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ICC World Cup: Indians surely under pressure, not us, says B'desh selector

Bangladesh chief selector Farooq Ahmed confident about Tigers' ability of repeating their 2007 World Cup win over India in today's quarter-final

Melbourne: Bangladesh's chairman of selectors Farooq Ahmed has been there and done that, as far as beating India in a World Cup is concerned, and he's not at all shy to talk about his achievement too. One of his opening statements during an interaction with mid-day at the MCG yesterday was: "I was also the chairman of selectors when we beat India at the 2007 World Cup. Then, I took a six-year lay off before coming back."

Bangladesh's chairman of selectors Farooq Ahmed at the MCG. Pic/Ashwin Ferro
Bangladesh's chairman of selectors Farooq Ahmed at the MCG. Pic/Ashwin Ferro  

Ahmed's pride should not be mistaken for arrogance. For a team that has had to relentlessly fight with the authorities to maintain their Test status, despite having registered some big wins in the past, the 48-year-old feels vindicated when things go his way.

In an interview with mid-day, the chief selector revealed just why he thinks his boys can beat India at the World Cup again, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground here today.

Excerpts

On the feeling in the camp:
The boys are ready. It's a been a long tour as the World Cup format is a bit different this time. You have to play at least three to four good matches to make the knockout stages. It's not easy to be focussed for such a long time but thankfully our boys have managed to do that really well and are very focussed on the quarter-final.

Bangladesh players warm-up during a practice session in Melbourne on Tuesday. Pic/AFP
Bangladesh players warm-up during a practice session in Melbourne on Tuesday. Pic/AFP 

On the pressure factor:
Everyone know that India is a strong team, but we have beaten them before. And more importantly, we have beaten them in tournaments and not bilateral series. Beating a top team in a tournament always gives you that extra edge because there is also a lot more pressure in a tournament. So, I don't think we are under pressure, but India sure is because they are the defending champions too. We have always been given the minnows tag, which we feel is unfair, because we haven't just won a one-off game here, we have won three. But we accept it, as long as the boys have self-belief, such tags will not affect our performance.

On Bangladesh's performance so far:
It's very important to pick up your game at the right time. India had a long tour and didn't do well before the World Cup, but they picked up in time and have done very well here. It's the same with this Bangladesh team. We have picked up our game at the right time and beaten some good teams like Scotland, Afghanistan and England to come this far. We also played a very good game against New Zealand, who have a very good bowling attack, so that has given us a lot of confidence going into the quarter-finals.

On whether Bangladesh can beat India today:
Why not? We are confident of beating India because we have done it in the past — at the 2007 World Cup and then at the 2012 Asia Cup too. Let's not forget that from now on, on any single day, any team can take any team out of the tournament. Our team realises this and the boys will play a pressure-free game because they have already done well in the tournament so far. Besides, India played six good games on the trot, so there is a chance that the law of averages may catch up with them and they may have a bad day. But having said that, we know India are a very good team and we respect their ability.

On this Bangladesh team vis a vis the 2007 one:
In 2007, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim, were all youngsters and playing in their first major international tournament. Now, these guys have a good seven-eight years experience behind them. Then, there are some youngsters in this team like No 3 batsman Soumya Sarkar (22), No 7 batsman and leg-spinner Shabbir Rahman (22), pacer Taskin Ahmed, who are eager to chip in. So this team is definitely much better than the Bangladesh team of 2007.

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