Afghanistan Are the Favourites, Claims Shakib Al Hasan Ahead of T20I Series
Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan is hopeful to reap rewards while expecting his Indian Premier League (IPL) experience will come in handy when he leads his team against confident Afghanistan.
The Tigers will lock horns against Afghanistan in three Twenty20 Internationals on June 3, 5 and 7 respectively. The games will be played in Dehradun. And Shakib believes his familiarity with the Indian condition will help him.
The ace all-rounder returned to Dhaka on Monday (May 28) after completing his stint with runners-up Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). Shakib played all the game for the franchise, playing an integral role in their march to the final.
“I think IPL experience will certainly help me ahead of the series against Afghanistan. The series will be played in India and so it will be more or less like playing at the same place and in familiar condition,” Cricbuzz quoted Shakib.
“Although we did not play there [Dehradhun] but my experience suggests that the wicket will be quite similar to what is laid in other parts of the country and so my experience will come handy,” he asserted.
In order to remain fresh for the series, Shakib decided not to participate in the exhibition match for the ICC World XI against the Windies at Lord’s which is scheduled on May 31. He will join the Bangladesh squad on May 31.
The 31-year old further said he was satisfied with his performance in the IPL. He, however, quickly rued his failure to convert his starts.
“Perhaps it could have been better but I am overall satisfied with my own performance as well as the way we played as a team in the tournament. My only disappointment remains with my batting as in every match despite getting the start somehow could not translate them into big knocks,” he added.
The Bangladesh star also refrained from making further comment on the impact of star leg-spinner Rashid Khan in the series.
The Afghan sensation also played an important role for Sunrisers this season. He finished the IPL with a staggering 21 wickets to his name, the second highest wicket-tally this season.
Interestingly, at the same time, Shakib admitted that Afghanistan will start the series as favourites.
“Certainly there will be some kind of talk about him [Rashid] but as I am not willing to make any comment there is no further chance of elaborating the discussion,” he said.
“Actually there are no favourites in T20 cricket. Any team can beat any other team in this format,” believes Shakib Al Hasan.
“[But] As Afghanistan are two steps ahead of us so I will say that they are the favourites,” he added.
Concurrently, Afghanistan team is ranked eighth in the ICC T20 rankings while Bangladesh is placed two places behind them.