Monday, April 3, 2017

Getting better, but haven't reached our desired level: Mashrafe

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza has said that people shouldn't read too much into the hosts' dreadful record at R. Premadasa Stadium ahead of first of two Twenty20 International on Tuesday. Sri Lanka have lost ten of their 11 T20Is played at the venue with their only win coming in the World Twenty20 semi-final against Pakistan in 2012.

"When we played the ODI series decider against England in Chittagong last year, we lost despite having a good record there. So these things don't really matter much," Mashrafe said on Monday (April 3).

Sri Lanka are a confident unit having recorded series wins in Australia and South Africa in the last three months. "They are playing in Sri Lanka, so they know the conditions very well. I think they played really well against Australia and South Africa so it is not going to be easy. We are mentally getting ready to fight them," Mashrafe added.

Bangladesh have only played one T20 series since the World Twenty20 last year in India, being whitewashed 3-0 in that series against New Zealand.

"We will try to play with our best tomorrow. We are playing a different format, in which our recent performance hasn't been that great. We are hoping to play to our potential.

"We couldn't finish well in the World T20 last year. We are getting better but we haven't reached our desired level. Most of the other teams are doing better than us in T20s. We need some impact players. The more our younger players play T20s, we will become a better side in this format," Mashrafe went on to say.

Sri Lanka's T20 side is quite different from their one-day outfit with some experienced players in this format returning to the side. "They have some impact players like Chamara Kapugedara, Lasith Malinga and Dilshan Munaweera. They can turn around the game. This team won in Australia and South Africa. Winning in South Africa is very hard for Asian teams, so their team is doing well in this format. They are confident. It won't be easy for us if we don't play at our best."

Mashrafe said that Bangladesh should take inspiration from their come-from-behind victory in the second Test in Colombo. "Even if we are not favourites, it doesn't mean we can't win or play well. Sri Lanka crushed Australia 3-0, but we beat them despite being 1-0 down. So even if Sri Lanka are favourites having won in Australia and South Africa, we can compete and win.

"We have a lot of impact players but they have to settle down first. We have Sabbir Rahman, Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim. They have to combine to play well, which is important," Mashrafe elaborated.

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