Beware my Tigers, we’re ready to roar - Mashrafe Mortaza
May 24 (CRICKETNMORE) - Flying under the radar, Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza believes his side are ready to spring some surprises this summer. The Tigers are unfancied outsiders on the eve of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, with hosts England and two-time champions India dominating the headlines.
But they have enjoyed some of their best days in England, making their World Cup debut here in 1999 before enjoying a run to the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy two years ago.
Their talent has never been questioned and Steve Rhodes’s men boast the game’s top-ranked ODI all-rounder in Shakib Al Hasan.
But this year their depth in undoubtedly greater, with the likes of Mustafizur Rahman and Mohammad Saifuddin proving further firepower with both bat and ball.
Bangladesh reached the quarter-finals in Australia and New Zealand four years ago and, although the semi-final knock-out stages appear a big challenge this time, Mortaza insists they will not be walked over.
“We have a great team mix, probably as good as we have ever had. We have some young players coming through and we are very excited about them,” he said.
“They blend in very well with everyone and the senior guys still have something left in the tank. We proved against Ireland that we have a lot more about us this year than we had in the past.
“We hope to start well against South Africa. We think we can win. And then who knows where we will get to.”
Following that opening game at The Oval, Bangladesh face New Zealand and England before a crucial double-header against Sri Lanka and the West Indies in Bristol and Taunton respectively.
They have played the West Indies regularly in the last two years, including in the Ireland Tri-Nation Series, where they won all three contests this year.