Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bangladesh wicket-keeper batsman, has talked up his team's chances at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, saying they were good enough to go all the way.
Rahim will be making his fourth World Cup appearance next month, and believed the format for this edition, in which all 10 participating teams play each other in the round-robin stage, would be challenging.
However, given Bangladesh have a few experienced campaigners in their 15-man squad, he said the side could do well. "It’s a tough format, but every team will get an equal chance to prove their skill through it," he told reporters on Sunday, 28 April. "I can say the format is more comfortable for Bangladesh.
"Having most experienced players in the team, this is the strongest World Cup team that Bangladesh have ever had. We lost many finals in the recent past. Maybe, a big achievement is waiting for us in the future."
Asked if that meant his side were capable of winning the World Cup, he said: "It’s not impossible. It’s tough, but possible. I personally believe that we have the ability to reach the knockout stages, and anything can happen if we can reach that point."
I personally believe that we have the ability to reach the knockout stages and anything can happen if we can reach that point.
Rahim was also hopeful of displaying his best at the biggest stage. "Everyone wants to do well in a big event. I think I’m no exception," he said. "I have played three World Cups and scored runs for my country. It’s going to be my fourth World Cup. I’ll try to do something remarkable.
"I'll be playing in the event to surpass all the previous records of mine. As a batsman, I’ll try to help the team according to my experience."
Rahim acknowledged it was likely to be Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza's last World Cup, and said the team were determined to honour him with a "special" performance.
"There are expectations and pressure in every international game as you are representing a nation, and it’s a matter of huge pride and honour," said Rahim. "This may be our last world cup together if Mashrafe bhai is unable to play the next World Cup. We all want to do something special, at least for Mashrafe bhai."
Bangladesh's World Cup preparations will begin in earnest when they leave for Ireland on 1 May to participate in a tri-nation series, involving the hosts and West Indies. It will be their first series after being blanked 3-0 in New Zealand, and Rahim admitted "the upcoming Ireland series is very important to regroup as a unit."
Their World Cup campaign begins on 2 June at The Oval against South Africa.
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