"What I believe is that Bangladesh are also one of the biggest contenders to get the World Cup" - Rahim Getty

Mushfiqur Rahim, Bangladesh's wicketkeeper-batsman, believes that they have the ability to reach the knockout stage in the forthcoming ICC World Cup, after which anything can happen, including being serious contenders for the title. Given Bangladesh's success the last couple of years in a format that has been kind to them, they will take confidence into the biggest cricket extravaganza scheduled to begin from from May 30 to July 14 in the United Kingdom.

"The one thing we believe that we are going to win not just for participating in the tournament. This is our belief, we hope you all do that too,'' Mushfiqur said on Sunday (April 28). "I strongly believe that we have huge potential to make it to the knockout stages and anything can happen in the knockout stage. I don't expect an easy game to win in the World Cup. In the World Cup, I will say that every team is strong, but what I believe is that Bangladesh are also one of the biggest contenders to get the World Cup. In the last few years, we suffered defeats in many finals. I have a belief that the almighty might have saved it to give us something big in this World Cup," he added.

Bangladesh reached the semifinals in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. They are currently ranked seventh in ODIs, and will go into the tournament with an experienced side that has performed decently in recent past on the back of unified effort from their experienced campaigners, with as many as four of their seniors - Mashrafee bin Mortaza, Shakib al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur - appearing in their fourth World Cup.

"It's a matter of pride and honour to represent the country in the global event, I feel it always. There will be expectation on us and we'll be happy if we can earn an expected success," said Mushfiqur. "We are more determined this time around because probably it will be the last time we five senior players will play a World Cup together. For Mashrafe bhai, it will be the last World Cup so there is no chance that we five altogether will play any global tournament afterwards. We are really determined to give Mashrafe Bhaia befitting farewell. We want to make this World Cup memorable for the sake of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza. So I think, doing something special for Mashrafe will motivate us more to do well in this World Cup," he said.

Apart from their experienced campaigners, Mushfiqur said that those who will make their maiden appearance on the big stage need to enjoy their time in the tournament as that would help them perform to their potential instead of getting bogged down by the added pressure of the occasion. Seven cricketers - Liton Das, Mohammad Mithun, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehedi Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, and Abu Jayed - will feature in their first World Cup, though most of them are regular members of Bangladesh's ODI set-up.

"Those who are playing in the World Cup are matured. Apart from Rahi [Abu Jayed], the remaining players have played a lot of matches. These experiences will help them. It will be important to enjoy the times. They should carry a mentality that cricket is just a game and they should give their 100 per cent and it's the most important thing,' said Mushfiqur, before adding that the batting unit needs to deliver considering they are the ones who are more experienced than the bowling unit, but also adding that their bowlers are quite capable of doing their job on the day.

"If you look at our batting department we have a relatively experienced unit, but it's not just about having the experience as you also have to execute that by performing," he said. "I think the strike-rate is very important as it's more important than how many runs you scored or your average. We have lost to England in the Champions Trophy despite posting 320 which shows that we should have scored around 350-360 and our top-order batsmen are also taking this into account," he said. "If we can score hundreds, we need to look to convert that to 130-150 in quick time and keeping the size of the boundary and ground in mind, we also need to run hard between the wickets. It's a different challenge for those who will be playing the World Cup for the first time. I think they are very much capable, which they have shown in the last two-three series. If you talk about [Mohammad] Saifuddin and Fizz [ Mustafizur Rahman], they have been doing well and it is a plus point for them.

"It's a big tournament and they need to take it a step further and take on personal challenges as match-winners emerge from such events. If we can get one or two match-winners from here, Bangladesh can consistently perform better in the future away from home,'' he said.