ICL: Indian Cricket League

Bangladesh have earned respect: Bashar


basharBangladesh may have lost their last World Cup match, but will return home as an outfit that gained respect from their opponents for their gutsy performances.

That they emerged the second-best side of the sub-continent after Sri Lanka was a matter of pride for Habibul Bashar’s Bangladeshis who were not expected to go beyond the opening round.

Bangladesh exceeded expectations with a couple of big performances to upstage sub-continental giants India and Pakistan, who fell flat in the opening round itself after winning just one game.

Their surprise wins over former champions India and top-ranked South Africa meant they were never taken lightly by their opponents. However, as a sign of their maddening inconsistency, they then lost to Ireland.

“We had some good days and we had some bad days, but we showed what we were capable of when we qualified for the Super Eights,” Bashar said after his team’s 99-run defeat against the West Indies here on Thursday.

“We can take a lot of positives from this tournament. We have earned respect from the opposition. It was good for us to qualify for the second round from a tough group. We have shown we are capable of beating big sides, but we need to be more consistent,” he explained.

Bangladesh had been playing one-day cricket for more than a decade, but could achieve only a few big wins. They beat India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia just once each but failed to build on these successes.

They looked a different team this time, qualifying for the second round for the first time since making their Cup debut in 1999 in England.

Bangladesh had won just two Cup matches before this tournament, but improved upon their performance with three victories, their other victims being debutants Bermuda.

The presence of talented youngsters in Tamim Iqbal, Saqibul Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim augurs well for Bangladesh, who now prepare for a home series against India.

Left-arm spinners Mohammad Rafique, Abdur Razzak and Hasan backed their seamers Mashrafe Mortaza and Syed Rasel and always looked difficult to score off on helpful pitches.

Bangladesh started the tournament on a sensational note when they whipped India in their opening game at Trinidad, a victory which eventually knocked the former champions out of the tournament.

Their biggest moment came in Guyana when they upset South Africa. The win briefly put Bangladesh in contention for a semifinal spot, something unthinkable before the tournament.

Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore said “self-belief” was the main difference between the current team and the previous ones.

“The Bangladeshi side of three years ago wouldn’t have been able to overhaul the target of 192 (against India),” he said after the India match.

“A lot of these boys are willing to work a lot harder out in the middle during difficult periods. It gives me a tremendous satisfaction to see a group of players who have come a long way since I joined in 2003. The team has changed and it will continue to change. It will always evolve. That’s how I look at it,” he added.

Left-handed opener Iqbal made his mark, showing courage to deal with quality pacemen on different pitches. He played two significant knocks — both against big sides when he scored a brisk 51 against India and 38 against South Africa.

“Every victory is important for Bangladesh. I must thank all the Bangladeshi supporters. They really helped us. Looking around the stadium it was like we were playing at home,” Bashar said after the South Africa match.

Mohammad Ashraful had the satisfaction of playing a gem of a knock when he hammered an 83-ball 87 in his team’s victory over South Africa.

Bangladesh now look forward to the home series against India where Whatmore will be overseeing the team for the last time.

Source:The News

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 23rd, 2007 and is filed under Cricket, World Cup.

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