Dhaka, Feb 17 (IANS) Bangladesh pace spearhead Mashrafe Mortaza, who has to sit out the World Cup following a right knee injury, says his team could pull off a win over India in the tournament opener Saturday, as they had done in the previous edition of event in 2007.
Mortaza, however, acknowledged that India were the title favourites in the Feb 19-April 2 event.
“We beat them in the Caribbean four years ago. Then we had also defeated South Africa. If we could do it in 2007, why can’t we do it now? We should not give up hope,” the all-rounder, whose injury-prompted exclusion had triggered a wave of protests in the country, told IANS.
Mortaza had claimed that he was fit, but the Bangladesh Cricket Board disagreed and chose to keep him out of the side. Following the BCB decision, the popular cricketer’s fans had even called a half-day strike and formed a 300-km long human chain.
Mortaza is now training with the team. The 27-year-old seamer said his side was eyeing a place in the second round now.
“We have to take one step at a time. Every match is a final. We are now aiming for a place in the quarter finals. We have the quality to beat any team on our day. So why shouldn’t we fancy our chances against England and West Indies?” said the Narail-born player.
Bangladesh have been clubbed in group B, alongside formidable England, India, West Indies, South Africa, and minnows Netherlands and Ireland. The top four teams would move into the quarter finals.
In 2007, Bangladesh had inflicted a shock five-wicket defeat on India to march into the Super Eight where they again scalped South Africa before bowing out of the tournament.
Asked who were the favourites, Mortaza said: “I think India have the biggest chance to win the World Cup. Sri Lanka also do not lag behind.”
Mortaza said nothing could have pleased him more than playing the World Cup before the home crowd.
“I would have really loved to be in the team. But whatever has happened has happened. Now I want to make a come back into the side after the World Cup,” he said.