Shakib aiming high

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

Shakib Al Hasan

Shakib Al Hasan feels his Bangladesh side are capable of reaching the latter stages of the World Cup given their encouraging form

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan is confident in his team’s ability to qualify for the World Cup quarter-finals, with the added possibility of going even further.

Shakib’s improving side currently lie eighth in the ICC one-day rankings, one place above former world champions West Indies.

All-rounder Shakib said: "We have been playing good cricket for the last 15 months, and if we qualify for the second round, why not think of something big?"

Bangladesh, who will play the tournament’s opening game against India on February 19, have the advantage of playing all their group games at home and, considering their recent form on their own turf - with series victories over New Zealand in October and Zimbabwe in December - Shakib's belief does not seem misplaced.

He said: "We have to win at least four matches to win a place in the second round. It is not difficult."

Bangladesh proved themselves to be giant-killers by beating Pakistan in 1999 and followed it up with wins over India and South Africa in 2007.

However, batsman Mohammed Ashraful, who will be playing in his third World Cup, added: "Things are now very different to what they were in 2007.

"In that World Cup, we were hoping for an upset or two, but this time around we are firmly aiming for the quarter-finals."

Bangladesh are in Group B along with India, England, West Indies, South Africa, Ireland and Holland.