We'll prove it on the field: Mash | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 19, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:21 AM, March 23, 2015

We'll prove it on the field: Mash

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The change that Mashrafe Bin Mortaza has brought in the team ever since he took over as  captain has been very much visible; not just in terms of the results but also in the side's attitude as a whole.

While Bangladesh's performance in the World Cup thus far might cut them some slack with regards to their dismal show in 2014, one can't entirely forget that year. They had lost 13 out of the first 14 games. They even went down to Afghanistan and Hong Kong in Dhaka.

The captaincy was weak and the Tigers rarely looked aggressive. But all that changed once Mashrafe and Shakib Al Hasan were given the top jobs.

In the matches so far, Mashrafe maintained an aggressive line of attack no matter what position they were in. Against Sri Lanka he ensured that seven fielders were in when Kumar Sangakkara arrived. He kept up the pressure by placing a slip almost throughout the game against England and it paid off.

Shakib too, was right up there. Against New Zealand his decision to take the batting powerplay early forced Brendon McCullum to introduce a new bowler at the death. The New Zealand captain ran out of options!

The BCB draped part of the home of Bangladesh cricket in Mirpur with a giant national flag yesterday ahead of Bangladesh's quarterfinal clash against India. PHOTO: Firoz Ahmed

The decision to open with two left-arm spinners was again a strategy that displayed attacking intent. These were moves and intents that were missing almost throughout 2014.

When Bangladesh take on India today, there's no doubt that Mashrafe will continue to play the same way. Make no mistakes; there won't be any steps taken backwards and that was in a way reflected in the manner he answered a question regarding Bangladesh's World Cup win against India in 2007.

“2007 is long way past. I think it's not going to help us; 2011 we lost. It's also not going to help us. Short version cricket depends on the particular day and how you play that day. So we have hope that tomorrow we will come out with a good plan and execute it,” a confident Mashrafe said.

It will be one of those rare moments in Bangladesh's cricket when a majority of the fans will be cheering against them. However, that didn't worry the captain at all.

“We know that there will be 95,000 people coming to the ground, and most of them will be Indian supporters, but as a professional cricketer we have to concentrate on cricket.Obviously Bangladesh supporters will be there, we cannot ask for equal number, but hopefully we'll be fine.

“For the last 15 or 17 years they [Bangladesh's fans] have been always with us. Doesn't matter if we win or lose, they always come to the field and keep supporting us. That's amazing to see. I'm sure they'll do it tomorrow as well,” Mashrafe hoped.

The captain further stated that having aced the group stages, the boys were 'relaxed'.

“The group stage was more important for us because we knew that we had to go through because back home everyone expected us to beat a bigger side and go through. That was more pressure, I think.

“From tomorrow, the boys will be very relaxed. They just want to perform on the biggest ground. They have played already on this ground, but that match wasn't good for us. Hopefully we'll play our best shot tomorrow, and the boys are really excited,” he explained.

The last time Bangladesh played here was against Sri Lanka in the World Cup; a match which saw their fielders falter under pressure.

However, the skipper was confident of a turn around. The confidence instilled in him was perhaps best reflected when he was asked if it was possible for Bangladesh to beat India at all.

“You never know. It depends on the day. We'll play our best cricket and see what happens after that,” he concluded. 

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