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World Cup 2011

'Reaching quarters not difficult' - Shakib

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 8, 2011

Comments: 183 | Text size: A | A

Shakib Al Hasan is all smiles at a press conference, Dhaka, February 8, 2011
Shakib Al Hasan says Bangladesh can dream big if they get past the first round © Getty Images

Shakib Al Hasan, the Bangladesh captain, has said it is not difficult for his team to qualify for the World Cup quarter-finals and they could even go further. "We have been playing good cricket for the last 15 months, and if we qualify for the second round, why not think of something big," Shakib said. "We have to win at least four matches to win a place in the second round. It is not difficult. I think we are capable of booking a place in the second round."

Bangladesh will go in to the World Cup ranked among the top eight teams in ODIs, and have the advantage of playing all their group games at home. Their No. 8 ICC ranking is justification of their recent form; they won two home series in 2010, beating Zimbabwe 3-1 and New Zealand 4-0, and pushed England close in an away series, losing 2-1.

While Bangladesh have been giant-killers in past World Cups, beating India and South Africa in 2007, and Pakistan in 1999, their most experienced player, Mohammad Ashraful, says this time the side is firmly aiming at reaching the quarter-finals rather than looking for a few upsets.

"Things are now very different to what it was in 2007," Ashraful, who will take part in his third World Cup in the 2011 tournament, said. "In that World Cup, we were hoping for an upset or two, but this time around we are firmly aiming for the quarter-finals. There is a significant change in the mentality."

Shakib, though, said there has not been any drastic change in the way his side sees themselves. "I don't feel that there is anything special in terms of attitude," he said. "Ever since I started playing cricket, I have been playing to win, and I play with the same mentality now, whoever the opposition."

Three victories may be enough for Bangladesh to go past the group stage, since four out of seven teams qualify from each group. Two of their matches will be against Associate teams Ireland and Netherlands, in which they will be favourites. They will also be eyeing fixtures against West Indies, who have slipped below them in the ODI rankings, at Mirpur, and England in Chittagong, while upsets against India and South Africa are not off the cards.

Bangladesh have done enough to have lost the underdog tag, but with that, and the fact that they are joint hosts for the tournament, comes added pressure. Shahriar Nafees, who will be playing his second World Cup, said the team was confident of dealing with it. "People handle pressure in different ways; some thrive under it, some play their best when they don't have it," he said. "But there is a stern belief within this side because we are finally winning. We know that at home we are considerably tough opposition."

While Bangladesh's surprise success in the 2006-07 World Cup gave cricket a boost in the country, it was not until the last two years that the results improved. In the period between the last World Cup and the end of 2008, they won just five out of 34 ODIs. Since the start of 2009, though, they have maintained a win/loss ratio of 1.00 in 46 matches.

Ashraful points to a victory over Sri Lanka in January 2009, in a tri-nation tournament, as the turning point in Bangladesh's fortunes. After fast bowlers Mashrafe Mortaza and Rubel Hossain had skittled out Sri Lanka for 147, Ashraful and Shakib had put together a century partnership to help Bangladesh recover from 11 for 3, the latter making an unbeaten 92.

"During that game, I had a feeling things were changing," says Ashraful. "Previously we were happy just competing with the big teams, but that day there was a feeling prevalent that we will be able to beat the big teams if we played to our true potential." Ashraful's own form has been on a downward spiral since that series and, after averaging just 14.66 in the first half of 2010, he found himself dropped for the series against New Zealand and given just one match in the one against Zimbabwe. He was quick to acknowledge the recent success of the team has been built on their younger players, saying "there are other match-winners coming through."

Nafees is another player who, like Ashraful, has struggled to live up to his early promise, and, after signing with the ICL kept him out of international cricket for a year, has only played four ODIs in the last two years. He said the development of Bangladesh cricket is an on-going process and previous captains have added to it as well. "It is like a relay race," Nafees said. "[Habibul] Bashar and his team had bought the team to a certain level and Shakib is now carrying it on. We are moving forward, that is unquestionable."

Bangladesh will kick off the World Cup with a home fixture against India on February 19.


Comments: 183 
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Posted by Mohammed on (February 11, 2011, 18:11 GMT)

All the best bangladesh team.N all the Asian teams.Hope the wrld cup comes to Asian teams only.Hope Australia will get trashed frm d frst round... Good luck evry1

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 11, 2011, 17:48 GMT)

another world cup... another start defeating India... Go Tigers Go... its time to roar...

Posted by Mradul on (February 11, 2011, 14:57 GMT)

@Sajid Sohan: Ya i remember that Huge Six flown by Tamim against Zaheer in WC2007, but do you remember any ODI Won by Bangladesh either in BD or anywhere else against India since that match in West Indies? I tell you, they have lost 7 matches to India since 2007, 5 of them in Bangladesh and have not Won anything against us. The match you are talking about happened around 4 years back. Your team has not Won any game against India in last 4 years!!!

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 11, 2011, 12:40 GMT)

Dear All, As a Bangladeshi fan from my bottom of my heart i want to win against india.. but in neutral sense india: Bangaldesh ration is 80:20...needless to say india is far better team rather bangladesh. Bangladesh is developing team whether india is one of the top 3. In order to beat them bd boys need to put thier 200% effort simultemouly they have wait some failure from indian team also. Good luck.... hope tamim can exhibit some treatment aginst zaheer exactly the way he showed 2007!

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 11, 2011, 10:15 GMT)

the way indian media iz acting it seems they've already won da cup. go to espnstar.com they r advertising "1983 lords, 2011 mumbai" stuffs like this iz pure nonsense, india might have gud batters bt da same team crushed many times in SA tour and mind u Ban defeated Ind when they had even more experienced campaigners (Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble). so Ban will definitely come hard against them, they'll fight to win. those who take Ban supporters as over hyped people my msg to u plz at first see urselves in da mirror.....those who rank zaheer as one of da best plz recollect that huge 6 down da track by Tamim of his ball dat went miles to hit da stand of the 2nd floor.....dat was in windies bt dis time itz mirpur so watch out for more of those on feb 19....... India will RIP dat day

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 11, 2011, 9:21 GMT)

Bangladesh is dreaming at the moment.At Best they will beat Netherlands(for sure) & may be Ireland (who are as good or bad as Bangladesh).That is the end of that..They are highly unlikely to reach the Quarters.As far as their dream of going beyond the Quarters is concerned or as some are suggesting that they will win the cup, all that will end on Feb 19th.Bangladesh is going to get slaughtered this time by a rampant Indian Team in their own den. After that most people in Bangladesh will get up from their trance & realise their folly.As far as Bangla tigers are concerned, dear Bangladeshis please protect them as the Tiger population all over the world is highly endangered. 11 more tigers are going to be slaugtered on Feb 19th..Please protect them.

Posted by kazi on (February 11, 2011, 9:04 GMT)

I request all my indian frnds to stop freaking out. Things might not be so easy as u r thinking. Plz b rational and understnd the reality. If u think u r going to catch a small fish on 19th, u r surely dreaming in broad daylight. Wait till 19th and utilize these days in preparing urselves to absorb a great shock so that shameful bitter memories of 19th don't haunt u in other matches.....cz i want to see u at least upto semis......GO TIGERS.. GO....

Posted by Chandra Sekhar on (February 11, 2011, 8:07 GMT)

Hi, BD friends, I can understand your excitation about the IND-BAN match. Most of you are sure that BAN will crash India. But the the possibility is much less. Yes, BAN is an improving team now and very young team too and have some exciting young cricketers. But india is a superpower all of you know this.Look who are in the Indian team, Sachin, Sehwag, Gambhir, Yuvraj, Yousuf, Zaheer etc. Among them anybody can change the direction of the match single handedly. So try to realize the original situation. I am not telling that BD has no chance in that match, it is totally depends on Tamim Iqbal. If tamim blasts on that day and most of the Indian batsmen flops then BD certainly has a chance. BD is our neighbouring and freindly country and we also want BAN should go to the next round with India and they have every chance to qualify for QF. So what ever happens on 19th dont worry. If not this time but in future a day will come when all of u will smile. Best of luck to all BD fans. Cheers.

Posted by roket on (February 11, 2011, 2:01 GMT)

"This below average, ordinary, over hyped by fan who don't know other teams besides bangla team will be crushed in semi's" That sounded awfully like an accurate description of India to me! Overhyped? No other team is more over hyped than India, and how many World cups have they won in the last 20 years? Zero. BD on the other hand wasn't even playing 20 years ago. Ordinary? Take Tendulkar out of India and that's exactly what you have. Zahir khan is considered a strike bowler with an average well over 30, where as Skaib and Rzza both average below that. Keep bragging, the whole world saw how India tucked their tails in South Africa in the ODI series.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 10, 2011, 21:36 GMT)

> Yes , Sakib u can . We have 3 good spiner , Tamim , Asraful , riyad ...... shuvo. I hope , Bd again beat india by ......

Go ... Tiger....Go...

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