Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who scored a smooth 75 against South Africa in the team’s ICC World Cup opener, on Sunday said that Bangladesh cricket had come a long way in the past 12 years. Talking about expectations of people from the team, the cricketer said that merely playing well was not enough for Bangladesh anymore, as the team is now expected to win matches.
Speaking to ICC after the clash against South Africa, Shakib said, “It’s been 12 years, so our cricket has come a long way forward. At that time, if we played well, that was good enough for the crowd and for us. But now, they are not satisfied with defeat to any other team. This is the expectation level we’ve got in these 12 years.”
He further said that though he was happy with the team’s opening performance, he did realise that “it’s just the start of the tournament”.
According to the all-rounder, the team was aware of the challenges it would face in the cricketing extravaganza and the players did prepare for it well. Shakib further said that the team’s recent performance against Ireland and West Indies in Ireland acted as a morale booster for the team.
“Building up to this World Cup, we knew what sort of challenges we might face. So we prepared ourselves well. We were in Ireland, where we played really well against West Indies and Ireland. That gave us a lot of confidence and belief,” said Shakib.
He further said, “There are so many things to prove in this tournament, and we were up to the challenge. The boys were confident, but at the same time, they were relaxed. They knew we have the skill to beat big teams.”
The top-ranked player in the MRF Tyres ICC ODI All-rounder rankings, Shakib also talked about the third wicket stand of 142 with Mushfiqur Rahim. He said that he has always had good partnerships with Mushfiqur.
“Me and Mushfiqur always had very good partnerships. Even in Tests, we have the highest partnership record for Bangladesh. It’s been a very good partnership during these last 10-12 years, because we’ve been playing (together) since under-15. We know each other very well, know each other’s game very well. We can complement each other, and that was the key thing,” Shakib told ICC.