12:00 AM, March 16, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

It'll be a nervy battle, but we have to overcome

It'll be a nervy battle, but we have to overcome

Naimul Karim

From facing a possibility of losing the hosting rights due to political instability to finally kick-starting one of cricket's biggest extravaganzas, Bangladesh has traversed plenty of obstacles in the last six months to have come this far. And here we are at last, getting the game on with an intense inaugural match between the high-flying Afghanistan and a resurgent Bangladesh.
At this emotional juncture, Bangladesh's former cricket captains bared their souls regarding their feelings and expectations from the team.
Chief selector Faruque Ahmed reckons that the first round for the hosts will be a 'battle of nerves' which they have to conquer in order to make it to the Super 10s.
"Qualifying matches are always a battle of nerves. Strength-wise we are a better team. But playing in the country, there is an additional pressure. I spoke to the boys and they exuded confidence after winning the two warm-up games. So let's hope for the best," said Faruque.
BCB director Akram Khan, compared the hosting of the mega event to the time he led the Tigers to the ICC Trophy win in 1997.
"Looking back it feels like a personal achievement for me. Never really thought that Bangladesh cricket would go ahead so fast and I feel very proud today. Honestly speaking, it would have been better had we not played the first round but I am sure we will do well in the game today," said Akram.



Echoing Akram's sentiments, Gazi Ashraf Hossain, who led Bangladesh against Pakistan in their first ever ODI in 1986, said that it was because of the entire nation's hard work that Bangladesh has reached so far.
"I think the biggest thing is that we have received the ICC's confidence to host the event. We also need to thank the general public who have supported the event at every point and that has made this possible," said Gazi.
"Coming from a time where we had to take turns with football to play cricket at the Bangabandhu Stadium, this kind of a progress was beyond my imagination," he added.
Wicketkeeper-captain Khaled Mashud believes that the World Cup will lead to a new generation of cricketers.
"I remember constantly watching India play in the late eighties on a friend's television and that inspired me to become what I am today. It used to be a struggle because we did not have a dish line back then. Just imagine the effect this will have on the youngsters. They will come really close to their dreams and believe in themselves," said Mashud.
While Habibul Bashar rates the hosting of the 50-over World Cup in 2011 in the same zone as this event, he expects it to be a thriller.
"I think it all depends on how we start the game. I am very hopeful because we beat Ireland in the last game and they are a stronger side than Afghanistan. Surely, there will be some nerves, but that's not always a bad thing. It shows that the players are taking this match seriously," said Bashar.
Former captain Roquibul Hasan bore similar views and believes that the euphoria can take the Tigers ahead.
"I am very excited. This will have a huge impact on Bangladesh's cricket. The euphoria that I have seen is fantastic. Sixteen teams are playing and this is a big thing. I'll be more than happy if Bangladesh qualify for the second round," he said.


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