He may be the world’s top ODI all-rounder, but Sakib al Hasan still has a point to prove at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup according to Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes, reports International Cricket Council.
A prolific influence with bat and ball in the Tigers ascent to the upper echelons of the limited-overs game, the experienced Sakib is set to embark upon his fourth World Cup campaign this summer.
One wicket away from joining an exclusive club of limited-overs to have taken 250 wickets and surpassed 5,000 runs, you’d be forgiven for thinking the 32-year-old’s stock could not be any higher.
Yet his recent absence from the IPL through injury has seen others steal some of the limelight - and with doubts still surrounding his fitness, Rhodes believes his star man needs to remind the rest of the world of his ability.
‘Sakib is fine,’ Rhodes said after Bangladesh’s washed out warm-up game against Pakistan in Cardiff.
‘He’s in a great position physically. He had a little problem in Ireland but he’s got over that and is raring to go.
‘He’s looking forward to a wonderful tournament. I think he’s got a bit of a point to prove and he probably thinks that as well.
‘He seems to have been a little bit forgotten but now he’s back as the world’s No.1 all-all-rounder in ODI cricket - and that’s where we think he belongs.
‘But he’s got a point to prove to make sure everybody else believes that.’
Winners of the recent Tri-Nation Series against West Indies and Ireland, Bangladesh’s preparations for next week’s curtain-raiser have been almost unblemished.
One small area of concern, though, has been the injury to another key all-rounder in Mahmudullah Riyad, who is currently nursing a shoulder complaint.
Rhodes said: ‘Mahmudullah’s shoulder is coming along a little slowly. I don’t think it would have been possible for him to bowl against Pakistan.
‘We’re very optimistic that we can get him up and running for the early stages of the World Cup.
‘It may affect our balance slightly, but the good thing about Mahmudullah is that he doesn’t need a lot of practice to be good at bowling.’
Ranked seventh in the world heading into the competition, Bangladesh face an uphill challenge to reach the World Cup semi-finals in some circles.
But with a delicate blend of experienced heads and talented youngsters at his disposal, Rhodes is confident that his side are able to spring surprises when the action gets underway.
‘People keep telling me that to win a world tournament you need experience,’ he added. ‘I’m glad because we’ve got a wealth of experience there. I listen to them a lot because why wouldn’t you with that vast experience?
‘It will be a good thing when it gets a little tight towards the end of the group.
‘There are 10 teams in this World Cup, but when I looked at the odds, we were ninth favourites and Afghanistan were tenth favourites- but on our day we both could beat the favourites.
‘There’s going to be a lot of winning and losing by all teams’
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