Pinnacle beckons for cricketers

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And days and nights of wonder for fans.

Cricket lovers across the nation are looking forward no doubt to see how their beloved Tigers perform at the ICC World Cup 2019, returning to England and Wales after 20 years, and surely their excitement will have been by the ICC officially announcing the full schedule for the event on April 26.

The 10-team showcase  will cast its mesmerizing spell for 46 days across eleven world-class venues where each star studded side will play the other once in a 45-match single-league format, with the top four sides progressing to the semi-finals of the event.

Two of England’s most famous grounds, Old Trafford in Manchester, and Edgbaston, just outside Birmingham, will stage the two semifinals on July 9 and 11 respectively, before the final at Lord’s, in St John’s Wood, London on July 14.

Hosts England and South Africa will compete in the tournament opener at The Oval in south London on May 30, while Bangladesh will start their campaign taking on South Africa at the same venue on June 2.

Bangladesh, who remain without a permanent appointment as head coach, expect inspirational Mashrafe Bin Moratza to remain injury-free and lead the Tigers at a second successive World Cup, following the quarterfinal appearance in the 2015 edition played in Australia and New Zealand.

Mashrafe predicted the upcoming 12th edition of the World Cup will be more competitive than any other earlier editions, when all the participating nations have started to shape their teams according to their target.

The Tigers’ leader thinks his teammates have to utilise all their capacity for good results in the world event, which returns to its format of 1992, where all teams in the finals play each other before the top 4 qualify for semi-finals.

“I hope this World Cup will be more competitive than we played before due to its format,” Mash said to media on Friday [April 27].

“According to the stander of our team, if we can take right preparation, I’ve confident that our team can put any team into severe difficulties, but in their own day, any team can beat other in the tournament,” he continued.

“We’ve some sweet memories in England including the recent victory against New Zealand during the Champions Trophy in 2017 and we can do well there again if we take right preparation.”

“We played semifinal stage in Champions Trophy last year there [England]. We have ideas about condition and migrant Bangladesh’s people support what will inspiration us,”

Whatever fans thinks, Tamim personally remains easy with it and do not want to think far much skipping the near challenges before the event, though, excited to play in the world event.

“I always say focus on current events and don’t think much about an event will be held after a year,” added the country’s leading scorer in all three formats of cricket. “It’s of course a challenging venture for us due to the return of the 1992 format. We have to play good cricket in the tournament for a long, sustained period. Now it will require five to six wins for qualification to the next stage.”

“If we want to make the world event memorable, still there is a hope that we have one more year for preparation. We have to bring success in the matches of our upcoming series to improve confidence before the world event. All teams want to win, the side who want to win the trophy have to play good cricket throughout the tournament against all Tests playing nations and a recently Test status achiever Afghanistan,” Tamim continued.

“Yes, all wants to play well in the World Cup we are as well, but it’s not right time to talk on that as we have some international fixtures in this year before the World Cup. Of course the final destination is to do well in the World Cup, but before that we have to focus on developing step by step through our upcoming series,” he added.

Fans find flavour

Bangladesh’s fans are always restless before any global sporting event as a job seeker Tajul Islam, who used to play hockey during student life in Chittagong University now in Dhaka, boldly said, “No doubt of Shakib [Shakib Al Hasan], constant run getter Mushfiqur Rahim [Tigers former skipper] and Mustafiz’s [Mustafizur Rahman] inclusion in the squad and also in the first eleven.”

However, after returning in domestic cricket in the 3rd Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League (DPDCL) in 2017, former Bangladesh captain Ashraful got his form hitting five centuries for a relegated side Kalabagan Krira Chakra during the 4th DPDCL and has become the country’s first batsman to strike three consecutive centuries in List ‘A’ cricket with a brilliant score 102 off 137 balls against Brothers Union at Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishtan on April 1, 2018.

The 33-year-old Ashraful -- a top-order batsman with a fondness of flashy strokeplay hit century of 114 off 212 on his Test debut in 2001-- but last played for the national team in an ODI against Zimbabwe in May 2013 and still hopes to get a call for national side.

 “Besides the current star cricketers of Bangladesh, Imrul Kayes, Tushar Imaran, veteran spinner Abdur Razzak and other seniors, who are doing well in the longer version and in the domestic events, and the probable young-star like Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Mosaddek Hossain, can take under count through camp and training before the selection,” said Ziaul Haque Aupo who used to play cricket in his school life in Kishoreganj now a merchandiser at a garment company in Dhaka.

Reza Akther a housewife of a remote village who usually does not think much about sports, said, “Shakib-Shakib, ..Mashrafe and Tamim can bring the win for the nation.”

Antara Dutta a young students of a private university in Dhaka said, “I love the playing style of Soumya Sarker, though he was out of form, he can get it back before the World Cup selections.”

  • DhakaCourier
  • Vol 34
  • Issue 43

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