Bangladesh captain Shakib predicts new Asian champion

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Mohammad Abdullah, Senior Sports Reporter

A confident Bangladesh’s captain Shakib Al Hasan predicted a new champion for the upcoming Asia Cup, to be held from Aug.27, 2022 in the UAE.

A total of six teams — India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka — will battle it out for the top honours at the Asia Cup.

India are the most successful team in the history of the Asia Cup, having won seven titles in 1984, 1988, 1990-91, 1995, 2010, 2016, 2018. Sri Lanka have clinched the title five times in 1986, 1997, 2004, 2008 and 2014 while Pakistan had the honour to lay down their hands on the trophy in 2000, 2012.

By predicting a new champions, Shakib also hinted at Bangladesh’s chances of lifting the trophy as Afghanistan and Hong Kong are under dogs and considered as perennial makeweights still.

“I think we are going to have a new champion this time around. We are also confident of beating any team on a given day. We will like to set the tone for the tournament by winning the first match,” said Shakib.

“Once you start a tournament on a winning note it becomes easier to carry on the momentum. We are paired with Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. All the teams are very strong and you cannot understand any team.

“Even Afghanistan are capable of springing a surprise or two. So we are not going to be complacent and will play every match as a must-win game.

“At the same time, I am confident of advancing to the semi-finals and playing big teams like India and Pakistan. We have played them before also many times. So I am confident we can beat any team on a given a day,” added the poster boy of the Bangladesh cricket.

Shakib was speaking on the sidelines of the unveiling of the Icon Players for Bangla Tigers for the Abu Dhabi T10 Cricket League to be held in November.

He is one of the most prolific all-rounders and has produced  many match-winning performances. Having scored over 6000 runs in the T20s and taking around 416 wickets, he underlines his presence and can change the complexion of nay game.

He was named as the skipper of the Bangla Tigers for the upcoming season of the Abu Dhabi T10 League in Dubai on Thursday.

Shakib was with Deccan Gladiators, who won the title in the 2021-2022 edition of the league, which is in its sixth year of running.

“I won the title last year with Gladiators. So, when I was asked to join Bangla Tigers, I could not say no because this team belongs to Bangladesh and is very closed to my heart,”  revealed Shakib on joining the Bangladeshi franchise.

“I will try to repeat the feat with Bangla Tigers this time around. I am confident we can do it as there are a lot of good players in the team,” he added.

He will be joined by West Indian batsman Elvin Lewis, New Zealand’s Colin Munro, Pakistani bowling sensation Mohammad Amir and Sri Lanka’s Matheesha Pathirana also known as Baby Malinga due to his similar bowling action.

Also joining the team this year is former Indian cricketer S. Sreesanth as mentor. The team, which came third in last year’s tournament, have also appointed Aftab Ahmed as head coach, Richard Stonier as trainer, Nazmul Abedin Fahim as Assistant coach and Mentor and retained Kunal Manek as the analyst.

Globe-tottering Shakib, who plays in a lot of T20 cricket league around the world, is one of the most sought after players for the franchsie due to his impeccable record.

“The T10 is quite different from T20s. I really enjoyed playing in the shortest format of the game. It is more sharp and short. It is very quick and you have to change your strategy on every second ball. You cannot stick to Plan A and Plan B only.

“A couple of quick wickets or a sixes can change the momentum of the game and you have to adjust to the situation quickly as there are only 10 overs,” he informed.

Franchisee owner Mohammad Yasin Chowdhury said, “It is befitting that Shakib plays for the Bangla Tigers. He is a fantastic ambassador for Bangladesh cricket.

“From day one we have been keen to include him in the squad but due to the busy schedule of the national team, we were unable to bring him on the board till this season.

“He is a dynamic, experienced, dedicated, passionate and motivated player as well as an inspirational captain, who will no doubt lead the squad from the front.”

 

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