Ever since making its World Cup debut in 1999, Bangladesh has qualified for each of the six editions so far. Still, being the perennial underachiever it is, the Bangladesh team still enters the showpiece event with an intention of causing a few upsets rather than making a case for the crown.
The case will be no different in 2023, as Shakib Al Hasan’s Tigers will hope to improve on its eighth-place finish four years ago.
In none of the previous six editions has Bangladesh won more than three games. And that’s far fewer than the requisite number in order to qualify for the knockouts.
In a 14-team event in 2015, riding on its three wins (and a washed out game), Bangladesh made it to the quarterfinal — its best result — before being blown away by Rohit Sharma’s hundred in the last eight.
One of the problems plaguing the Bangladesh outfit is the over-reliance on veterans and a lack of consistent support from the younger crop. The same will be on display over the next two months as old warhorses Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim will have to lead from the front.
Able support staff
The duo — along with an able support staff including Chandika Hathurasingha and Allan Donald — will also have to ensure that the ripple effect of controversy surrounding Tamim Iqbal’s omission does not hamper the group.
While Shakib will obviously hold the key as one of the leading all-rounders in world cricket, he will be hoping for Mehidy Hasan Miraz to rise to the big occasion. Besides his skilful off-spin bowling, Mehidy, over the last few years, has emerged as a consistent batter. Should he take the load off Mushfiqur and Shakib, it may result in Litton Das at the top and youngsters Towhid Hridoy and Nasum Ahmed batting freely at the death.
It will also be interesting to see how Najmul Hasan Shanto and Mahmudullah Riyadh perform in contrasting situations. While Mahmudullah needs to justify the tag of a senior pro, Shanto will be under pressure to come good after being elevated to vice-captaincy for the World Cup.
As for the pace pack, with Ebadot Hossain having been sidelined due to fitness issues, the onus will be on Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman to showcase their experience and maturity.
If the right-arm and left-arm pace combination comes good, Bangladesh can at least hope to cause a few upsets — the main target at the event — before returning home after the league stage.
Shakib Al Hasan (Capt.), Litton Das, Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Najmul Hossain Shanto (Vice-capt.), Tawhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nasum Ahmed, Shak Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam, Tanzim Hasan Sakib.