'Tone down' World T20 expectations, Shakib tells home fans
Shakib Al Hasan has urged Bangladesh's fans to be reasonable about their team's chances in the World T20. Similarly, he wants to be remain sensible and calm on the field, and expects the same from his team-mates.
"As the tournament is at home, we will have the support but there shouldn't be too much expectation," Shakib said. "I have heard people say, 'Let the cup stay at home.' But I think we have to tone that down a bit.
"Please support us, the team will do better. But everyone has to take the result sportingly. Too much expectation does put undue pressure on us."
As the Bangladesh captain during the 2011 World Cup, Shakib has first-hand experience of how expectations could have a major impact on the team. In that tournament, Bangladesh were routed for 58 against West Indies, but bounced back to win against England a week later. Soon enough, however, the pressure seemed to catch up again and they folded against South Africa.
Bangladesh's current form should not boost expectations, but there is still tremendous interest in the World T20, particularly as Bangladesh will open the tournament against Afghanistan on March 16.
Shakib wants the team to show better understanding of the situation out in the middle, and his team-mates to remain cool when under pressure. "What we have to do in T20s is to keep a calm head and give our best. We become too excited in T20s. I think everyone is responsible enough to understand these things and do the right thing for the team."
Shakib said that there is no taking any team lightly in T20 cricket, irrespective of where they are ranked. "Nepal is a big team to us. We are a big team to Pakistan, India and Australia. An over or a ball can change a T20 game. On paper there can be a favorite but on the day, I don't think there is any favorite.
"We should fear everyone because we don't know much about Nepal and Hong Kong. Say we score 160 but someone from the other side scores a hundred. Scotland have done that to us in the past. We have to be careful in all the games. It is hard to recover from a mistake in a T20."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here