Despite being ranked 7th in the ODIs (50-over version), the Bangladeshi tigers are indeed a force to reckon with. Their thrashing of West Indies in the recently held tri-nation series is a testimony to the way they have improved of late. Bangladesh won four out of their five games against the Caribbeans (who are no pushovers in this format, mind you) in style. Having picked the strongest possible squad for the ICC World Cup 2019, Bangladesh are a team with loads of experience & versatility.
The sub-continent nation was judged the second-best side in Asia after the Indians in 2018. On their road to the finals of the 2018 Asia Cup, the Tigers, even with a depleted side, were able to get past Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and one of the tournament favourites, Pakistan, along the way.
Coming to their 15-man squad for the forthcoming World Cup, the Bangladeshis’ hopes will primarily revolve around key players like Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mashrafe Mortaza and Mahmudullah. In Tamim Iqbal, they have one of the most feared stroke-makers in contemporary cricket and Shakib Al Hasan’s place among the best all-rounders in the world is beyond a doubt. They have plenty of young talent in the likes of Liton Das, their reserve wicket keeper, who can also double up as an exciting batsman. Soumya Sarkar is another promising 26-year old bat while 23-year old left-arm fast-medium bowler Mustafizur Rahman can be as lethal as anyone on his day.
Mashrafe Mortaza, 35, the captain of the side will be playing his third and final World Cup. Few leaders could be so inspirational and get the best out of his team-mates who will be more than keen to gift their skipper with a performance to remember.
Apart from their fanatical followers who number into millions world over, few are giving Bangladesh any chance to make it to the Top Four and reach the semi-finals, given how tough the competition is. However, their low-profile image could work well in their favour as evinced from the manner in which some teams have suffered for under-estimating them.
The Bangladeshi Squad:
Mashrafe Mortaza (Captain); Abu Jayed, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain [bowlers]/ Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Saifuddin, Shakib Al Hasan [all-rounders]/ Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das [batsmen]
Bangladesh begin their World Cup campaign against the powerful South Africans on June 2nd which happens to be a Sunday.