Mashrafe: I expect this to be the most competitive CWC

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza feels that next year’s World Cup, to be played in the UK, will be the most competitive global tournament that he could be involved in.

Mashrafe was speaking after the ICC released the schedule for the 2019 showpiece event with the Tigers facing South Africa in their opening game on 2 June at the Oval.

The tournament will revert back to the 1992 format when all 10 teams played each other with the top four sides making it to  the semifinals.

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Mashrafe said: “I expect this to be the most competitive World Cup I have been a part of because of the format.

“I guess for the first time all the ten nations will be backing themselves to qualify for the last four of the event as each team is capable of beating the other on any given day.”

Bangladesh will have good memories of playing an ICC event in the UK as they reached the semi-final of the Champions Trophy there last year, which they lost to India.

Mashrafe is confident that, with the right preparation, the Tigers can replicate that sort of form next year.

The Tigers skipper continued: “We have fond memories of playing in England and Wales. Some of Bangladesh cricket’s best ODI moments have come here including victories over Pakistan, Australia, England and New Zealand.

“Only last year we had made it to the semifinals of the ICC Champions Trophy and that will really motivate and inspire us.

“We have a pretty good idea about the conditions. Besides, the large Bangladeshi expat community in the UK have been amazing in terms of supporting and encouraging the Bangladesh Cricket Team and we feel comfortable whenever we are there.

“With the quality we have and with the right preparation, I am confident that we will put up a stiff challenge to our opponents in the World Cup.”