THEY CAN STILL AFFORD A SMILE! Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful (R) and Alok Kapali share a light moment as they wait outside the VIP Lounge of the Zia International Airport yesterday after the Tigers' return from Pakistan where they had a dreadful Asia Cup.Photo: STAR
Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful said that the Asia Cup performance in Pakistan was a mixed bag.
"There was a sign of improvement in our batting in the first three matches but we played really bad cricket in the last game. You cannot say it was a frustrating trip because there was a mixture of good and bad performances," said Ashraful upon Bangladesh's arrival at the Zia International Airport yesterday.
"Pakistan bowled well but still one cannot except a score of 115 in such a good batting wicket," admitted Ashraful while talking about their horrible batting performance against the hosts to suffer a ten-wicket defeat.
Coach Jamie Siddons, who requested through the media manager not to question him on the much talked-about legal battle with Cricket Australia (CA), found signs of improvement in the tournament.
“Apart from that last game (Pakistan), we showed signs of improvement. We scored 283 against India and we created a chance of winning that game. This is a thing that we learn when we play against bigger sides,” said Siddons.
“Last month we made our two best scores against UAE and India. Ashraful makes a hundred and the emergence of Rokibul (Hasan) -- something positive is out there. That is where we are improving and you cannot deny that,” he added.
The 43-year-old Australian also emphasised on consistent performance rather than winning one or two games in a year.
“We have some international standard cricketers in our team. We found one like Rokibul. If we win one or two matches in a year it will not make the public happy. Let us hope we get consistent performance from individuals,” he said.
The 24-year-old Bangladesh skipper Ashraful also praised the consistent performance of Rokibul and the bright comeback of Alok Kapali, who hit his maiden hundred against India after being recalled in the side after two years.
"The consistent batting of Rokibul in the first four matches was encouraging for us while Kapali made a good comeback to the international cricket by scoring a fine century which is really good for our cricket. I think Tamim (Iqbal) was also good," said Ashraful while reflecting on his team's bright sides.
And the obvious question was that how he evaluated his own performance in the tournament and the Tigers skipper said nothing new in response of this question.
"I should have play much better cricket but I failed to do so. I am trying hard to improve my performance and hope we would get the result soon," said Ashraful, who started the tournament with a well-composed hundred against UAE but failed to capitalise on his second one-day ton in the remaining games.
He said that there was no alternative for them than making the hard work to improve in this stage.
"Our next assignment is in Australia (in August) and we will have enough time to practice before the tough tour. We have to work hard and without that we cannot improve our performances. It is really nice that some of our players get the opportunity to play few matches in England with the A team,” he said.
Tamim, Nazimuddin, Rokibul, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mosharraf Hossain and Dollar Mahmud will fly to England on July 9 along with all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who did not play the tri-series and Asia Cup due to HSC examination, and Sajidul Islam to join the A team.
The rest of the Tigers get back to business on July 14.