May 20, 2009
Jamie Siddons, the Bangladesh coach, has said beating India and making it to the Super Eights were his team's main goals for next month's World Twenty20 in England. Bangladesh are in Group A along with India and Ireland in the initial phase, from which two teams progress to the Super Eights.
"Our target is to beat India in our first match which will confirm a place in the next round," Siddons told AFP ahead of his team's departure on Friday for the June 5-21 tournament. "We know India are the world champions in Twenty20 cricket. They have talented players. But if our top three players fire, we can beat them."
Bangladesh had qualified for the Super Eights in the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007 after they shocked West Indies by six wickets in their first game.
Siddons was also hopeful of going as far as the semi-finals if his side's key players - captain Mohammad Ashraful, opening batsman Tamim Iqbal, and allrounder Shakib Al Hasan - were on form. "They are the best players in the team," he said. "On their day, we can beat any top side in the world."
Bangladesh have been short of match practice, and the postponement of the home series against Pakistan means they have not played any international games since January. "We are going to England a week earlier than our competitors," he said. "We will play five practice matches, two of which are against Australia and New Zealand, so I hope our boys will acclimatise well to the English conditions."
Their first game is against India on June 6 at Trent Bridge.