Imrul undeterred by praise

Bangladesh batsman Imrul Kayes looks at his pads during a training session at the Sylhet International stadium on Tuesday. — New Age photo

Bangladesh opener Imrul Kayes claimed on Tuesday that he was not thinking about praises and maintaining focus on his game before the forthcoming two-match Test series against Zimbabwe starting from November 3 in Sylhet.
The opener scored 349-runs in the recently concluded three-match one-day international series against Zimbabwe – highest by any Bangladeshi cricketer in a three-match series, where the hosts completed a clean sweep against the visitors.
Imrul, who is being lauded for his batting brilliance, knows the vagueness of this admiration, and wants to remain focused on his game.
‘It feels good when everyone praises you. But even then you have to think about the negatives, which I’m doing,’ the left-hander told reporters at the Sylhet International Stadium.
‘Now, I’m playing well, that’s why everyone is praising me, but in the future if I don’t perform everyone will forget about it. So at the end of the day it’s better to focus on your own performance,’ he added.
Imrul scored a brilliant 144 off 140 balls in the first ODI in Dhaka, rescuing his team from a precarious position, and continued his dominance over the Zimbabwe bowlers scoring 90 and 115 in the second and third ODI in Chattogram.
The left-hander, who now has four ODI centuries under his belt, felt that his centuries in the previous series have placed him under the spotlight and wanted to continue scoring big innings when set in the upcoming Test series.
‘I had scored almost 1,000 runs in 2010. But at that time it wasn’t talked about, as I didn’t score many centuries. Maybe, now because I’ve scored centuries, everyone is noticing it,’ said the 31-year-old.
‘But I had scored runs before, as I’m scoring right now. I couldn’t prolong those innings. Now, I try to make big runs after getting set,’ he added.
Bangladesh are missing stalwarts Tamim Iqbal and Sakib al Hasan in the Test series, as the duo is still recovering from their respective injuries and have picked four uncapped players in Ariful Haque, Mohammad Mithun, Khalid Ahmed and Nazmul Islam in their 15-man squad.
Imrul accepted the void of missing such stalwarts in the side, but was confident that the young players would make-up for their absence.
‘Tamim, Sakib have become big role-models for Bangladesh cricket. When they play, opponent teams are also under-pressure,’ he said.
‘I feel the young players who are here with us, have been with the team for a long time and understand the national team’s environment. If the players play to their potential, I don’t think it will be that big a problem.’
Last time the two sides played a Test series in Bangladesh was in 2014, where the hosts won the three-match Test series 3-0.
Zimbabwe haven’t beaten Bangladesh in Test’s in Bangladesh since their last triumph in 2001 in Chattogram.
However, Imrul was still wary of the opposition as he considered Zimbabwe to be a better batting unit in Bangladesh compared to other visitors.
‘We always consider Zimbabwe as a good side. Zimbabwe consistently gets big scores in Bangladesh. The other visiting teams usually don’t score such big runs,’ he said.
‘Somehow, they lose matches against us, but they’re not a bad team,’ he added.
Sylhet International Cricket Stadium is scheduled to make its debut as a Test venue, as the Stadium is scheduled to host the first Test of the series.
Imrul was unsure what the pitch at the new venue would play like, but he expected it to be batting friendly.
‘Looking at it, it seems like a batting track, but you can’t say it for sure before playing on it,’ he added.

Source: New Age.

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