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T20 World Cup 2024: Bangladesh skipper Shakib-Al-Hasan calls for better pitches ahead of tournament opener

As Bangladesh prepares for the T20 World Cup, new captain Najmul Hossain Shanto emphasises the need for improved home pitches to enhance their performance. Despite participating in all T20 World Cups since 2007, Bangladesh has yet to reach the knockout stage. Najmul believes that better wickets are crucial for the team's success and hopes to see significant improvements in the upcoming tournament.

cricket T20 World Cup 2024: Bangladesh skipper Shakib-Al-Hasan calls for better pitches ahead of tournament opener osf
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First Published May 29, 2024, 12:24 PM IST

Ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup, new captain Najmul Hossain Shanto emphasised the need for better home pitches to enhance Bangladesh's lackluster record in the tournament. Appointed as the all-format captain in February at just 25 years old, Najmul took over from Shakib Al Hasan, who has transitioned to a political career.

Bangladesh is one of nine countries to have participated in all T20 World Cups since the tournament's inception in 2007 but remains the only team never to have reached the knockout stage.

Najmul attributed Bangladesh's T20 World Cup struggles to subpar home pitches that do not support the high-scoring nature of the 20-over format seen elsewhere. "First of all, we have to play on good wickets," he told AFP. "Some people can take it as an excuse, but it is really a fact that we play very few matches on a good wicket."

Bangladeshi pitches are known for low-scoring games, and only one player in their World Cup squad, top-order batsman Towhid Hridoy, boasts a T20 international strike rate above 130. "It is difficult to change things in six months. If we continue on a good wicket for one or two years, then these strike rates will improve," Najmul added.

Despite their challenges, ninth-ranked Bangladesh has shown some improvement in T20 cricket with series wins at home against top teams like Australia, England, and New Zealand in recent years. However, they recently faced a setback with a 2-1 defeat by the USA in a warm-up series in Houston.

Najmul remains optimistic, stating, "We have won a few series and we have won against big teams. The confidence of the team is in a good position. If we can be like that in the World Cup, if we can take the decisions properly, if we can execute our plans, then it is possible to do something good."

This year's T20 World Cup, beginning June 1 in the United States and West Indies, might be the final appearance for some of Bangladesh's key players. Former captain Shakib Al Hasan, still the top-ranked T20 all-rounder, and fellow all-rounder Mahmudullah Riyad are both nearing the end of their careers.

"Of course, I want them to play in the World Cup, giving their best," Najmul said. "It is their decision when they will end their careers. As a captain, I would like them to share their experience with every player."

Bangladesh faces tough competition in their group, including South Africa, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and the Netherlands. They will begin their campaign in Dallas on June 7 against Sri Lanka, a team with whom they have developed a rivalry since last year's ODI World Cup.

Najmul expressed confidence that his team has moved past previous controversies with Sri Lanka, saying, "We have already moved on. From the day the incident happened, we did not do anything that would make us think about it. I can't say much about them. But as a team, we are focusing on our own game."

Also Read: KKR's Rinku Singh reflects on modest IPL salary compared to Mitchell Starc

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