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Bangladesh are back in the ICC Champions Trophy after a gap of 11 years and former captain Habibul Bashar is delighted to see the team in the tournament. Bangladesh hosted the first ever Champions Trophy in 1998, then known as the ICC Knockout Trophy.
“It feels great to see Bangladesh back in the ICC Champions Trophy. We have a long history with the tournament, even though we don’t have great results to show for, but I am delighted that after having missed the 2009 and 2013 editions, we are back in the second most prestigious 50-over tournament after the World Cup,” he wrote in his column for icc-cricket.com.
He remembered the first tournament and how it gave people of Bangladesh an exposure to high-quality cricket and the impact it had on Bangladesh.
“We take great pride in the fact that we hosted the first edition of the tournament. Even though we were not a part of the tournament, it was the first exposure for the people of Bangladesh to high-quality international cricket, and I really can’t quantify the impact it had on Bangladesh cricket. Our first foray into the event was in the second edition, in Nairobi in 2000. Admittedly, we went down to England by eight wickets, but it was the first time we were sharing a hotel with the top players in the world, able to talk to them and pick their brains, and also watch them go about their business, both when it came to preparation and to actual execution of skills. It was an eye-opener for us as a team and as individuals, and I can state with all honesty that those few days were to have a massive influence on how our cricket developed,” he wrote.
Now, Bangladesh are back in the Champions Trophy and Bashar thinks that this team can shine at the big stage with some of the experienced players.
“That confidence stems from the experience and the quality that the likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah and Mashrafe Mortaza bring with them. Most of them have been around for a decade now, have played in all parts of the world and understand what the demands and the nuances of the 50-over game are. Throw in the youthful exuberance and the undisputed skills of Soumya Sarkar and Mustafizur Rahman, and there is a solid core group that Bangladesh can bank on to drive them,” he wrote.
Bashar also talked about the kind of pitches the teams get in England which can affect the result of a match.
“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,” he said.