Bangladesh team director Khaled Mahmud has reacted to Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka’s controversial statement claiming that Bangladesh only have a couple of world-class bowlers. Taking a dig at Shanaka, he commented that Lanka don’t have a single quality bowler in their ranks.
Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will face off in a virtual Asia Cup 2022 knockout match in Dubai on Thursday (September 1). With Afghanistan having progressed to the Super 4 after winning both their Group B matches, the winner of the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka clash will join them in the next round.
At a press conference ahead of Thursday’s match, Mahmud was asked about Shanaka’s statement on the lack of world-class bowlers in the Bangladesh team. He replied:
“It’s up to Dasun actually. Why he said that I don’t know. Maybe Afghanistan is a better T20 team, that’s why he said that. He said other things as well. He said that we only have two bowlers or something. I don’t see any bowlers in Sri Lanka as well. At least Bangladesh have two. That’s very good.
“I think we have at least Mustafizur (Rahman) and Shakib (Al Hasan). So I don’t think they have world-class bowlers like Mustafizur and Shakib as well. It’s not about words. It’s about how you play in the game, that’s very important. Let’s see what will happen tomorrow.”
Speaking at a press conference after Sri Lanka’s shock defeat at the hands of Afghanistan, Shanaka commented that Bangladesh would be an easier opponent as they only have a couple of world-class bowlers.
“Our batting needs to gel” – Khaled Mahmud on the challenge for Bangladesh against Sri Lanka
Mahmud admitted that Bangladesh will have to show significant improvement against Sri Lanka if they want to win the game and progress to the Super 4 stage. The former all-rounder commented:
“Definitely, we did not expect what happened last night (Tuesday), but you have to take it. You can win, you can lose; that’s okay. But we are looking forward to seeing how we can improve in this format. It is a do-or-die match for us and if we want to play the Super 4, we definitely need to play good cricket.”
On the areas for improvement, he added:
“Our batting needs to gel and we need to not lose too many wickets in the powerplay. That is the key factor. If we don’t lose too many wickets, we have good players in the middle. We feel that if we can score 150-160 runs, we have a good chance to win with our bowling.”
Bowling first, Afghanistan held Bangladesh to 127 for seven in Sharjah and then chased down the target in 18.3 overs with seven wickets in hand.