Saturday, April 13, 2024

Goals differ, dreams remain the same

There couldn’t be any starker contrast between two batsmen who have a similar game, are in the same team and have the big tournament temperament.
Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Ashraful have done batting look easy when on song but while the former sounds every bit confident as his bat flourishes, the latter is almost grateful for just being in the squad and looks back to the bygone days to seek inspiration. They were part of a four-man group, including Abdur Razzak and Mahmudullah Riyad, who met the reporters in an official open media session of the ICC at Sheraton yesterday, as part of the build-up to the World Cup.
Tamim, who rocked world cricket with his audacious half-century against India four years ago, is now an established opener and the vice-captain while Ashraful would find it hard to get a spot in the middle-order.
“My target is simple: To be the highest run-scorer in the World Cup,” said Tamim, donning the new Bangladesh jersey.
“If its my day, I can play well against any bowler in the world. But if it’s not my day, even (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni can get me out,” said the plucky left-hander from Chittagong.
In the 2007 World Cup, after striking a blow to India, Tamim didn’t do too well, scoring only 172 runs at an average of 19.11 and 62.5 as his strike-rate.
“I always say to myself that I will have to improve with each series, each tournament and each game. I will have to turn my weak points into strong ones, and I work on that end. For example, four years ago I had two run-scoring shots, now I have five or six,” he added.
But at the other end of the scale, Ashraful was simply happy to be there, and not sweating too much on the people’s expectations. “Being in the squad is itself an achievement, so I’m glad in the fifteen,” was the right-handed batsman’s defensive reaction.
“But then again, I’m just a good innings away from getting back to good form,” added the gifted stroke-maker who championed the Tigers’ cause on numerous occasions in the past.
Add despite his fall in the pecking order, Ashraful remains Bangladesh’s most successful batsman in World Cups, having played in the two previous editions. In 14 games, he has scored 287 runs with two half-centuries at an average of 28.7 and a strike-rate that is a shade below 80.
“I played two match-winning knocks in the last World Cup, contributed in a couple of others. I would like to play a few match-winning knocks here in the first round as well.
And I am feeling pretty confident about it since I have usually done well in big matches in the past,” said Ashraful.
But for their personal goals to take shape, the Tigers need to do well (and vice versa), Tamim stating that the team is good enough to reach the quarterfinals.
“I believe, given our potential, we can beat any side in the world. We have the same game-plan for every team, be it India or Australia. I also think that every team thinks twice now before they take on Bangladesh.
“If anything, India will be the side under pressure, not us, because they will have that loss at the back of their head when they get to the field,” reminded Tamim, whose additional role as the deputy could keep him busy during the mega event, a huge difference from his time at the 2007 edition.
“During that World Cup, I was thinking the pictures I’d take with the big players,” he joked, before adding, “The vice-captain’s role is on and off the field. It would depend on the captain if I have to do anything on the field and since Shakib is my best friend, I know that he likes to take decisions on his own. But if the need arises, of course I’m very much prepared to help him out.”


Via: The Daily Star

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