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Shanto ‘ready to lead’ Bangladesh

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NAJMUL HOSSAIN SHANTO said he felt “ready” for the Bangladesh captaincy after standing-in as skipper for the injured Shakib Al Hasan during the World Cup.

The 25-year-old led his team for the second time at the tournament, as they bowed out after an eightwicket defeat by already-qualified semifinalists Australia last Saturday (11).

Shanto was in charge after veteran all-rounder Shakib suffered a broken finger while batting in a win over Sri Lanka.

This was Shakib’s fifth World Cup and the Bangladesh star will be 40 by the time of the 2027 edition in southern Africa.

Shanto, talking about captaincy, told a post-match press conference: “I’ve been doing it for a while now and personally, I think I’m ready (to lead Bangladesh). And if I get the opportunity, definitely, I’m ready.”

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He added: “I have learned a lot since it was my first World Cup… Playing in such an environment, this experience will help me.”

Bangladesh’s 306-8 against Australia was their highest total of the tournament. But they still lost for the seventh time in nine matches as Mitchell Marsh led the five-time champions to victory with an unbeaten 177.

But things might have been different for Bangladesh had Shan[1]to (45) and Mahmudullah (32) not both been run out by Marnus Labuschagne when well set.

“We had two runouts in the batting and we didn’t bowl well in the middle overs,” said Shanto. “So as a team, we couldn’t play well enough in some important moments.

“But we have scored 300-plus today against such (good) bowling. If we didn’t have two run-outs or if we had another big partnership in the middle, we would have made 350 from there.”

He added: “Overall, we didn’t play good cricket as a team in the World Cup. “We have to improve our batting and bowling. We have to think what went wrong, and, when we’re back home, work it out.”

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