Bangladesh cricket team will be looking to put aside their recent poor performances and gain some confidence for the future series when they play in the Asian Games, skipper Mashrafee bin Murtaza said on Thursday. Bangladesh, the reigning gold medallists, will leave home today for the meet now being held in Incheon, South Korea. Mashrafee will lead an almost full-strength side as Bangladesh seek to retain the gold they won four years ago in Guangzhou beating Afghanistan in the final.
‘Of course, our target is to win the gold,’ Mashrafee told a press conference on Thursday ahead of the team’s departure. ‘We won the gold last time around so our goal should not be anything different.
‘Speaking about total team performance it’s really important for doing well and win medal. If you can do this it will be good for the country and the team.
‘And it’s a good opportunity for all of our players to gain some confidence. A win will take us out of our recent poor performance,’ said Mashrafee, who was given the job after regular skipper Mushfiqur Rahim skipped the tournament for his wedding.
The tournament will also mark the return of star all-rounder Sakib al Hasan to the national fold after a tumultuous few months that saw him getting suspended for irrational behaviour.
Mashrafee welcomed Sakib in the side and hoped that the all-rounder will give his best performance in the tournament.
‘No doubt we will miss Mushfiq,’ said Mashrafee. ‘But the good news is that Sakib has returned. It’s good news for the entire team. I hope he will play the same way he used to.’
Bangladesh were given a direct entry into the quarter-finals but the tournament draw ensured it will not be a cakewalk for them. They will face Sri Lanka – the only other Test-playing country to participate in the competition – in the semi-final should they win the first match on October 1.
Coach Chandika Hathurusinghe added that despite the absence of two sub-continental giants, India and Pakistan, it will be challenging for Bangladesh to retain the gold medal.
‘I think Asian Games will be competitive even without India and Pakistan,’ said Hathurusinghe. ‘Sri Lanka are the strongest opponents for us. Afghanistan and Hong Kong also should be difficult. I don’t have a very good idea about other teams. Still I would say we have a very good chance of winning the gold.
‘Competition like Asian Games is always good for players because it brings a sense of pride in them. Players can represent their country in a wider canvas,’ he said.
-With New Age input