‘What matters is how mentally prepared we are’
Mehedi Hasan Miraz had an incredible 2022, which ended with a series win against India, and appears to bubbling with confidence as Bangladesh gear up for the 2023 World Cup. He talked about the dressing room culture, skills needed to fulfil the World Cup dream and the return of Chandika Hathurusingha during an interview with The Daily Star's Abdullah Al Mehdi. The excerpts are below:
The Daily Star (DS): What are your expectations for the 2023 World Cup individually and as a team?
Mehedi Hasan Miraz (MHM): We have been doing well in ODIs over the past five-seven years so the expectation from everyone is to become World Cup champions. Everyone has to stay fit and perform. How much we prepare ourselves is crucial. The captain, coach and players will have a plan and this World Cup is one where we are at full strength.
Our seniors have the experience of four World Cups and juniors have at least six years of international experience. Anyone can win matches on their day. We don't lack skills or experience so what matters now is how mentally prepared we are. I believe this World Cup will be a memorable one for us. If it doesn't happen this time, I want to at least win a World Cup someday. Of course, luck is needed but we have a chance and our first target is the semis.
DS: What is required to make the dream come true?
MHM: Players know what they need to do. We have to develop skills. For example, I bowl a certain way but if I can add to my arsenal confidently, it changes morale. We have to chase 300-350 so we have to train to do that and plan accordingly. It's mental and skill-based; not about experience.
DS: How did it feel to get Virat Kohli's wicket?
MHM: I always wanted to get Virat Kohli out. I created three opportunities but it didn't happen before. He survived once by taking a review but this time I got him. I really wanted his wicket in the Dhaka Test and wanted to produce my best delivery. When you play T20s more, sometimes your shape is disturbed when you go for Tests. The rotation [of the ball] needs to be completely different in Tests. My coaches Sohel [Islam] and [Rangana] Herath help me a lot.
DS: What did you make of Hathurusingha's return?
MHM: He knows everyone and that's an advantage. He has plans and the board wants something good from him. I debuted under him and I have grown after that so I will be able to learn more. He has been really successful and we did well under him in the 2015 World Cup. He has gotten more experienced now and we will share our experiences with him.
DS: Your thoughts on the dressing room culture of Bangladesh?
MHM: Everyone is very supportive of each other. It's been happening for 10-12 years; our seniors set the example. When I was watching highlights of the first ODI against India, I saw how happy the dressing room was and Shakib bhai even took me up on his shoulders. Without a good dressing room culture, such feelings don't arise. There is no jealousy. A team gets results when they are this way.
DS: How do you feel about those seniors approaching the end of careers?
MHM: They took us to a new level when we didn't have many dreams and their journey is still continuing. Our target is to take the team to the next step so that we can tell the next generation to go higher. That's how things grow. Our seniors always give us the same message.