It seems that you are hiding your emotions…

No, not really. I used to be overly emotional. I’ve worked hard on this aspect. I didn’t become like this overnight. I’ve been working on changing myself for around two and a half years now. I’m following a process and working extremely hard. I don’t think about the outcome at all. I want to continue the same way as the captain.

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I’ve heard you worked with a mind trainer on these things…

Yes, I’m still doing it. Like everyone, I have some expectations from life, whether it’s in cricket or outside of it. When those expectations aren’t met with, it’s natural to feel let down and depressed. That’s why I’ve detached myself from all sorts of expectations. If one thinks too much about his expectations, then the fear of failure also creeps in. So, I no longer think about things like that at all.

You regularly captain teams in domestic cricket. Will that come in handy in the national team?

Whenever I’ve captained a team, whether it’s the National Cricket League (NCL), Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL), Dhaka Premier League (DPL) or Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), my main philosophy is that we have to play as a team. When everyone in a team is happy for the others success, sincerely hopes for that his teammates do well, then that team will naturally play well. Everyone in the team needs to feel this way. Hopefully, I will be able to maintain this philosophy in the national team.

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Even two years ago you weren’t in the team, now you are the captain. Looking back at this journey, do you pinch yourself?

When I got dropped from the national team in 2018, it took me a long time to recover from that disappointment. I spent two months just thinking about what will happen now, what will I do. It affected my personal and family life. That period was a big lesson for me. Everyone knows about my struggle to return to the team. I worked very hard and was very honest with myself. Whatever I do now, I do it with 100 per cent commitment. So that I don’t ever blame myself later that I didn’t try with everything I had.

How will Nurul Hasan, the captain, operate?

All captains have a gut feeling. When I have a gut feeling, I always listen to it. It could work, or could be a mistake. But it’s necessary to have that self-belief. It has to come from the heart. I never go against my heart.

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There is a lot of talk about your performance. How important is it to be a performing captain to lead the team?

In the position I bat at in white-ball cricket, you have to play impact innings. Maybe I’ll score 20 runs, but that day that 20-run innings would be an impact innings. In the next match if I don’t get any runs, then people will say that I’m not scoring runs. Because people won’t remember the 20 runs I scored the previous match. A 20-run knock is not a memorable innings. I don’t think about external things. Am I giving my 100 per cent or not, that’s the most important thing for me.

You have been handed the captaincy responsibility for one series. To become a long term captain, you would definitely want to perform well in this series?

I’m not thinking too far ahead. There’s no guarantee whether I’ll still be alive two days later. For now, I’m just thinking about the Zimbabwe series. I will keep working very hard. I don’t want to give up before seeing it through to the end. I will keep trying for the team till the end with everything I have.

How do you view the T20 format?

We are lagging behind in Tests and T20s compared to ODIs. ODIs are our comfort zone. We have a lot of room for improvement in the remaining two formats. For now, I’m only focusing on this series. We will try to play fearless cricket as a team.

*This interview appeared in the print and online version of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ashfaq-Ul-Alam Niloy

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