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March 17, 2007
Dav Whatmore, Bangladesh's coach, hopes his players won't be overawed at the presence of India's cricketers when both sides meet in their opening match of the World Cup.
"Most of them are superstars but I would be very upset if our cricketers were to get overawed by it. Once you enter the field, you are equals," he was quoted as saying to The Times of India. "We would like to keep our focus despite who the person is - after all he has got two arms and legs."
Whatmore, 55, expressed his disappointment at the 'minnow' label tagged to Bangladesh, a side that has beaten Australia, India and Sri Lanka. "I would like to know what's the meaning of minnows is in [the] Oxford Dictionary. We have secured important triumphs. But yes we are ninth in order so in that sense the other big teams are ahead of us. India is one of them and they are the first one we have to contend with.
"I don't remember when it was last when we played India; I think it was back in 2004. Given the geographical proximity, I would have thought we played more often."
Habibul Bashar, the Bangladeshi captain, echoed Whatmore's concerns. "We have done well in recent past but then we never played a big team in year 2006. As we play against India, we realize they have a number of superstars. We have none. But we want to play as a unit with significant contributions coming from each and everyone rather than a couple of individuals."
Both coach and captain felt Bangladesh's warm-up win over New Zealand was down to an all-round effort and expected more of the same from their players. Whatmore felt Tamim Iqbal, the rookie opener, would come good - "It will be a bit of a baptism by fire for him but I think he will acquit himself well" - while Bashar was wary of the left-arm variety in his spin department. "All our spinners, be it frontline Mohammad Rafique and Abdur Razzak or Saqibul Hasan, are left-arm spinners. We don't have variety and I would have loved to have an offspinner. But they are the best spinners we have."
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