'They don't have the right to play in the Super Eights' April 9, 2007

India and Pakistan deserved to leave - Bashar

Habibul Bashar believes Bangladesh can make the semi-finals © Getty Images

Habibul Bashar has hit out at World Cup killjoys who bemoan the absence of India and Pakistan, saying the sub-continental giants do not have a right to be in the finals.

"Someone asked me whether the World Cup has become stale after the exit of India and Pakistan," Bashar wrote in his column in the Prothom Alo. "It seems that at any cost India and Pakistan should be included in the Super Eight. They are not saying that India and Pakistan lost two out of their three first round matches.

"They don't have the right to play in the Super Eight. If this attitude persists, one should organise 'Top Ranking Cup' instead of the World Cup, where the teams will play according to their rankings. The World Cup is not a property of one or two teams. It belongs to every one and the best team will win the Cup."

Bashar was clearly irked after Bangladesh pulled off a major upset by beating South Africa by 67 runs. He wrote in the Bengali daily that the win would silence some of the "noises" heard after Bangladesh lost their first two matches of the Super Eights.

"I think this victory will stop all these things," Bashar said. "Instead of spoiling the show, Bangladesh has made the World Cup more interesting. There are now plenty of teams now fighting for the semi-finals.

"We have a bright chance to play the semi-final if we can beat England. The English team has some good players but they are not playing well in the World Cup. So it will not be impossible to beat them."

Bangladesh meet England in their next match at Barbados on Wednesday, followed by Ireland and West Indies at the same venue.