 100-run stand."
Now the captain believes it is the turn of those in the bench to get their opportunities. It would mean Anamul Haque, Ebadot Hossain and Taskin getting to replace one batter and possibly the pace bowlers Mustafizur Rahman and Shoriful Islam.
"The most important thing is to test our bench strength," Tamim said. "We don't do it often in the Bangladesh team. You can't do that when points are involved but being 2-0 up in this series allows us to see those who have been traveling with us for many months.
"I think it is completely fine for me to miss a match. If we don't test our bench strength now, then when will we do it?"

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84