‘Bangladesh a strong side even without Shakib-Tamim’
Bangladesh will be without the services of their top two players, Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, in the forthcoming Zimbabwe series. Still the absence of the two maestros won’t put them in any danger, believes Zimbabwe skipper Hamilton Masakadza.
According to Masakadza, the fact that Shakib and Tamim won’t play is not exciting him or his teammates at all, as the replacements of the two are equally capable, and hence the visitors will not be in any advantage whatsoever.
“Shakib and Tamim both are very big names for Bangladesh. They have been consistently performing for Bangladesh for quite a long time. But besides them, there are some more quality players in the Bangladesh side. And then there are some great replacements, too. I don’t think Bangladesh will lose any strength because of Shakib and Tamim’s absence,” said Masakadza.
Having said that, the Zimbabwe skipper also insisted that no matter how strong the current Bangladesh set-up is, he is confident of getting the better of the Tigers, as his team with a mixture of youth and experience is good enough to give the hosts some good fight.
“Yes, definitely we have (the ability to win). The series is going to be very competitive. We too have some players who are looking to play good cricket. Some of our young talents are very promising. And then there are the experienced fellows as well. So I think we are a team that can win matches.”
Very often, the Bangladesh-Zimbabwe encounters are described as the ‘Ashes of the Minnows’. It’s because at one point, both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe had almost equal strength, and they used to play each other regularly. Maybe those days are gone, with Bangladesh’s emergence as a top flight side, while Zimbabwe gradually sliding to the bottom. Still Masakadza has a feeling that the past competitiveness can very well make a comeback in this series.
“Bangladesh are of course a very tough opponent on their home turf. For last few years, they have been proving it time and again. So it’s always very hard to play in here. But compared to other countries, we have played the most in Bangladesh. That puts us mentally in a good position. And so I hope the series will be a competitive one.
“I will call this series a very important one. The importance is for both the teams. These two teams have faced each other the most. So I am looking forward to a very unpredictable battle between the familiar foes.”
Some of Zimbabwe’s players feature in Bangladesh’s domestic cricket, which also is a plus point for the visitors. “A few players (of Zimbabwe) have played here. This thing always helps. Because it makes the boys well informed about the conditions. They know how to deal with it and get accustomed to. I think at least 5 to 6 players have played here. And some others also have the experience of international cricket as well. The condition knowledge and match playing experiences will surely come of great help for my team,” Masakadza concluded.