He has been considered as one of the all-time greats that Bangladesh Cricket have ever produced. Mohammad Ashraful, the former Bangladesh captain, in an interview with the CricketSoccer before the Champions Trophy semifinal match between India and Bangladesh, predicts that Bangladesh will fight it hard and will play fearless cricket.
Here are the excerpts:
CricketSoccer: Facing India in the semifinal match in an ICC event, how big a match is it going to be at Edgbaston?
Mohammad Ashraful: Ohh it’s going to be a big match. Undoubtedly India is a very strong opponent. They are one of the favourites to lift the Trophy as well. They have world class cricketers in every department. But Bangladesh is playing good cricket. They have nothing to lose in this match. They can play freely. And that makes them a dangerous side in this match. They will fight it hard against India. They will play fearless cricket.
CS: India-Bangladesh clash has come up as an exciting cricketing combat recently. What makes this rivalry so special?
Ashraful: It is fact that India-Bangladesh clash have been producing some great cricketing duels recently. The cause may be the fact that Bangladesh have come up as a fighting unit over the last 2 years. India-Bangladesh match has never been a one-sided affair in last 2 years. In the T20 Cricket World Cup last year, Bangladesh lost by just one run and that was a game worth remembering in my entire life.
CS: But Bangladesh lost the warm-up match by a big margin…
Ashraful: Yes, but that was a preparatory match after all. I don’t think that match will have any impact in the semifinal match. It will be a fresh start for both the teams.
CS: Why are the Bangladeshi cricketers seen more charged up on the field in any match against India?
Ashraful: It’s not true. The intensity amongst the Bangladeshi cricketers has been same in every match. Every match is equally important to them. I have played with most of the cricketers of the current Bangladesh team. I know many of them personally. The Bangladeshi cricketers have always shown respect for the skill and potential of the Indian cricketers. So I don’t think there are any issues of over excitement and all.
CS: Who could be the game changer for Bangladesh?
Ashraful: ohh… There are many. Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah- all can be the game changer on his day. They have been playing international cricket for last 10-12 years and are experienced enough to get rid of any problematic situation in a match.
CS: What will be your suggestions to Mashrafe Mortaza?
Ashraful: He is a very matured cricketer. Mortaza doesn’t need any suggestions at this stage. I will just tell him to keep the things tight. Bring on Taskin Ahmed and Rubel Hossain with the new ball as both of them can bowl at 140 kmph. If you have to beat an opposition of India’s caliber, you have to be proactive. Attack from the very fastball and never let the game go beyond the grip.