Sharif, Sharma optimistic about ‘younger Bangladesh team’ in Road Safety World Series

Former Bangladesh pacer Mohammad Sharif has expressed his excitement about being part of the second edition of Road Safety World Series, which will kick off in New Delhi from September 10.

Last year Bangladesh played under Mohammad Rafique and lost all five of their matches, with the former players of India winning the title. This time, though, Bangladesh will participate with a squad who are relatively younger.

Sharif, one of the players of the team which will leave for India today, said he was looking forward to the tournament.

“I played in the tournament last year. We didn’t do that well last year though as we didn’t know much about the tournament itself. We thought it would be a kind of get-together of former players.

“This time the organisers have asked us to form a team with relatively younger retired players. The team is better than the last one in terms of fitness. All the teams have, in fact, strengthened their sides and the interest of people has also increased. We hope we can do better this time around,” Sharif told the media yesterday.

Eight teams will take part in the series this time around, with Australia and New Zealand the new inclusions. Sachin Tendulkar is the marquee player for India while Brian Lara will headline the West Indies team.

Bangladesh team’s coach Rahul Sharma has drastically changed the squad, leaving out the likes of Rafique, Khaled Mahmud, Javed Omar, Hannan Sarkar, Nafees Iqbal, Rajin Saleh and Mushfiqur Rahman Babu. They have been replaced by Alok Kapali, Shahadat Hossain Rajib, Tushar Imran, Dhiman Ghosh, Dollar Mahmud, Abul Hasan Raju, Iliyas Sunny and Najmus Sadat.

Apart from them, some of the players who played last year, such as Abdur Razzak, Alamgir Kabir, Aftab Ahmed, Khaled Mashud, Sharif, Mehrab Hossain and Mohammad Nazmuddin are also in the side, which will be led by hockey coach Mamunur Rashid, like last year. The captain of the team is yet to be decided.

Rahul Sharma said he was looking to work with the former Bangladesh players. “My job as a coach is to form a balanced side and I know there is not much work needed to be done individually with these great players. We will try to enjoy the tournament and hope to bring a positive result.”

The tournament will be held in four venues with the final scheduled for October 1.

“We want to aware the people about road safety through this initiative. It is a noble cause and we are all proud to be associated with this cause,” Sharma added.

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