Riyad echoes Tigers' confidence
There is no shortage of confidence in the Tigers' camp in the UAE as the Mashrafe Bin Mortaza-led side have been preparing under hot and humid conditions with the aim of achieving a new milestone in the Asia Cup.
Mahmudullah Riyad exuded confidence over Bangladesh's chances in the six-nation tournament after vice-captain Shakib Al Hasan issued a strong statement by saying: "We want to take one game at a time, but obviously the ultimate goal is to win the trophy. This is what everyone is here for."
Bangladesh will be hoping to go one better this time around after reaching the final of the 50-over Asia Cup in 2012 and also of the T20 version in 2016 before losing at home to Pakistan and India respectively.
Much like Shakib, Riyad, one of the most dependable men in the Bangladesh batting line-up, also emphasised on match-by-match focus to realise the dream.
"I think all the teams are playing very good cricket at the moment. Every team is very important and we can't afford to be relaxed. We need to take it game by game so that we can do well in the first stage," opined the right-hander, who is usually trusted with the responsibility of finishing innings.
Both Riyad and Shakib also reminisced on some sweet memories while they were talking to reporters from the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).
"I think we have got some good memories against Sri Lanka from a few months back [Nidahas Trophy], but Sri Lanka are a very good team, and they are playing very good cricket. We have to be at our best to beat them. We have been preparing quite well, so hopefully we can deliver," said Riyad about their first opponents.
"We are confident enough. We had a very good series against West Indies, especially in ODIs and T20Is, so we will take that confidence into the Asia Cup. Both teams [Afghanistan and Sri Lanka] have been playing good cricket, especially in 50 overs, so we have to play our best to go into the next round," added Shakib.
Climate will be a big challenge for the teams in the tournament and Dubai International Stadium head curator Toby Lumsden said: "I think the conditions that will be present during the Asia Cup will be determined mostly by the weather. We will have hot days, possibly humid nights with some heavy dew is possible.
"The conditions will change throughout the day. Maybe reasonably fast conditions in the afternoon session, and then it might seam a little bit at night time and maybe get a bit of grip and spin for the evening," Lumsden added.
Riyad however expressed confidence of surmounting that challenge. "At the moment it is quite humid, but as professional players we have to be able to adapt and embrace the situations that come our way. We have to take it further on a positive note."
He was also hoping to receive good support from the stands.
"Hopefully we are going to get a really good crowd here because plenty of Bangladeshis live here. We hope they will come out and support us and we hope to deliver some good results for them," he said.
Riyad further said that his only target was to contribute to the team.
“It always feels good to contribute to the team and if the team is winning it feels even better. I will try to keep it simple and try and contribute as much as I can."