World Cup

Of dinosaurs and Bangladesh

“I look in the dressing room, and most of these guys are very young. Rangana Herath and I are the dinosaurs. It feels a bit surreal to play cricket with people of their age.” This was Kumar Sangakkara, describing himself in a rather charming way, a few days before his retirement.

Turn to the Indian World T20 team and it’s easy to decipher who fits this description the best. And when he says, “I am not on social media, and I’m still using my old Nokia,” it’s indeed dinosaur-like. Only that Ashish Nehra, in his second wind, is bowling like a dream, is not even thinking about retirement and also keeping a fit-again Mohammed Shami out.

“I’m loving it!” he said on Tuesday. “Whatever responsibility the captain and the team management give me, I’m trying to do the best. I will try to play as long as my body holds up. I wasn’t somebody just working hard to play domestic cricket or IPL.”

On Wednesday, though, the focus might well be on India’s batters who, except for Virat Kohli, haven’t really fired. Nehra, however, begged to differ. “That’s the way it goes in India,” he said. “People live in the moment, the same day. The last two games were like 118-, 120-run games. So they didn’t score. But before that, Shikhar Dhawan was Man-of-the-Match in the Asia Cup final and somebody like Rohit Sharma has been performing so well.”

Nehra also sought to highlight how much Bangladesh has improved. “The way Bangladesh has progressed in last 2-4 years is amazing. Tamim Iqbal, Mustafizur Rahman... you name it, they have so many good cricketers coming up, and they’ve been part of the IPL, Big Bash or Caribbean Premier League. It’s good for world cricket the way Bangladesh has been playing.”

Shakib Al Hasan agreed. “The mindset has certainly changed,” he said. “Now we know how to win games. We have more contributors. Previously there used to be two or three guys. Now there are four to five.”

On recent evidence from the tournament, though, Bangladesh has much to improve and Shakib, ahead of the do-or-die clash, certainly seemed mindful of it.

“First six overs with our batting,” he said. “We scored only 30 runs in six overs against Australia. Normally here in India most teams are scoring 45 to 50 runs. We lost the game there. If we had scored 15-20 more, it would have been different.”

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 1:07:31 AM |

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