Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe Mortaza says they are going into the three-match series opener with the belief that they have the wherewithal to beat India in Thursday’s game.
Mortaza said his side has gone from strength-to-strength in the last few years and that gives them the confidence of playing hard against much fancied rival like India.
“I firmly believe India are favourites but when we get on the field, we don’t think who is favorite or who is not. I hope we can play our best cricket. After the 2007 World Cup, we started to believe that we can beat any team,” Mortaza said on the eve of the series-opener.
“We never lost our mental strength despite losing matches. Of course, if we are playing against a higher-ranked team they will be the favourites but we don’t think that we can’t beat them,” Mortaza added.
The Bangladesh captain said the recent-past records are encouraging for them and all they need is to fire in unison.
“Bangladesh is one of the teams doing well in ODIs right now apart from Australia, England, India and New Zealand. I have told the boys to look at the statistics that we are not far behind any of these teams.
“Everyone believes in themselves. We have to show it on the field, but this is no pressure. One or two could have a bad time but if many of us are in form, we can have a good time,” he said.
The skipper wants his players to adopt the one-match-at-one-time approach.
“We should take it match by match which is more important for us. We have to do well and then think about the next game and so forth. We have to learn how to deal with such pressure too. We are improving so we must handle this sort of pressure.
“Taking pressure won’t be good for us. We faced similar pressure at the World Cup where even those who believed in us could only hope that we would reach the second round. So just like we did it there, we will take it match by match,” he said.
Mortaza said there was no animosity between their paceman Rubel Hossain and India’s captain-in-waiting Virat Kohli. The two players have had a bitter past since their Under-19 days.
“We battle on the field but it is not literally a battle. I don’t think anyone will think about what happened in a match three-four months ago. A lot of things can happen by accident. I don’t think it requires any deep thinking.
“But people will remember such things but as cricketers, we shouldn’t be thinking about such things. It is hard to control people’s emotions but I would request them to keep cricket in its place. We will definitely play to win but I will hope people don’t think differently about it,” said Mashrafe.
“If his (Rubel) madness is helpful, then I don’t mind it. I obviously wouldn’t want any personal attacks. But I don’t see anything between Rubel and Kohli. I think he got him out just once or twice,” he said.
The home captain also advised media to not shift focus on such episodes.
“I think we create such problems by asking these questions. It is better to avoid such questions. We shake hands at the end of the match. Rubel and Virat don’t have a problem.
“There are bowlers who have dismissed Virat 6-7 times but there are no questions raised about them. Both will give their 100 percent and one of them will be successful,” he said.