Soumya Sarkar and Shakib Al Hasan celebrate a wicket. Photo: AFP
Bangladesh T20I skipper Shakib Al Hasan hailed his team for showing strong character against West Indies that helped the visitors clinch the three-match series against two-time World Champions.
After a disastrous start to their West Indies tour, where they were whitewashed in the two-match Test series, it was a complete turnaround from Bangladesh as they showed phenomenal fighting spirit to clinch both the limited-overs series by 2-1 margin.
It was even more assuring result for Bangladesh because their hosts, West Indies, are a formidable side in the game's shortest format. Windies were leading the series 1-0 after winning the opening game at St Kitts before succumbing to two successive defeats as the action moved to Florida, USA.
"Unbelievable effort from the boys," Shakib told reporters after the final T20I. "'After losing the first game, we showed a lot of character. Everybody believed we could come back. 'We were facing the World Champions, and we showed great character. Our record in T20s is not that great and hopefully from now on [we can] kick on," he added.
Bangladesh hit back hard in the ODIs after the Test debacle to win the series under the leadership of Masharfee Mortaza, but the defeat in the T20I series opener again raised questions over the captaincy of Shakib. However, the all-rounder managed to make his mark as skipper both by leading from the front with bat and ball as well as taking some smart move with available options.
Bangladesh were left one bowler short in the series decider once left-arm spinner Nazmul Hossain injured his finger while trying to stop the ball in his follow through, in his very first over. However, Shakib rotated his strike bowlers smartly that earned them regular breakthroughs and helped keep West Indies always in check. Shakib proved that he was leading the side with lot more clarity, something that felt missing in the Test series.
"Just really proud of the boys and even the guys who were not playing put their heart into it and tried to help in whatever way they could and just couldn't have asked for anything more,'' the captain noted. "We know now how to win matches, especially tight matches. We kept on losing so many matches after going close but now we have started to win."
Shakib said that he was keen to lead from the front and was happy that he managed to do so and contributed to Bangladesh's success in the series. The skipper scored 38-ball 60 in the second T20I and added valuable 90 runs in the partnership with Tamim Iqbal to lay the foundation of the series-leveling win, while also being economical and picking wickets at crucial juncture to show his exploits with the cherry.
According to Shakib, his batting form helped him in improving other aspects of his game. "I think I was batting well throughout the series. I was hitting the ball well, and that gave me the confidence which also helped me bowl well and captain well." Shakib concluded.