The entire Bangladesh World Cup squad and coach Dav Whatmore took part in a lively, prompt and spontaneous question and answer session with media today (Sunday) at the Dhaka Sheraton Hotel. This was the final meeting with the media before the Tigers’ departure for the West Indies tomorrow.
One by one all the 15 players and coach Whatmore took questions from the print ad electroninc media representatives. Below are the excerpts from the session.
Inspiration of playing in the West Indies
The inspiration is to do well in the World Cup, does not matter where we go. This a very big tournament and our objective is to do as well as we can.
On the argument that this is not a settled team
That is your personal opinion. I respect that but do not agree with that. As far as we are concerned we picked the best possible team for Bangladesh.
Possibility of beating India or Sri Lanka
I just feel it is becoming more of a realistic achievement the longer Bangladesh plays. If you asked the same question two years ago or even maybe 12 months ago I think it was not quite as realistic as it is now and it will continue to be more of a realistic objective as time goes on. As the captain said it is going to be difficult. I think it is becoming more of a real chance, a reality Bangladesh is moving through and that is the way we are looking at it.
On chances of beating India or Sri Lanka
Both teams are going to the World Cup to win it. So I have to say it is a tough job but not impossible. We have beaten big teams in the past. We have the ability to do that again.
Our target is to reach the second round.
Difference between the 1999 World Cup team and the current side
Every team is different. At that time we did not achieve Test status so the expectation was not very high. In 2003 we had a poor World Cup. This time our team is more mature and confident. With a lot of wins behind us we are going to the World Cup. As a team we have improved a lot and have more confidence.
All I am thinking of at the moment is how we can do well for Bangladesh. The players are behind me and we all are focused on achieving something out of this World Cup. The last one was not good so this one has to be better and we will make it better.
About his comments on Khaled Mashud in some newspapers
I have said that I would miss him as a teammate because we have played for the national team for a long time. But I am quite satisfied with the current squad and I believe that this squad has the ability to do well.
Shahriar Nafees Ahmed
On the team’s self belief
We have won a lot of matches in the last 12 months and now we know what we need to do to win a match. This is our main inspiration to do well in the World Cup.
On his personal expectation
These days the West Indian wickets favour the batsmen. So I will try my best to get some runs there.
If there is a crisis for an opening partner
I do not see it that way at all. In the last one and a half years I have opened the innings with six different batsmen but more importantly during this period we’ve won more matches than we have lost. From Javed (Omar) to Tamim (Iqbal) our opening pair’s objective remains the same and that is to give the team a solid start.
Whether there is any lacking in preparation because of winning against lower ranked teams in the last 12 months or so
Not at all. All it counts is that we won and did it by playing good cricket. If you count from 2005 you will find that we beat Australia, we beat Sri Lanka. We batted well, bowled well, fielded well and that is why we won so many matches in the last two years. Now we have learnt how to win and hope this trend will continue in the future.
Whether it is going to be his last World Cup
Let me play this World Cup and then I will think about it. Who knows I might play in 2011 World Cup also.
On his target
I never set any particular target before a game. I set it after entering into the field. This is going to be my third World Cup. The tournament will be held in the West Indies where I have many fond memories. So this time my objective is to do as well as I can.
On his announcement of retirement after 1999 World Cup
I said that because of a major incident. Today I am still playing with the national team but something happened back then which might have ended my domestic career also.
Whether he feels any pressure as his tag as the lone strike bowler of the team does not exist any more
I never used to take pressure, always remain calm and relaxed. Years ago I bowled a lot of overs in the slog stages and that is why there was every chance of taking many wickets. But now I bowl mainly in the early and middle stages of the innings and at that time the most important thing is to check the runs. I bowl according to the team’s plan and for the greater interest of the team.
On his personal expectations
In the last one year I have not performed well for the national team. In the World Cup my aim will be to do well. As a team our objective is to reach the second round. I want to help my team to fulfill that goal.
On his position in the batting order
In the international cricket number six is a very important position. The likes of Mike Hussey and Paul Collingwood play there. Going at number six, I think it is still possible to play a big and helpful innings.
I always say that number five is my favorite position. My Test hundreds came while playing at number five. One day hundred came at four. So if I am promoted up the batting order, I think it will suit me just fine.
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza
Whether this World Cup would wipe away the painful experience of 2003
I think luck is a big factor in cricket. So I do not see it that way. I will play in the World Cup as I play in the other matches.
On his batting
My dream is to create an upset by beating either India or Sri Lanka. So to achieve that I will do my best whether I bat at number sever, ten or eleven. Personally my focus will be on my bowling, as always.
On the batting order of India and Sri Lanka
The World Cup is a big tournament and that is why some pressure will come automatically. But I am always confident with the ball in the hand and I hope that I can do well this time also.
On his role in the team
I am prepared to play at any position for the interest of the team. There are some practice matches before the World Cup. If I get the chance I have to do well to get the opportunity to play in the main tournament.
On his comeback
Our domestic cricket is very tough. As I did well there I now have the confidence to do the same for the national team in the World Cup.
I think I remain the same bowler as I was before. My main strength is line-length and I can also swing the ball both ways.
On the view that his pace has dropped a bit
It is not good to hear. For me the World Cup is a challenge. I have to prove that I have some other ammunition thing rather than pace.
On his target
To hit batsmen on their head! No…I was just joking. This is my first World Cup and I want to bowl well there. A fast bowler needs to be aggressive and I will definitely bowl aggressively. If a few deliveries jolt helmets then it will feel very good also (Laughs).
On his inconsistent bowling
Before I wanted to take a wicket every ball and sometimes went overboard with that. Now I am working on bowling to a plan. My line and length is much better now.
Shakib Al Hasan
On his batting order
I am ready to play at any position for the interest of the team.
Target as an all-rounder
I do not set any target before a match. I play according to the match situation.
On his changes
I am becoming more mature with time.
Any added pressure because of all the talks about Khaled Masud not being there
I do not see it as pressure. We all are professionals. So I want to concentrate on my job in the field.
Whether having three other former BKSP mates helps him overcome pressure
Obviously. As many of us have been playing together for a long time, it definitely helps.
Whether he rates himself as a batsman-wicketkeeper or a wicketkeeper-batsman
The selectors have included me in the team as a batsman-wicketkeeper. So I want to score some runs but at the same time doing my job properly behind the stumps is equally important.
On his aggressive batting
I have not yet started thinking about the World Cup. If I get a chance I will play it as just like another match. My natural style of play will not change for sure. I will play the way I have learnt to play since childhood.
On his two one day internationals
I was a bit nervous in the first match. But in the second match I was playing really well. I played in my natural aggressive way but got out unluckily.
Difference between Premier League and the international matches
There is more pressure in the international matches. In the World Cup I will try to be as relaxed as possible.
On his first World Cup
I am very excited to get an opportunity finally to play in the World Cup. But the more important thing is to perform well. I will try to do that.
Whether this is his last one day tournament
I have not thought about that. Right now I am concentrating hard only on the World Cup. After returning from the tournament I will decide on that matter.
Whether he is the key to beat India or Sri Lanka
I believe that unity is the strength. So every player has to perform if we want to win against India or Sri Lanka. I will try to play my part.
On the spotlight turning to him from Ashraful
I do not play cricket thinking so many things. My only objective is to play well and to give the team something.
If there is a rivalry with Rafique
It’s a healthy rivalry. It is an inspiration for me to do well.
On his target
I want to make it a memorable tournament as this is my first World Cup. I will try to deliver according to my team’s requirement.
On his comeback
I was out of the team because of injury. I got back my fitness, performed well in the domestic competitions and returned to the national team. Now I will try to cement my place once again.
Whether this is extra motivation because the World Cup is going to be held in his happy hunting ground, the West Indies
Definitely this is extra motivation. Last time when we toured the West Indies I bowled really well. I know the wickets well. So this time I will try to achieve the same. I want to get many wickets and also some runs.