Bangladesh current crop best so far, says Shakib

Indo Asian News Service

Kolkata, May 2 (IANS) Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan on Tuesday rated the current cricketing side as the best of all time, but the just-appointed T20 International skipper added that they need to improve on their performances in the shortest format of the game going forward.

"We have a few good batsmen, good pacers, and good spinners too. I feel this team of ours is the best so far," Shakib, who is playing for Kolkata Knight Riders in the ongoing Indian Premier League, told reporters on the sidelines of a promotional programme here.

"I don't have any complaints. Our cricket is on the right track. Our performance in the last two years is a testimony to that fact," the southpaw, who took over the reins as T20 captain from fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza on April 22, added.

Bangladesh, who have long come out of the shadow as minnows, became the fourth team to win on their 100th Test match, away to Sri Lanka earlier this year.

"Any responsibility is challenging," Shakib said when asked about his role as T20 captain.

"It depends how you take it. Yes, we are doing well of late but we don't have a good T20 record. We need to improve on that aspect. When I was ODI or Test skipper, our situation was like that. We just couldn't win. Then we started winning slowly and now we are winning matches regularly. So, in T20 our target is to reach that level."

Shakib added that Bangladesh's group in the Champions Trophy is the toughest and Australia and England are pre-tournament favourites. Bangladesh have Australia, New Zealand and England in Group A.

"I feel our group is more tough. All teams are good but Australia, England are tough opponents. South Africa always do well. We are confident of doing well in a world event so that people remember our show."

Moving to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), where Shakib has just played one match this season, the highly rated player said he is waiting for his turn and it is the nature of the competition that is forcing him to warm the benches.

"We are professional cricketers. There is a team combination in a side and the team is made keeping in mind the opposition. Those who don't play want to make the most of any opportunity. I am waiting for my turn."

On Gautam Gambhir's captaincy, Shakib said: "He has been exceptional. It's been seven years since I have been playing under him.

"The way he runs the team is superb. It's not easy to lead in franchise cricket. In the last seven years we have qualified for knockouts or reached the top four. Not many teams have managed to do so. In 2012 and 2014 we have become champions and both (the wins have come) under him. It is for him that the team is doing well," he added.

David Warner's 126 off 59 deliveries in KKR's last game in Hyderabad was one of the best in the IPL according to Shakib who watched the Australian take his teammates to the cleaners.

"Watching it was a torture from the dugout. It is one of the best innings in the IPL. It was not great for us. We are in a good position and we are focussing on next matches which are important. If we can play our cricket it's not impossible to win tomorrow," he added.

KKR play Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) here on Wednesday.

--IANS

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