Sports desk: Bangladesh ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan believes his country is capable of winning the 2019 World Cup to be held in England and Wales.
In a recent interview with Cricbuzz after the practice session of Kolkata Knight Riders Shakib was bold in his assessment but put some of the logic behind his team’s chance to win the World Cup.
Bangladesh’s progress in the ODI cricket has been phenomenal since the 2015. They have moved into the quarterfinal of the 2015 World Cup, first time they went so far. Thereafter they won three straight series against three giants—Pakistan, India and South Africa.
From a team to show occasional flashes of brilliance, Bangladesh evolved to a team to beat the top teams regularly in 2015 and they have been in no stopping mood. Such was the progress that they even drew the series across the format in Sri Lanka, a team boasted with a brilliant home record.
During the recent Sri Lanka tour, former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga had said that Bangladesh have a good chance of winning the 2023 World Cup, but Shakib reiterated his opinion that they may not have to wait that long.
“Win the World Cup,” was the simple answer from the top-ranked all-rounder when asked about his cricketing dream.
“Preparations are going on nice and I think we have a very good chance in the 2019 World Cup too. The way we are progressing, we will be a very competitive side in the upcoming WC too,” he told Cricbuzz.
When asked whether he would choose a World Cup win over a Test series victory, he chose the World Cup. What if it was a series win against the number one Test side, and what if it was against the top-ranked team in their own backyard? ‘World Cup’ was the reply each time.
Shakib has been a sensational all-rounder for Bangladesh over the years and it was surprising why he was left out from the initial few games that KKR played despite being available. Colin de Grandhomme was preferred ahead of him which was really a baffling move, to say the least looking at the credentials of the left-arm spinner.
When asked which bowler get the better of him more often than not, Shakib said, it was the two world class off spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Graeme Swann who troubled him the most. Both were champion bowlers during their hey days and tormented star-studded batting line-ups from all over the world.
Shakib has been a part of the Caribbean Premier League and he was asked to compare about the two tournaments. He said according to the atmosphere in the dressing room it was no different but in West Indies, the people are more fun loving and more into enjoyment than the outcome of the match whereas in India the spectators always want their team to win.
“In terms of the dressing room, not much. The culture is a bit different but in terms of atmosphere, there is a difference. In the Caribbean, people are more fun loving, not into the game that much, they just want to enjoy themselves. Here, people are more into the game, they want their team to win.” His cricketing regrets, meanwhile, are predictable. “Ahh! There are actually two,” Shakib answered. “2012 Asia Cup final where we lost to Pakistan by two runs (Shakib was the player-of-the-tournament). And the (2016) T20 World Cup game against India (in Bangalore, where Bangladesh lost after needing two to win off three balls).”
Despite choosing a World Cup win over a Test series victory against a top-ranked side, Shakib’s best cricketing moments have come in Tests. “As a team, winning against England recently (in October 2016 in Dhaka). Personally, the 200 I scored against New Zealand (at Wellington in January 2017).”
Surprisingly, Shakib has named himself as the laziest, messiest and most vocal player in the Bangladesh set-up. “In KKR, there is hardly anyone (who can be called most vocal). Maybe, Robin [Uthappa]. In the national team, it is me.
“In KKR, Kuldeep Yadav (is the laziest) (laughs). In Bangladesh, it’s me.”
He however shared the ‘messiest’ honour with national teammate Tamim Iqbal. “Here most of us are like that. In the national team, it is me and Tamim Iqbal.”
He added that in the nets he loved batting against Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza.
When asked to give the name of one sportsperson he ‘can’t stop fan-boying about’, the answer was Lionel Messi.
While Bangladesh team will leave the country for Sussex tomorrow (Wednesday) in a bid to acclimatize the English condition ahead of the tri-nation series in Ireland and ICC Champions Trophy in England, Shakib would join the side on May 4. Though it was said he would join the side straight from India, his family sources said he may come to the country before leaving for England.