ICC World Cup 2019 | Best Team Does Not Always Win: Mortaza Tells Fans Go Easy With 'Hype'

Mashrafe said there should be no public pressure to win or even reach the semi-finals.

ICC World Cup 2019 | Best Team Does Not Always Win: Mortaza Tells Fans Go Easy With 'Hype'

Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza on Monday called on the country's fans to douse their expectations for the World Cup and avoid putting unwanted pressure on the team.

After Bangladesh's appearance at the Champions Trophy semi-finals two years ago and the Asia Cup final last year, national hopes of a winning streak at the World Cup have skyrocketed.

But the 35-year-old captain called for calm ahead of the team's departure for a warm-up tournament in Ireland, before the World Cup starts on May 30 in England and Wales.

"You are saying this is our best ever team, but that's not important," said Mashrafe.

"We went to the Asia Cup with the same team but could not win it. We played in the Champions Trophy semi-final, we had the same team. So there is no need to create hype," he pleaded.

"The best team does not always win," added Mashrafe, who said the players do not need the "extra pressure on us" and that he preferred to believe in "luck".

Mashrafe said there should be no public pressure to win or even reach the semi-finals.

"If you ask the ex-players and analysts they will tell you we are not among the favourites. If we can do something, people's attitude towards us will change."

Bangladesh won 13 one-day internationals last year. Among the World Cup countries, only India and England did better.

Bangladesh open their World Cup campaign against South Africa at the Oval, London, on June 2.

However, Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hasan was left rather disappointed as star player Shakib Al Hasan was absent from the official pre-World Cup photograph session.

Shakib, who left before the picture, had arrived on Sunday from India to join the squad ahead of their departure for the tri-series involving Ireland and West Indies. The team departs for Ireland on May 1.

"It is disappointing, what else can I say?" Nazmul told reporters at Mirpur when asked about Shakib's absence. "It was the team's photo session. I came and asked about him. I didn't know he had arrived last night. I called him, and he said he is going to come to my house at night.

"I said to him to come to the ground. He said he had already left. I asked everyone here, and they said Shakib was informed of the photo session. He didn't turn up for training but we hoped for his presence in the photo session. But he wasn't here," the BCB chief added.

Shakib only recently skipped a pre-World Cup camp to continue playing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL.

"I think the rest of the team is used to it. What else can I say? I think it is his misfortune that he couldn't be in the team photo before the team leaves for the World Cup," rued Nazmul, despite confirming that he didn't seek to read too much into this issue.

"There's no question about (giving him too much leeway). The team is leaving day after tomorrow, so we don't want to talk too much about it. But it is definitely disappointing," he said.

(With agency inputs)

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