Defying Dublin's cold
Naimur Rahman, dashing batsman, cunning off-spinner and former captain of Bangladesh, was part of the country's first World Cup team in 1999. In a chat with The Daily Star Sport he reminisces on those heady days.
Daily Star Sport (DSS): How did it feel when you heard you were selected for the 1999?
Naimur Rahman (NR): Our squad was more or less set some time before the 1999 World Cup. Before the World Cup there was a series against Zimbabwe in Dhaka, and we basically expected that team to be selected for the World Cup. After performing well in that series, I was pretty hopeful of my chances.
But near the end of the series I was injured, and so was confused about my prospects. That was also the first time that a physio was attached to the team, and he assured me that I would be fit before the World Cup started, so I was relieved.
DSS: This was the first time you were playing in a global tournament. How was the atmosphere different from other tour or series?
NR: Definitely it was a lot different. We played a sort of dress rehearsal at the ICC Trophy, which was a global tournament but the level was obviously not that high. The World Cup was a completely new experience for us.
It was a very well organised tournament, which we really enjoyed. The team performed well. Everything was great and we enjoyed it very much.
DSS: You scored 45 against the West Indies, how different was their bowling from what you usually faced?
NR: We played that match in Ireland, and the weather was pretty bad. There was a lot of rain and it was very cold, and batting was difficult. Still, I tried my best to stay at the wicket as long as possible.
DSS: Recall your sweetest memory.
NR: The best memory was definitely the win against Pakistan. We were a good combination and as a team were in pretty good shape.
It was the last match of our campaign and there were a few changes. Even with our coach leaving, the team atmosphere was good.
DSS: What are your expectations from the 2011 World Cup?
NR: Our team is in a pretty good shape now, and some key players are in top form. I want the team to play as they are playing now, and enjoy themselves.
They should take it match by match. If we start talking about second round or quarterfinals even before the tournament has started, that might lead to problems.
We should plan for every match individually rather than getting ahead of ourselves. If they play well, they will automatically reach the quarters.