Afif, Naim eye ODI debut as Saif set to return

Dhaka — New faces in Bangladesh ODI set-up, Afif Hossain and Mohammad Naim, said they are hopeful to have the ODI cap in the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe starting from March 1 at Sylhet International Stadium.

While Afif and Naim are excited about their possible induction to ODI cricket, all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin is eying to make a remarkable comeback to the ODI side after seven months.

Both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe teams are now in Sylhet. Zimbabwe flew to the city at 11pm on Thursday while Bangladesh team left Dhaka at 6pm on the same day.

“I have been waiting for this day for a long time. Now my dream came true as I am a member of the Bangladesh ODI team. If I get a chance in the playing XI, I will try to utilise it for my team,” Afif told the media before leaving for Sylhet on Thursday.

Afif usually bats at the middle-order. But in the national team, he might not get a chance at the same place as there are some established members at the top-order. However, the southpaw said he is ready to bat at in any position.

“It depends on the team combination. If the team management decides to play me at the top of the order, I am up for that. Actually, I am ready to bat at any position,” Afif added.

Like Afif, Naim is also excited to be a part of the Bangladesh ODI team. The left-handed batsman said he is confident to take the challenge of 50-over cricket in the international arena.

“It’s a new challenge for me and I am ready to take a challenge at any time. I was advised to work on some special aspects of my game during the two-day practice match against Zimbabwe before the Test. I worked on those and now, I am ready to play 50-over cricket,” Naim told the media on Thursday.

Naim also insisted that he feels lucky to play for the Bangladesh team under the captaincy of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza.

Saifuddin, who was so close to establishing himself in the limited-over set-up of Bangladesh, returned to the ODI team after a gap of seven months due to a back injury. The all-rounder said he has no injury-related problem now.

“I got the clearance from the BCB medical team. I am allowed to play any sort of cricket now. There were some restrictions during Bangladesh Cricket League as I was not permitted to bowl for more than eight overs a day. But now, I am ready to play without any restriction,” Saifuddin said.

All of Afif, Naim and Saifuddin believe they can beat Zimbabwe in the ODI series if they can come up with their standard brand of cricket.

While the first match of the ODI series will take place on March 1, the remaining matches will be played on March 3 and 6. All the matches will be played at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.