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April 6, 2007
Saqibul Hasan, the young allrounder, may be one of the less experienced Bangladesh campaigners, but he will not be intimidated by South Africa's array of talent when the two sides clash on April 7 in Guyana. Though he will face an attack comprising Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Jacques Kallis and Andrew Hall, Saqibul, 20, insisted that the quartet did not impress him.
"Why worry, when I have faced Australian and New Zealand bowlers? Why would I worry about the South Africans?" he said, adding that he's watched every South African bowler on television and was looking forward to facing them for the first time. "I just want to play my natural game and will treat every ball on merit. They [South Africans] are good bowlers who bowl line and length and I have watched them since the 1999 World Cup."
Saqibul's most polished innings was a match-winning 53 in Bangladesh's five-wicket win over India in the first round. That win became the basis of Bangladesh's surprise qualification for the Super Eights, something Saqibul will remember for the rest of his life.
"It's a good memory and it will live for ever," he said. "I was confident that I would get runs and now I hope that I will get the big one again. That innings against India made me realise that I can score against big teams and good bowling."
Despite his success in the Caribbean, it was football, and not cricket, which was his family sport when he was growing up as his father and a cousin both played at domestic level. But watching Bangladesh winning the ICC Trophy in 1999 sparked a huge cricket interest in the boy who became the only cricketer to come from the small town of Magura in Khulna district.
Saqibul rose from the Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka and since making his debut against Zimbabwe - both last year - has hit three half-centuries and a hundred in 25 one-day internationals with an impressive average of 49.75. "I am enjoying the World Cup a lot but we all know that there is still a lot of work to do and we hope to finish on a high note," he said.
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