As Bangladesh prepares to host its biggest sporting event yet in the 2014 World T20 (during the 2011 World Cup, they were just one of three co-hosts), their most prolific player, Shakib Al Hasan, has asked the team’s supporters to be a bit realistic about their chances.
“As the tournament is at home, we will have the support but there shouldn’t be too much expectation,” Shakib is quoted as saying in an interview with ESPNcricinfo. “I have heard people say, ‘Let the cup stay at home.’ But I think we have to tone that down a bit.”
Bangladesh are not in the best of forms, having recently been blanked 3-0 by Sri Lanka in their backyard before losing all their matches while hosting the Asia Cup, including to ODI newbies Afghanistan. Incidentally, Bangladesh open their World T20 campaign against the same side. “We should fear everyone because we don’t know much about Nepal and Hong Kong,” the all-rounder added. “Say we score 160 but someone from the other side scores a hundred. Scotland have done that to us in the past. We have to be careful in all the games. It is hard to recover from a mistake in a T20.”
Mistakes, Bangladesh have made on the cricket field in the past, especially while playing a big match at home. During the 2011 World Cup, they put up a fight against India in the opening game, before being bowled out for just 58 against the West Indies. Then, having beaten England a week later, they crumbled against South Africa soon after. Shakib, hence, is rather wary of how the fans react when the team blows hot and cold. “Too much expectation does put undue pressure on us,” he said. “Please support us, the team will do better. But everyone has to take the result sportingly.”