Yesterday was the first time in Bangladesh’s ongoing training camp that almost all members of the World Cup squad, except Shakib Al Hasan, practised together at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur ahead of their May 1 departure for Ireland.
Experienced wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim faced the media for the first time since returning from the New Zealand tour and he was asked about a lot of issues, including the Tigers’ upcoming ICC World Cup campaign, during a twenty-minute press conference yesterday.
The followings are the excerpts of the press conference:
On his fourth World Cup appearance
Not just the World Cup, it’s a matter of huge pride to represent Bangladesh on the international stage and take part in a tournament. The World Cup is a big platform... we three-four players are going to play our fourth world cup and I wish to make this a memorable one and will try to reach the end. I think it’s not impossible, it’s tough but possible. I personally believe that we have the ability to reach the knockout stages and anything can happen if we can reach that point. The upcoming Ireland series is very important to regroup as a unit.
Pressure or opportunity for experienced cricketers in the World Cup?
There are expectations and pressure in every international game as you are representing a nation and it’s a matter of huge pride and honour. This may be our last world cup together if Mashrafe bhai is unable to play the next World Cup. So we all want to do something special, at least for Mashrafe bhai. I think it’s obviously a very big opportunity to do well in the World Cup.
Youngsters taking up the challenge
If you look at our batting department we have a relatively experienced unit, but it’s not just about having the experience as you also have to execute that by performing. It’s a different challenge for those who will be playing the World Cup for the first time. I think they are very much capable, which they have shown in the last two-three series. If you talk about [Mohammad] Saifuddin and Fizz [ Mustafizur Rahman], they have been doing well and it is a plus point for them. It’s a big tournament and they need to take it a step further and take on personal challenges as match-winners emerge from such events. If we can get one or two match-winners from here, Bangladesh can consistently perform better in the future away from home.
The batting approach keeping in mind potentially high-scoring games
I think the strike rate is very important as it’s more important than how many runs you scored or your average. We have lost to England in the Champions Trophy despite posting 320 which shows that we should have scored around 350-360 and our top-order batsmen are also taking this into account. If we can score hundreds, we need to look to convert that to 130-150 in quick time and keeping the size of the boundary and ground in mind, we also need to run hard between the wickets.
His memory of first World Cup
Actually, everything went in a flash in the 2007 World Cup. I was excited about when I would play as I was very young then and it was a big stage with all the great players. When you are playing against Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and the game is telecast on TV, those things were fascinating. But those who will be playing for the first time now are quite mature and apart from Abu Jayed, almost all have played quite a few international matches. It’s important to enjoy the game.