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Mashrafe urges cautious optimism

“The team we are going to play against are, in my opinion, one of the two most passionate Test playing teams, the other being England. But I personally think that Australia is the most passionate team when it comes to Test cricket,” said Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza when talking about the Tigers’ immediate opposition.

The upcoming Test series against Australia has already created a lot of excitement among players and fans as the Tigers are going to play Tests against the Aussies after 11 years.

The recent successes of the Tigers have taken expectation among the fans to another level altogether, while the players are also up for the challenge to play a Test against the Aussies. Mashrafe however urged not to put unnecessary pressure on the players.

“I don’t play Test cricket but being a supporter I want to say that if we put unnecessary pressure on them it will be difficult for the boys. Australia are far better and ahead in all formats, and especially in Test cricket. In limited-overs cricket, it’s just a day but it’s not the same in Test cricket where you have to play at your best till the fifth day and then the result will come. From that point, Australia is ahead in passion and patience compared to us, and we need to be patient.

“The message I want to give is that we should not create extra pressure on ourselves and realistically Australia are a better team. At the same time, we have the ability to win a Test match against them on home soil. Being a player I am not expecting so much and I am hoping that they [Bangladesh] will give their best, and fight hundred per cent and if there is any outstanding spell or brilliant innings, it can change the scenario. But I would also say that we have all the ability to beat Australia,” Mahsrafe told The Daily Star yesterday.

The Bangladesh think tank is going to finalise their team combination and game plan before the first of the two-Test series starting from August 27. According to Mashrafe, the cricketers have taken the best possible preparation and are practising specific skills, which will help them against Australia.

“Obviously, I am very positive and what is very important for Bangladesh is that they are prepared physically, mentally and skills-wise. I believe they were always prepared and they are getting better. They are practising specifically on those areas which are required and I think the boys have taken the best possible preparation to play against Australia,” Mashrafe added.

Meanwhile, none of the current members of the Bangladesh team have played a Test against Australia, apart from Mahsrafe, and according to the Tigers ODI skipper he had played against the all-time best Test team in the Australia sides of the 2000s.

“When I played against Australia I think it was not only the best ever Australian team but also the all-time best eleven in Test cricket. Matthew Hayden, Shane Warne, Jason Gillespie, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh — who wasn’t there?

“Maybe this team is different from what we have played before and it’s obviously possible to beat them if we can give our best and more importantly, we have to continue the attitude in which we have been playing. Those who are coming with the Australian team, many have said this is not their strongest side, but this same team has played very well in India but unfortunately they were unable to win the series. They have Smith, Handscomb who can single-handedly change the course of the game,” he said.

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