Shoriful Islam of Bangladesh celebrates after taking the wicket of Muhammad Waseem of UAE during the SkyExch Friendship Twenty20 Series at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium last month. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Bangladesh ready to make a big impact as they begin their Twenty20 World Cup preparations with a tri-series against Pakistan and hosts New Zealand in Christchurch on Friday.

Bangladesh are facing Pakistan in the opener of the double round-robin series in Christchurch and Sridharan Sriram, Techincal Consultant of the Bangladesh Twenty20 team, is feeling positive about the team’s prospects in the World Cup and the tri-series.

“We are focused on two things, improvement and impact. Our players are very aware of what they need to do. They have to be at the game at different stages and we have to keep improving as a team. That will be the focus,” the former India all-rounder told Gulf News.

Clear role

Sriram, who was part of the Australian coaching staff as the assistant coach for six years, took charge of the Bangladesh, known as Tigers to their ardent fans, in late August with a specific focus on the Twenty20 World Cup.

Talking about his new role, Sriram keeps it plain and simple. “I am very clear about my role. Bring the captain, the coaches and everyone together and put a strategy and have a good T20 template,” he said.

Sridharan Sriram

Though that template didn’t work for Bangladesh in the Asia Cup, his first assignment only days after taking charge, there was a big difference in the players’ attitude in the two games against UAE in September.

Bangladesh were on the verge of losing the first match before they showed plenty of resilience to bounce back and pull off a sensational seven-run win before producing a clinical display in the second to outplay the hosts in the SkyExch Friendship Cup.

Positive outcome

“In the past, we lost about 15 of the 18 games out of which 10 or 11 very close games. We want to nail down those close games, which is very important at the international level as lot of games go to the wire. Good teams are those ones who close out those games. That’s one area, which is a positive against UAE. It’s a close game we were able to close it out, so it’s a big turnaround from that point,” Sriram felt.

Bangladesh, who hosted the 2014 edition, which Sri Lanka won, are yet to go past the Super Eight stage in the Twenty20 World Cup, finishing without a single win in 2007 in South Africa, the same year the Tigers made the Super Eight in the 50-over World Cup in the West Indies. Bangladesh’s biggest achievement so far is the quarter-finals of the 2015 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

But these stats don’t bother Sriram, who feels the young generation of Bangladesh players and veteran all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan at the helm, have shown the right attitude and have adopted the team’s philosophy clearly as they enter the stretch heading to the World Cup. The team management is also doing everything possible to get these young players as much exposure as possible at the top level.

Lot of improvement

“Asia Cup loss in the first round was not a disappointment,” he asserts. “The fact that we focused on improvement and there was a lot of improvement. We are very clear with where we want to play the T20 and our philosophy, which we have defined clearly internally. I think going by that Asia Cup is not a failure.”

Sriram went on to substantiate his claims. “Full credit to Sri Lanka for winning the Asia Cup after beating India and Pakistan, but if we had beaten Sri Lanka, we would have qualified to the Super Four. Then maybe we probably could have done something similar, never know,” he added.

Talking about the tri-series, Sriram said: “The conditions are going to be a lot different. Pakistan are playing good cricket at the moment and New Zealand are a great side at home. So it’s a different challenge for the boys and they are up for it,” he concluded.