Shakib not expecting miracles for Bangladesh at Asia Cup

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Newly-appointed Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan has played down his team’s chances at the Asia Cup and says his goal for the tournament is to prepare for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year. Bangladesh travel to the UAE for the upcoming Asia Cup on the back of a poor run in the shortest format of the game, and Shakib given another chance at the captaincy after Mahmudullah’s three-year reign finished earlier this year.

Shakib’s side are drawn in Group B against Afghanistan and Sri Lanka for the six-team tournament that commences on 27 August and the star all-rounder is keeping his expectations low for the showcase event.

“I have no goals,” Shakib said when asked about how his team will perform at the Asia Cup. “My only aim is that we can do well in the (T20) World Cup and these are the preparations for it. If someone thinks that I can change things within one or two days or someone else will come to change it, then we are living in a fool’s kingdom.

“If you are able to think practically, our true development will be seen when the team really does well in the World Cup in three months’ time.”

Bangladesh have won just two 20-over matches since last year’s T20 World Cup in Oman and the UAE and their most recent series triumph in the shortest format of the game came almost 12 months ago against New Zealand at home.

And while Bangladesh have never won the Asia Cup, they have finished runner up three times at the event in 2012, 2016 and 2018 with Shakib featuring on each occasion.

Bangladesh’s first game at the Asia Cup is against Afghanistan in Sharjah on 30 August, before an eagerly-awaited encounter against Sri Lanka in Dubai on 1 September.

(Agencies)