'Improvements in Test cricket, tournament win in ODIs' - Najmul Hossain Shanto on his goals as Bangladesh captain across formats

Najmul Hossain Shanto is set to begin his reign as Bangladesh's full-time captain during a multi-format home series against Sri Lanka.

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Najmul Hossain Shanto
Najmul Hossain Shanto. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Najmul Hossain Shanto, who was announced as Bangladesh's skipper across all three formats last month, is set for his first assignment when the Bangla Tigers host Sri Lanka at home for a multi-format series. The two Asian teams will compete in three T20Is, three ODIs, and two Tests. 

Shanto has been one of the most consistent performers for Bangladesh in recent times. Since 2023, the southpaw has amassed 1,650 runs across three formats for the national team playing 42 matches, at an average of 42.30. No other Bangladeshi cricketer has scored more runs in this period than him.

On February 12, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) named Shanto as the skipper across all the three formats after Shakib Al Hasan's future was uncertain by virtue of his eye problems. Shanto has led his nation in two Tests, six ODIs, and three T20Is. The 25-year-old also took charge of the team in a couple of matches during the ODI World Cup last year in India in Shakib's absence.

Ahead of the first T20I against Sri Lanka in Sylhet on Monday, March 4, Shanto spoke about the challenges of being Bangladesh's all-format captain and the advantages as well.

"I know it [being all-format captain] is challenging, but for planning, it will be easier. I have to know about every cricketer though we stay together and playing together but to do the planning, it will be easier as I am in charge of three formats. I hope something good will happen," Shanto was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.

I don't think we have improved a lot in Test cricket: Najmul Hossain Shanto

The 25-year-old remarked that Bangladesh hasn't shown considerable progress in the longest format of the game but are demonstrating better performances compared to earlier times. Shanto stressed the importance of winning home Tests and being competitive on away tours.

"I don't think we have improved a lot in Test cricket but we are playing better than before and what I want personally is that when we are playing at home, we can win those matches and everyone should build-up [understand] the importance of Test cricket. When we are going abroad, we should be able to compete," he continued.

Bangladesh didn't have a great ODI World Cup 2023 campaign but the 50-over format is still their strongest suit. Shanto acknowledged that they have not won a major tournament so far. He aspires to bring a trophy to the country during his captaincy tenure.

"In ODIs, we are doing good but as a team, we are yet to win a big tournament, so want to move forward with the plan on how we can play well in a big tournament and bring a trophy for the country," the new skipper stated.

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Shanto didn't have a memorable time during the recently-concluded Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). He managed just 75 runs from 12 games at an average of 14.58 and a below-average and strike-rate of 93.58. However, he isn't too perturbed by the lack of runs. Furthermore, he affirmed that his responsibilities as a batsman will stay unchanged following his appointment as captain.

"I don't think I am playing badly... because of my throat though, there was some irritation it is just that I had a bad tournament and I am working on that and hopefully it will be better in the coming days," he added.

"I have to score even if I am not the captain and it is not a fact that I have to score extra because of being the captain. I feel I am a batter first and my job is to score runs when I am batting, and later I will fulfill my duty inside and outside the ground, but I am not seeing it like I am captain so I have to do something extra in the batting and when I am batting, I will be fulfilling my responsibility," Shanto concluded.

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