Bangladesh wicket-keeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim hopes to represent Bangladesh in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023, which will be his fifth appearance in the pinnacle event.
Mushfiqur has been an integral part of the Bangladesh team – a unit which has been taking giant strides in international cricket. The wicket-keeper batsman, has been leading the team's batting alongside Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, averaging 47.21 since the start of 2015. Mushfiqur, now 32, hasn't ruled himself out of contention for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023, adding that he'll eye one series at a time to prepare for the bigger goal.
"Definitely, I have a big plan, but I like to think series-by-series," Rahim told Cricbuzz. "And I prepare according to that and also practice according to that. When you will think series by series, it will help to keep your form. If you think so far, it becomes tough to maintain the consistency. We have to think slot-by-slot, but at the end of the day, it's far away. But it is my goal - to play 2023 World Cup."
"I'm not growing any younger, so I will try play in a way that I will have more impact"
Quarter-finalists at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2015, Bangladesh might have finished at the eighth position in the 2019 edition, but impressed one and all with clinical wins wins against quality opponents like South Africa and West Indies and giving a tough fight to table-toppers India and the eventual runners-up New Zealand.
While Shakib was a stand-out performer with both bat and ball, completing a double of 606 runs and 11 wickets in the tournament, Rahim finished as Bangladesh's second leading run-scorer with 367 runs from eight innings. The Bangladesh Test captain was satisfied about his contribution to the team's cause.
"If you see the best batsmen list at No.4 currently, I think I will be at second (after Ross Taylor in this World Cup)," Rahim said. "So it is a big satisfaction. It also inspires me to do more hard work to achieve more success and face more challenges. And also prepare myself better to face more challenges. So whatever I have done, I am happy, but not as much as I expected but yes, I contributed in some matches that helped our team achieve victory.
"I'm not growing any younger, so I will try play in a way that I will have more impact. To be honest, I am in the last phase, so I don't have any time to relax. After playing cricket for 10-15 years now, it is high time to take my game to the next level - like playing a match-winning innings and not just a 50 or 60. I have gained that belief (to take my game to the next level) because when you perform against a strong attack, in tough conditions, you gain that."
There have been an air of comparisons in Bangladesh cricket as to who is the better cricketer between Rahim and Tamim Iqbal. Rahim revealed that the duo share a positive and healthy competition, which in turn benefits the team.
"Yes, definitely, we have that competition of beating each other. So the amount of runs that Tamim has made, if I can do the same, then definitely it will be a huge contribution for Bangladesh cricket. If I do, I can win Bangladesh many matches alone. And the way Shakib was batting (in the World Cup), if he continues in the same form, it will be better for both him and our team. And young players like Soumya and Liton, if they become more consistent, it will be better for the team and them."
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