Bangladesh all-rounder Mehidy Hasan Miraz expressed his belief that Bangladesh could have performed significantly better in the Asia Cup had they not been plagued by a string of injuries that disrupted their campaign. Speaking upon the team’s return to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport from Colombo, Miraz highlighted the challenges they faced due to injuries and maintained hope for a successful outing in the upcoming World Cup.
“The outcome could have been different if we had a full-strength team throughout the tournament. We are optimistic that all our injured players will recover in time for the World Cup, allowing us to compete with a positive mindset,” Miraz remarked.
Bangladesh’s preparations for the Asia Cup were marred by the absence of Liton Das, who was sidelined with a viral fever. This setback was compounded by the earlier exclusion of Tamim Iqbal from the tournament due to injury, forcing Bangladesh to field a new opening pair. Although Liton eventually joined the team, their batting woes persisted as Najmul Hossain Shanto, one of their in-form batters, suffered an injury and had to return home. The team further missed the services of Mushfiqur Rahim in the last match against India, as he was granted leave to be with his wife and newborn daughter.
Reflecting on these challenges, Miraz elaborated, “Tamim Iqbal was unavailable, Liton faced a sudden illness, and Shanto, our most in-form batter, got injured during the tournament. Overall, the circumstances were not in our favor.”
Despite these setbacks, Bangladesh managed to secure two victories in the tournament. They defeated Afghanistan in the group stage and narrowly triumphed over India by six runs in their final Super Four match, a game that had no bearing on their chances of reaching the final.
Miraz remained optimistic and saw the win against India as a significant mental boost ahead of the World Cup. He stated, “Although our chances of reaching the final were slim, we were determined to win against India. We understood that a victory against India would provide us with the mental strength needed for the upcoming World Cup. Given that the World Cup will be held in India, this mental boost is crucial.”
Amidst the challenges faced, Bangladesh found reasons to be hopeful, with young talents Towhid Hridoy and Tanzim Hasan Sakib making their presence felt. Hridoy, who had been performing well since his debut, showcased his credentials on the grand stage with two half-centuries. Meanwhile, Sakib made a memorable debut against India, claiming two wickets, including the prized scalp of Rohit Sharma.
Miraz concluded on a positive note, saying, “There were many encouraging aspects in this tournament. Our young players performed admirably, Hridoy displayed his credentials, and Sakib had a debut to remember. Even our lower-order batters contributed runs against India. We are leaving the tournament on a positive note.”