June 25, 2019 / 4:00 AM / 3 months ago

Cricket: Bangladesh coach Joshi hails 'Mr Consistent' Shakib

(Reuters) - Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan’s consistency with the bat and ball at the Cricket World Cup is down to his fitness regimen and his presence in the squad has driven them to new heights, the team’s spin coach Sunil Joshi has said.

Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup - Bangladesh v Afghanistan - The Ageas Bowl, Southampton, Britain - June 24, 2019 Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan celebrates the wicket of Afghanistan's Najibullah Zadran Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

Shakib made 51 in Monday’s 62-run victory over Afghanistan to reclaim his position as the tournament’s leading run scorer (476 runs) and also logged the best bowling figures of 5-29 to take his tally to 10 wickets.

The 32-year-old brushed aside suggestions Bangladesh were a one-man team but his third man-of-the-match performance has moved them one step closer to the semi-finals, the side sitting in fifth place and a point behind England.

“It is a source of great pride that we have a player like that in the Bangladesh side,” Joshi told reporters.

“He is Mr. Consistent for us — be it with the bat, the ball or in the field. He has really focused on his fitness and lost between five and seven kilos recently.

“You can see how that has paid off with his running between the wickets, you can see the hunger in his cricket. His presence is really helping us to take our whole game forward.”

Bangladesh have a break until they play India next Tuesday and Joshi, who played 69 one-day internationals for the twice champions between 1996 and 2001, is expecting a battle of the spinners on a slow pitch at Edgbaston.

“We all know they play spin well but so do we,” Joshi said.

“We have shown in the white ball formats here and before this that we are a good side. We won in Ireland, we have beaten West Indies home and away and come close to beating India three times in the past three years.

“I have seen India very closely when we have played them. We know where to bowl to them.”

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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