Mashrafe calls for batsman to go big

Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe Mortaza would like to see his team’s batsmen convert their starts into big scores to close the gap on the bigger teams in world cricket.

He was full of praise for Tamim Iqbal after his 127 powered the Tigers to a big 324 in the first ODI against Sri Lanka in Dambulla.

But even Tamim has struggled to make the most of his starts in the past, scoring 8 hundreds out of 42 fifty plus scores in fifty-over cricket.

Mashrafe feels the batsmen need to step up when playing away from home: "[Our strength] has to be our batting.

"We wanted our batsmen to cross the 50 to 70-run mark and get a big score. It was a learning curve for us. Sabbir missed out in the last game but Tamim got to a big hundred. It makes winning easier when someone does that.

"It is a good lesson for us. The batsmen should learn how to convert 50-60 into a hundred, which is what big teams do. We have to learn this continuously and ensure that we keep doing this. Finishing is also an important matter, which has helped us get to that score."

Mashrafe was disappointed with how his team played in New Zealand but was eager to apply what they had learned down under to improve their game.

He added:  "After the England ODI series which was our last ODI series at home, I said that the different challenge will start in New Zealand.

"But we couldn't win there, despite creating opportunities.

"We won the second Test and the first ODI here. We will improve slowly. Other teams also took time to win abroad. New Zealand was difficult for us but that experience will work for us here."

Mashrafe wasn't willing to let the playing XI for Tuesdays second ODI against Sri Lanka slip declaring it would depend on conditions.

He said: "I think the wicket will be good for batting.

"In the sub-continent, you have to keep a lot of grass to make a wicket that suits the fast bowlers. We will have a look at the grass tomorrow, and whether they have watered it or not. We also have to find out if the wicket ends up as soft or hard.

"We have always broken our winning combination against India and South Africa in 2015. The wicket tomorrow may be different, so we have to keep that in mind."

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