Najmul Hossain Shanto started the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BBPL) poorly as he managed to score only 115 runs in his first 8 innings of the tournament.
But young 21-year-old, turned things around with a sparkling innings of unbeaten 115 to become the first Bangladeshi batsman to score a hundred in this year's BBPL. He continued his rich vein of form into the playoffs as he scored a crucial unbeaten 78 to help Khulna Tigers reach the final. His team failed to lift the trophy, but his two unbeaten knocks sealed him a place in Bangladesh's T20 squad for their Pakistan tour.
Shanto featured as an opener in the BBPL and for the national team. He prefers to play in the top-order. However, the squad announced for the Pakistan tour is packed with top-order batsmen like Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Afif Hossain and Naim Sheikh. Shanto might find it tough to play in his favourite position.
But he is not bothered with his batting position at all and is ready to play anywhere in the batting order.
"I have absolutely no tension about my batting position. I am ready to play in any position. Wherever I play, I will try to do my best," the former Under-19 skipper said.
He further added, "Usually, I play in the top-order. It would be great if I get a chance to bat there. But as I said earlier, as a professional cricketer I should be able to score runs at any position."
Shanto also has the belief that he would do well if he holds on to his confidence. He also believed that Bangladesh had the chance of beating Pakistan at their own backyard.
"Obviously it will be challenging. But if we play as a team and play according to our strength and planning, then I think good results are a possibility. Any team can win in a T20 match. We are not thinking about the series right now. Our first target is the first match. In T20, the better team on the day wins and we are focusing on that," Shanto added.
Bangladesh are going to Pakistan for a three-match T20 series and there will be no practice matches for the visitors to get accustomed to the conditions. But Shanto believes that it will not be a problem as all the players in the squad played in the BBPL and are in good shape.
Mushfiqur Rahim, one of Bangladesh's stalwarts, has opted out of the Pakistan tour because of security concerns and his absence can be crucial to Bangladesh's success there. But Shanto feels if all the others play to their potential, then Mushfiq's absence will not hurt Bangladesh much.
"The selectors put their trust in this group of players and that is why we were picked. We are not thinking that we will have to play a big role in Mushfiq Bhai's place. We are positive and if we play to our strengths, I don't think there will be that much of a problem," Shanto stated.
Security concerns loom over the Pakistan tour but Shanto is not bothered by that and said that they are focusing on cricket only.
"I am not thinking about those (the security concerns in Pakistan). As a professional cricketer, I am focusing on my game. I am not bothered with those matters as they are not in our hands," Shanto added.
Shanto has till now featured for Bangladesh seven times, twice in Tests and T20Is and thrice in ODIs.