Wednesday, 18 February 2015 00:00
The chosen one: Tamim Iqbal listens to Chandika Hathurusingha, World Cup 2015, Canberra, February 15, 2015Mahmudullah and Ruwan Kalpage watch the Bangladesh players practice, World Cup 2015, Canberra, February 16, 2015ESPNCricinfo: Bangladesh coach ChandikaHathurusingha is expecting Shakib Al Hasan to lead from the front in their World Cup campaign. He is also keeping a keen eye on some of the younger and less-experienced players in the squad, to see how they respond on the big stage.
Shakib has been Bangladesh’s talisman since 2009 and his all-round form has hardly dipped despite the team’s rollercoaster win-loss record during that period. Last month, he became the first cricketer to be ranked No. 1 allrounder in all three formats of the game.
It was a turnaround for Shakib who had been suspended twice from international cricket for off-field indiscretions, including a spat with Hathurusingha while on his way to participate in the Caribbean Premier League last year.
Shakib is also the only Bangladesh player from the current squad to have played some cricket in Australia in the months leading up to the World Cup, having had a short stint with Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League. Hathurusingha described him as an “explosive” batsman and a “very clever bowler”.
“We have some world-class players,” Hathurusingha said. “We have the No. 1 allrounder in all formats. I am also looking forward to the young players and see what they do for us in this big stage. It is a first time in Australia for many of our players and although some of them have played here, it wasn’t in the major venues. We are looking forward to doing well here.I am expecting [Shakib] to perform and take a lead role. I think you have seen him with Melbourne Renegades. He’s an explosive batter who can get in and control the game. He is a very clever bowler.”
Hathurusingha said that although the occasion and expectation was getting to them, it stemmed from the intention of trying to do well in their opening game against Afghanistan in Canberra. Bangladesh are focused on winning the first game, though he admitted that losing their four practice games was not ideal for the team’s build-up.
“The pressure is there in the World Cup, especially in the first game. Any team wouldn’t know what to expect,” he said. “We are all a bit nervous. We are expecting to do well. I think it is a good thing to feel a bit of tension, whether against Afghanistan, Australia or New Zealand. It doesn’t make any difference [who we start against]. It is important to win the first game. We are focusing on doing well, what we can do. If we perform to our best, we can give a good fight.
“It is not ideal,” he said of the warm-up defeats. “It puts few doubts on your mind. But we were trying a few things, giving a few players a go in these conditions. We had only four games coming here. We know what to do with the combination. We know what we want to do. We are happy with the preparation, whatever we got – thefour games and the facilities in Brisbane and here.”