Bangladesh ODI skipper Shakib Al Hasan expressed his concerns about the team's performance in the ongoing Asia Cup, stating that it serves as a reality check before the upcoming World Cup. After suffering a 21-run defeat to Sri Lanka in their second Super Four match, Bangladesh is on the verge of elimination. Their batting unit has been disappointing, contributing to their struggles in the tournament.
Shakib emphasized the need to address the team's batting issues, which have persisted for the past six months in ODIs. He stated that this tournament before the World Cup provides valuable insights and an opportunity to rectify their weaknesses. While acknowledging Bangladesh's success in bilateral series, he highlighted the challenge they face in tournaments where they fail to perform exceptionally. Shakib believes that the experience gained from this reality check will lead to improvements in their game.
Despite reaching two or three finals in the Asia Cup, Bangladesh has not been successful in major tournaments. However, Shakib considers the team promising and hopes to capitalize on this experience to enhance their performance. Bangladesh's chances of qualifying for the final in the Asia Cup depend on the results of other teams, and their last game against India will be crucial.
Reflecting on their match against Sri Lanka, Shakib believed that a strong performance from the top four batsmen could have made a significant difference. With a challenging wicket, he stressed the importance of building partnerships and lamented the loss of early wickets. Although there was a substantial partnership, Bangladesh needed more to chase down the target. Shakib acknowledged that fielding first was the right decision considering the conditions.
Shakib supported the decision to experiment with Mehedy Hasan as an opener, despite limited success apart from his match-winning knock against Afghanistan. He urged Mohammad Naim, the other opener, to convert his starts into significant scores by working on the mental aspects of his game. Shakib also praised Mehedy Miraz's batting skills and suggested using him higher up the order against certain opponents.
Looking ahead, Shakib mentioned the inclusion of additional cricketers in the upcoming three-match ODIs against New Zealand to keep the team fresh for the World Cup, which involves extensive traveling.