Shakib Al Hasan and Chandika Hathurusinghe both downplayed the rivalry between Bangladesh and its Asia Cup group opponents Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
Recently, Afghanistan defeated Bangladesh in a three-match ODI series in Chattogram by a score of 2-1 before Bangladesh responded by winning the T20I series by a score of 2-0.
Bangladesh won the most recent bilateral ODI series against Sri Lanka, but Sri Lanka, the co-hosts of the Asia Cup, hold a 40-9 advantage in the head-to-head record.
The two teams will encounter on August 31 in Pallekele prior to Bangladesh’s September 3 match against Afghanistan in Lahore.
Shakib stated, however, that the rivalry between Bangladesh and these two teams is primarily for the spectators, as the players have become acquainted through international matches and franchise competitions and do not take it as seriously.
Shakib said, “I dislike the word ‘rivalry’.” Recently, we have been competitive against both of these organizations.
They work extremely hard to succeed, just as we do. These factors benefit the followers. It is beneficial to the game. We want it to be this way as well.
We desire victory at the end of the day. Since we are all acquainted, there is little rivalry among the players.”
The head coach of Bangladesh, Hathurusinghe, echoed Shakib’s sentiments. “I’m not aware of the rivalry, but in recent years, these two teams have played excellent games against each other, particularly in the previous Asia Cups,” he said.
Therefore, I believe that both teams present us with a formidable challenge. Nonetheless, I believe we’ve had some success against them in recent years.
Therefore, we disregard the rivalry, but our strategy against both teams is centered on gaining an advantage.”
The biggest issue for Bangladesh in this Asia Cup is whether they will play with five or six bowlers. One additional bowler will result in a lengthier tail, but according to Hathurusinghe, the bowlers have lately improved their batting.
“We may play that kind of combination [six bowlers] not by chance, but by circumstance.” This is kept in mind. In the last two to three months, the bowlers have worked extensively with our skill instructors to improve their batting.
Taskin [Ahmed] significantly improved [as a batter]. He has also provided evidence against England. He concluded the contest.
Similarly, if you recall, Shoriful [Islam] demonstrated his abilities against Ireland and Afghanistan and led us to victory.
Other batsmen labour diligently as well. Hasan Mahmud has come a long way, and Fizz [Mustafizur Rahman] is scoring huge, big, big shots in his own manner.
Shakib is aware that Ebadot Hossain’s absence will be detrimental to his team, as he was unable to recuperate from the knee injury he sustained against Afghanistan in July.
“Our preparation has been excellent, but it is unfortunate that Ebadot is not on the roster,” he said. “He was a very vital member of the team. It is an obstacle.
“I continue to believe that we can accomplish great things with this team. We must first qualify. We intend to take it match by match. We are not planning too far in advance. We will strive to achieve success and win every game.”
Shakib was also delighted with the inclusion of Tanzid Hasan, the left-handed opener whose moniker is Tamim and who recently led Bangladesh in run scoring at the Emerging Asia Cup in Sri Lanka.
Shakib stated, “The team and I are quite confident in Tanzid’s ability.” If he performs poorly in two or four matches, it does not necessarily indicate he will not be a successful player.
The contrary is also true. There is ample time available. I desire for him to appreciate the game and the atmosphere of the team. We will attempt to make him as relaxed as feasible. If he feels this way, he can contribute to Bangladesh’s welfare.”
Tanzid and Tanzim Hasan Sakib, the right-arm fast bowler who replaced Ebadot, bring the total number of cricketers from Bangladesh’s Under-19 World Cup-winning team in 2020 to eight across all formats. Shakib stated that it is advantageous to have them on the team because they carry their World Cup-winning mentality into the locker room.
They have a winning mentality because they have won the World Cup once. They can motivate our team to accomplish something significant.
They want to triumph, so this is essential for a team’s success. I am hopeful that they will introduce this mentality to the squad, which will help us create a positive atmosphere in the locker room.”