Such has been Shakib Al Hasan’s brilliance in this World Cup that after a whimpering end to their campaign, Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza kept naming the all-rounder when speaking of the positives. Shakib’s performance -- 606 runs and 11 wickets -- actually transcended the results of the team he played for, and Mashrafe said the only regret was that Bangladesh could not take Shakib further.
“I should talk about Shakib; he has been absolutely beautiful. Batted at three, did what he could do. I feel very bad for Shakib,” Mashrafe said after the match. “The tournament he had, he deserved to be in the semifinal. Really feel sorry for him. I think it was one of the best performances not just in this World Cup, but in all editions. It is disappointing that a player who played like that is not in the semifinals.
“Mushfiqur [Rahim] batted so well,” Mashrafe continued about the positives. “We could not do the right things at the right times. We could not take catches when we needed to, and when we needed to bowl well, the bowlers could not step up.”
With this being Mashrafe’s last World Cup, there was little to do than look forward to Bangladesh’s next World Cup in India in 2023, even though he would not be there. He wished that the core of the team would survive and there would be new players who could step up in favourable conditions.
“When we play in the next World Cup, I am sure if there are new players who come in, the team will go forward even more,” Mashrafe said. “I wish and pray that Shakib, Tamim [Iqbal], Mushfiqur and [Mahmudullah] Riyad will be alive and well for the next World Cup so that they can guide the newer players. Since it is in India, I of course cannot say that we will win, but Bangladesh will have a chance.
He was more positive about the next tournament because it would be played in Asia and he believed that a bowling attack that was exposed in England would be more impressive in Asia.
“If you ask me after this tournament, when we play in this part of the world, bowling is a big issue. But if we play in Asia we are a far better bowling side.”