2017 ICC Champions Trophy: Habibul Bashar Optimistic About Bangladesh’s Chances In England
When Bangladesh will take on England at the Oval in the inaugural match of ICC Champions Trophy 2017, it is going to be their first appearance in past 11 years in this elite ICC event.
The Tigers have qualified for this eight-team ODI tournament, famously known as ‘Mini World Cup’ surpassing two-time former world champions West Indies. This shows the improvement which Bangladesh cricket has made in cricket in past few years.
According to Habibul Bashar, the former Bangladesh captain and current member of the national selection committee, Bangladesh’s direct qualification to the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 after an 11-year gap is “a big step forward for the country.”
Bashar was the skipper when Bangladesh last made an appearance in the ICC Champions Trophy in 2006 in India. Between 1995 and 2008, he represented Bangladesh in 50 Tests, scoring 3026 runs and in 111 ODIs he amassed 2168 runs. He is one of the ambassadors of the upcoming edition of the tournament.
“It is definitely a big step forward for our country to qualify directly to this year’s Champion’s Trophy, and it is really important for the team as well. Now we have the opportunity to demonstrate how good our ODI skills are at the present time,” Bashar said in a recent chat with the official website of ICC.
However, in order to prepare the team for this upcoming challenge, the Bangladesh Cricket Board has sent the entire squad to the United Kingdom (UK) a month prior to the start of the tournament. To acclimatise with the early summer conditions and wickets, the Bangladeshi players will have a training camp in Sussex from April 26 to May 6.
During this period, they will play two 50-over matches and one of those will be against the full-strength Sussex side. From there, the team will travel to Dublin to feature in a tri-series, involving hosts Ireland and New Zealand. Each team will play each other twice.
“We’ve been planning for the Champions Trophy for the last two years. We did not have much success outside our home grounds, but we are prepared now. We played well in the 2015 World Cup in Australia. The last series against Sri Lanka [Bangladesh drew the three-match series 1-1] gave us a lot of confidence.
“It is important to plan separately for this tournament, which is why we are going to Ireland for a tri-nation series before the Champions Trophy. That will help us greatly in preparing for English conditions. You will see a different Bangladesh in this year’s Champions Trophy,” Bashar further mentioned.
He further explained how he thinks the squad will cope up in English conditions. He said,
“Plenty will, of course, depend on what kind of pitches we get in England, in the first half of June. If they are dry, I expect Bangladesh’s spinners to come into the picture, but even otherwise, we have the pace resources to trouble the best in the world. It will be tough, I am under no illusion; after all, we are clubbed with Australia, England and New Zealand, but I believe the fast-bowling unit of Mashrafe, Mustafizur, Rubel Hossain and the pacy Taskin Ahmed can hold their own against any batting group. How well Bangladesh’s batsmen cope with the moving ball remains to be seen. If the batsmen can negotiate the new ball successfully, Bangladesh will be on to a good thing. However, if the middle-order is exposed reasonably early, it could be an issue against high-class pacemen.”
Bangladesh is also scheduled to take on Pakistan and India at Edgbaston and the Oval respectively in the warm-up round of the Champions Trophy. The tri-series games along with these practice matches will provide them with enough opportunities to get used to conditions and determine a probable first eleven for the main round.
In the tournament, Bangladesh is placed in Group A alongside hosts England, Australia and New Zealand. Two teams amongst these four will qualify for the semis. Thus, it is going to be a tough challenge for Mashrafe Mortaza and co. to outclass such top class opponents.
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