Shakib eyes atonement
Shakib Al Hasan will be astounded if Bangladesh suffer a terminal batting collapse for the second time in a week when they face England in their crucial World Cup Group B clash.
The Bangladesh captain has had an uncomfortable seven days since his team were bowled out for only 58 on the way to a nine-wicket defeat against West Indies in Dhaka.
The Windies team bus was stoned as it left the Shere Bangla National Stadium, by disappointed supporters who reportedly mistook it for the home team’s transport.
Then windows were also broken at Shakib’s home as more frustration was vented, and there has been much criticism of the captain in the Bangladesh press.
The 23-year-old, however, believes a repeat of such poor batting is highly unlikely in Chittagong tomorrow.
“I don’t think this will be an issue for us,” he said. “Such things happen once or twice in life.
“We have in mind that we have returned from many bad situations in the past. We are prepared. All the players are confident.”
Shakib is also heartened to know that his players are able to ready themselves free of the extra pressure of criticism, because it is he who is shouldering the blame.
“All of it is coming upon me, so the team is spared,” he said. “They are safe from it. They are confident enough to do the good things and do the right things.
“We believe in ourselves that if we play our best game we can beat any side in the world, in our home conditions especially.”
Shakib cannot pinpoint exactly what went so badly wrong against West Indies, but suspects a slightly more conservative approach may serve Bangladesh better.
“I can’t describe why we didn’t bat well,” he added. “But I thought we played too many early shots in our innings and I hope that won’t happen against England.”
Either way, he will be trying to shut out the crowd reaction - because he knows from experience their support can be fickle.
“Some days when you play well, they cheer for you,” he said. “When you don’t play so well, they’ll abuse you.
“So we’re not thinking about our crowd - we’ll just do our stuff. We know what we can do and we have to do those things.”
Shakib senses England, beaten for the first time by Bangladesh at Bristol last summer, may be vulnerable after losing Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad to injury in the past few days.
He sees Pietersen’s replacement Eoin Morgan as a dangerous opponent, but still identifies the absence of two regulars as a handicap to England.
“Obviously they will lose two of their most experienced players,” he said. “Eoin Morgan is a very good player, who has played well against us, so we have to be careful about him.
“But I think we have a very, very good chance because they are missing their two key players.”
The captain today hinted Bangladesh may yet be unchanged after last week’s flop. But it would be no surprise if Mohammad Ashraful gave way to Mahmudullah, in a near like-for-like swap.