Bangladesh national captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza said the Tigers are hopeful of doing well in the upcoming Asia cup despite the fact that they are yet to be sure of their footing in the shortest format like they are in 50-over cricket.
Having won only 15 of their 50 Twenty20 matches, this is the one format where Bangladesh still look like newcomers even with the Asia Cup and the ICC World Twenty20 in India in March around the corner.
“We have had good practice. Everyone is here except Mushfiq [Mushfiqur Rahim], Tamim [Iqbal] and Shakib [Al Hasan]. The others also practised well here,” he said while talking to reporters at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong yesterday.
Expectations will be high after the Tigers' home successes last year. While those results came in their favourite 50-over format, this time the Asia Cup will be held in the T20 format.
About Bangladesh's weakness in T20s, he said: “We are not up to the mark in the T20 format. If we can do well here our confidence will increase. We are working towards that aim. We have some experienced players and some youngsters; if they can do well I hope something good will happen.”
“We are doing some specific practices and trying to overcome the problems we have in the T20 format,” he said, adding that it was natural that fans would come to the matches with high expectations. “We will try to deliver in the match with the same confidence with which we are practising.”
Praising the U-19 cricket team the captain said it is a great achievement that they handled the pressure of playing in the country and became the third-placed team in the tournament. He hoped at least four to five cricketers will play in the national team in the future. He also praised Bangladesh U-19 captain Mehedi Hasan Miraz for his achievement of becoming man of the tournament and hoped that the youngster can perform far better for the national team in the future.
One talking point surrounding the Asia Cup is Tamim Iqbal's absence as he is expecting his first child with wife Ayesha Siddika during the tournament and has been granted leave. “His absence is unfortunate for us and for Bangladesh cricket, but obviously family comes first. He will become a father. I think it is necessary for him to stay with family now.”
The Bangladesh team have been staying in the port city since February 8 and after today's practice they are scheduled to fly back to Dhaka for final preparations before taking a short break.
The Asia Cup will kick off with the Bangladesh-India match on February 24 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.