ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Shakib-led Bangladesh ready to make it count
Bangladesh enter the 2019 World Cup without the tag of ‘minnows’. The Bengal Tigers have proven -- time and again in the recent past -- that they are not a team to be trifled with by the opposition
Bangladesh enter the 2019 World Cup without the tag of 'minnows'. The Bengal Tigers have proven -- time and again in the recent past -- that they are not a team to be trifled with by the opposition.
They made it to the quarter-finals in the last edition of the World Cup and then played the semi-finals in the 2017 Champions Trophy. In 2018, they almost won their first major tournament only to lose by a whisker in the finals of the Nidahas Trophy against India.
Recently, they won the tri-series in Ireland which included West Indies as well. However, Bangladesh, who are ranked seventh in the ODI rankings, will face an uphill challenge to better their 2015 performance and reach the semi-finals of the World Cup.
A SWOT analysis of the Bangladesh World Cup squad:
One of the biggest assets which Bangladesh have in their arsenal is Shakib al Hasan. A prolific influence with bat and ball in Bangladesh's ascent to the upper echelons of the limited-overs game, the experienced Al Hasan is set to embark upon his fourth World Cup campaign this summer.
One wicket away from joining an exclusive club of limited-overs to have taken 250 wickets and surpassed 5,000 runs, one cannot just rule out that the 32-year-old is one of the modern-day greats.
In Shakib, they not only have the number one ODI all-rounder but also a great tactical brain which will come in very handy during pressure situations in the World Cup.
Also in Tamim Iqbal, they have an opener who has the game to play in swinging conditions and is more than capable of getting off the team to a destructive start.
Their leader Mashrafe Mortaza has got the best out of the team in the recent years. Even though his individual performances have not been great, he has made sure that his team is improving all the time.
They have included Liton Das in their squad despite his dismal run of form. After 27 matches, Das averages less than 20 and has struggled in recent times. One can understand that the management has gone with him as a backup wicketkeeper but with the likes of experienced Imrul Kayes waiting in the wings, this move can come back to haunt the team.
Also, despite picking players to fill in their respective roles, the Bangladesh team lacks an X-factor player who can change the game on his own -- a player who can win them the game out of nowhere. They also lack big power hitters like Chris Gayle or Hardik Pandya that can come in very handy in the batting-friendly English pitches.
Coach Steve Rhodes has already said that the team is happy with the 'underdogs' title, meaning they have no pressure on them going into the showpiece event. They have the opportunity to surprise the teams and given the format of the tournament, they can easily cause one or two upsets.
"Because if we can keep surprising all these big teams, everybody is going to be commenting about what is going on with Bangladesh -- 'how do they do this sort of thing; how do they keep doing this sort of thing?' If we don't get too big for our boots, then we will keep surprising, and we should handle the pressure a lot better," Rhodes said.
One of the big threats for Bangladesh is their inability to perform in big matches. Despite going deep in various tournaments in the recent past, the Bangladesh Tigers have just succumbed to the pressure and have lost matches which they could have won.
Also, they have players in the squad who are coming out of injuries. The management needs to look carefully after its players given the long duration of the tournament and manage their workload properly. If existing injuries of some of these players resurface during the tournament, Bangladesh may find themselves in a spot of bother in the World Cup.
Squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim(wk), Shakib Al Hasan (vc), Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Sabbir Rahman, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Mithun, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mosaddek Hossain, Abu Jayed