As the much-awaited World Cup cricket inches closer, the Bangladesh skipper says he is hopeful of reaching the second round despite having ‘some problems within the team’.
“Our aim is to reach the second round, which is difficult. But, we’re capable to make it,” Shakib Al Hasan told the first official press meet at Sheraton Hotel in the city, ahead of the mega event beginning on Feb 17.
“The first match is our main focus,” he stressed.
“If we can reach the second round, we’ll think something bigger,” an optimistic but cautious Shakib said.
In the opening fight on Feb 19, Bangladesh will play India, which ranks second in the ICC ranking. Bangladesh have secured the eight position recently, moving ahead of West Indies.
Bangladesh defeated India in the 2007 World Cup.
In reply to a query if he is confident of wining again, Shakib said: “Things are different now. But, I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. If you are good enough, you can win.”
Shakib said he motivates the team members saying that World Cup is no big deal but “a game of bat and ball”.
Asked whether there is any lacking in the team, the Tigers captain said, “We do have some mistakes. We’re working on it.”
“Home ground is a bonus for us.”
He assured that every member of the team was fit and there was no injury so far. “We’re a well-prepared team except some trivial problems.”
Shakib, however, did not elaborate what the problems exactly were.
Bangladesh declared the 15-member team on Jan 19, leaving pacer Mashrafe Bin Mortaza out due to his injuries.
Shakib also referred to the fact that Bangladesh did not play any international tournament before the World Cup. “It’d have been better for us.”
He, however, said the domestic league matches had benefited the players.
Asked about his bowling attack strategy, Shakib smiled and refused to disclose.
Shakib, the youngest captain among the World Cup teams, did not mention the name of any team when asked about the probable cup winner. “Anyone who will play well can win.”
About the possible teams to play the practice matches, he said, “Ahead of the World Cup, we’ll play two practice matches, when we’ll do some experiment with the players.”
Bangladesh will play Canada in their first warm-up match on Feb 12 in Chittagong and against Pakistan in Dhaka on Feb 15.
A confident Shakib said: “We know the playing conditions, our boys are fit and preparation is fine. Besides, we’ve improved a lot in the last 12-15 months.”
SHAKIB AS A PLAYER
In response to a query over the difference between the young player in 2007 World Cup and the captain in 2011, Shakib said: “Responsibility is greater now, but my role in the team has not changed.”
He also said he has no problem with the team members in the dressing room because of his age.