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14 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM

‘Collective performance key to success’

Instrumental behind the Bangladesh cricket team's upsurge in international arena since his debut at the historic Lord’s ground in 2005, Mushfiqur Rahim has established himself as the finest wicketkeeper-batsman the country has ever seen. With Asia Cup approaching, Mushfiq talks to The Independent Senior Sports Reporter Syed Mohammed Pithu about the ambition of the Asia Cup and the 2019 World Cup, the so-called mental block, importance to use emotions right way and his mantra to deal with the criticisms. Here is the second part of the story.
Syed Mohammed Pithu
‘Collective performance key to success’
Bangladesh cricket team batting consultant Neil McKeinze (R ) gives some tips to Bangladesh wicketkeeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahman during a practice session recently in Dhaka as part of preparation for ACC Asia Cup begins tomorrow in Dubai. BCB photo

The Tigers are preparing hard both on and off the field by keeping their focus on the 2019 Cricket World Cup. But before that, they are all set to play Asia Cup, which will be crucial in terms of getting the perfect combination for the World Cup.

The next World Cup is probably the last time that fans around the globe may get to see their "fab five" (Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah Riyad) playing together in any international tournament.

Even though the playing conditions will be vastly different, Asia Cup is going to give a impression of what we can expect in the World Cup. In fact, Asia Cup is a major tournament in which the Tigers, especially the fab five, want to leave a legacy.

“Of couse, the World Cup is the final goal. The format of the next World Cup is demanding. Every team will have to play each other. But it's good for me. Obviously, the target is to remain among the top five teams. But don’t be surprised if we finish in the top two. In cricket, you can’t take anything for granted. I think we've a real chance. Besides, we've some nice memories of England. We were among the top four teams in last year’s Champions Trophy and played really good cricket there,” Mushfiqur Rahim said.

“Asia Cup is also important for us. We can do extraordinary things here. We're the current runners-up. If we start well, there is a possibility of bettering our previous result," he added.

The cricket world was stunned as the Tigers played the quarter-final of the 2015 World Cup in Australia-New Zealand. However, the cricketers always believed in their own abilities. However, the 2019 World Cup’s format will be demanding, with each team playing each other in a bid to make it to the last four.

Mushfiqur said Bangladesh’s target is to secure one of the top four spots. He also said Bangladesh could spring a surprise on cricket powerhouses.

“This may be the last World Cup for the five of us. We're not likely to play the 2023 World Cup together. All of us want to make this tournament memorable for everyone at any cost. We  want to create a legacy. We're really focused on the World Cup next year,” he added.

The diminutive batsman believes that head coach Steve Rhodes's appointment is a fantastic decision. This is going to help the team prepare for the England World Cup as Rhodes, who coached some of the country teams, has vast knowledge of the conditions, he said.

“The preparation for the World Cup is going on. All the things taking place are actually the build-up to the World Cup. Asia Cup, the series against Zimbabwe, West Indies—we’ll play a lot of cricket abroad next year. I think the team management will get to know the best combination by watching us play in those matches," he also said.

“Steve knows how important this World Cup is for us. He has some plans. We'll probably play some matches in Ireland ahead of the tournament. I think it will be helpful for us,” he added.

He revealed that he has no special target, no matter what the tournament was. “I never set a target. I always take things match by match. Obviously, I want to contribute to the cause of the team heavily,” he said.

Mushfiqur has always thrived in difficult batting conditions in South Africa, Australia and England. He averages close to 50 in these three countries. “Normally, we're a good team in home conditions. Actually, every team plays their best in their respective home conditions. But I always try to be successful away from home. If you do well in foreign conditions, you will always be rated highly," he said.

“As a team, we can play well in overseas conditions. Now, we are delivering individually—I have played some good knocks. Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan are doing it regularly. Mahmudullah Riyad had two centuries in the last World Cup and one in Champions Trophy. But if we can do it collectively, it would be good for the team’s cause,” he added.


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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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