Sri Lanka T20s ‘key to World Cup plans’: Bangladesh captain

Bangladesh keen to take recent strong showing into June event

Najmul Hossain Shanto

Eastern Eye

THE Bangladesh captain, Najmul Hossain Shanto, said last Sunday (3) he wanted his team to use the three-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka to perfect the format ahead of the World Cup in June.

The series, which began on Monday (4) in Sylhet as Eastern Eye went to press, marks the start of Sri Lanka’s monthlong tour of Bangladesh, which also includes three ODIs and two Tests.

Shanto said it was critical for them to “play as a team”, noting that big wins last year were possible because “everyone contributed”.

Bangladesh have never defeated Sri Lanka in a T20 series.

They beat world champions England 3-0 at home in 2023, and also won series against Ireland and Afghanistan, before drawing a threematch series 1-1 against New Zealand.

Shanto said he wanted to keep the momentum going into the World Cup, hosted this year by the United States and the West Indies.

“Last year, we did well in T20s, and I think we have improved in T20s,” Shanto said.

“If we can improve… then hopefully we will be able to compete with anyone in any condition.”

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are in Group D for the World Cup, with South Africa, Nepal and the Netherlands.

“It is very important that we play eight or 11 matches before going to the World Cup,” Shanto said.

“If we take these matches… and decide how we want to play in the World Cup, then it will be easy to plan.”

The World Cup is a key focus of Sri Lanka too, and coach Chris Silverwood said he was expecting a “very competitive series between two good sides”.

“Obviously, we are now in the buildup to what is an important competition in the World Cup,” he said.

“What we have to do… is concentrate on what’s in front of us and remember what we’re aiming for.”

The second and third T20I matches will be held on Wednesday (6) and Saturday (9), both also at Sylhet.