ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Mashrafe Mortaza buoyed by Bangladesh’s good form
Bangladesh, who recently defeated New Zealand for the first time overseas, arrive for the ICC Champions Trophy on the back of good form and great momentum.icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: May 26, 2017 23:46 IST
Bangladesh cricket team skipper Mashrafe Mortaza believes the recent victory over New Zealand for the first time overseas and their leap to No.6 in the latest ODI rankings gives the team immense confidence ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
At the pre-tournament press conference, Mortaza said, “We are ranked sixth, it is a pleasure for us, and the team is very happy with that. We want to move on from here and want to go as far as we can in the world. This tournament is going to be hard for us, playing a group that is very hard in the conditions, but on your day, you can do anything, we have quality players who can change the game. We’ll have to play as a team as we have been doing so far.”
Mortaza added that the journey of the Bangladesh side in the last couple of years has been a special one and they never expected to take part in the ICC Champions Trophy.
“We never expected take part in the Champions Trophy. But, we have earned our place and now, we are deservingly take part in the tournament,” he said.
Bangladesh have enjoyed good success in the last couple of years. They knocked out England in the first round of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup and reached the quarter-final for the first time. However, Mortaza said that every tournament is a new beginning.
“I think in this tournament, it is not going to be easy, so we have to concentrate on our own game. It is two and half years since the last ICC competition, victories there can help you but for me it does not because it is a new day, a new match,” Mortaza said.
Pakistan the bigger side
Bangladesh are placed in Group A along with England, Australia and New Zealand. They will open the tournament on June 1 when they square off against England at The Oval. Before the main event, Bangladesh have crucial warm-up games against Pakistan on Saturday and India on Tuesday. Heading into the clash against Sarfraz Ahmed-led Pakistan, Mortaza expressed confidence that Bangladesh could defeat them.
“Whenever we have played them, Pakistan has been the bigger side, and in this sort of tournament any big side is under pressure. They are a very good side that can destroy any team, so they has a very big chance in the competition,” Mortaza added.
Mustafizur Rahman has a big role
Bangladesh have some key players in their side in the form of Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim. However, Mortaza believes that Mustafizur Rahman has a massive role in the side. The left-armer, who started his international career with a bang, recently underwent shoulder surgery in August and has struggled for consistency.
However, Mortaza said, “We’re not concerned about being reliant on one bowler but Mustafizur has done a really good job for us over the past few years. He has come back very strongly after his operation and he’ll take a big role for us.”