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Steve Rhodes urges Shakib Al Hasan to show the World Cup why he's No. 1

'He's back as the world's No.1 allrounder - and that's where we think he belongs. But he's got a point to prove to make sure everybody else believes that'

Shakib goes airborne and cuts, New Zealand v Bangladesh, Group A, Champions Trophy 2017, Cardiff, June 9, 2017

Shakib goes airborne and cuts  •  Getty Images

Thanks to the finger injury that kept him out of Bangladesh's tour of New Zealand, the recently concluded tri-series in Ireland was Shakib Al Hasan's first taste of ODI cricket in nearly five months.
He recovered from that injury in time for the IPL, but only got to play three matches for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the tournament. In Ireland, Shakib played an important role in Bangladesh winning their maiden non-bilateral ODI tournament, scoring two unbeaten fifties and bowling economically. Though he missed the final with a side strain, the performance was enough to move him back up to the top of the ICC rankings for ODI allrounders, 20 points clear of Afghanistan's Rashid Khan.
Shakib is fit again in the lead-up to the World Cup, and, according to Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes, is looking to prove a point.
"Shakib is fine," Rhodes told the ICC in Cardiff, after Sunday's warm-up match against Pakistan was washed out. "He's in a great position physically. He had a little problem in Ireland but he's got over that and is raring to go.
"He's looking forward to a wonderful tournament. I think he's got a bit of a point to prove and he probably thinks that as well. He seems to have been a little bit forgotten but now he's back as the world's No. 1 allrounder in ODI cricket - and that's where we think he belongs.
"But he's got a point to prove to make sure everybody else believes that."
Another Bangladesh player who hasn't been at full fitness of late is Mahmudullah, who has been playing as a specialist batsman in recent matches thanks to a shoulder issue that is keeping him from bowling his offspin. While admitting that the injury was affecting the balance of the side, Rhodes expressed confidence that Mahmudullah would be back to bowling in matches at some point during the World Cup.
"Mahmudullah's shoulder is coming along a little slowly," Rhodes said. "I don't think it would have been possible for him to bowl against Pakistan. We're very optimistic that we can get him up and running for the early stages of the World Cup.
"It may affect our balance slightly, but the good thing about Mahmudullah is that he doesn't need a lot of practice to be good at bowling."
Bangladesh's squad is among the most experienced at the World Cup, featuring five players with 175 or more ODIs under their belt.
"People keep telling me that to win a world tournament you need experience," Rhodes said. "I'm glad because we've got a wealth of experience there. I listen to them a lot because why wouldn't you with that vast experience?
"It will be a good thing when it gets a little tight towards the end of the group. There are 10 teams in this World Cup, but when I looked at the odds, we were ninth favourites and Afghanistan were tenth favourites - but on our day we both could beat the favourites.
"There's going to be a lot of winning and losing by all teams."