Following their crushing eight-wicket loss to Afghanistan in the Asia Cup 2022 opener, Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka took a dig at their next opponent Bangladesh saying they were 'weak' compared to Afghanistan.
Star leg-spinner Rashid Khan, however, disagreed with the comparison as he said that his team's preparation is the same irrespective of their opponent.
"We don't think opposition is weak or strong. You can't say that in cricket. It is something that you never handle the result of the game. For us, every opposition is tough. We have to take the opposition seriously, and be well prepared. If we are playing Hong Kong or India tomorrow, we will have the same preparation," Rashid told reporters ahead of Afghanistan's clash against Bangladesh in Sharjah on Tuesday.
Afghanistan have played only 11 T20Is against three opponents since January this year, but Rashid said that the experience of playing franchise cricket has put his team in good stead.
"We don't play a lot of longer format cricket. It is about the FTP, and not in the players' hands. We want to play a lot of international cricket, so that our youngsters can understand the environment to improve their skills. Since we play a lot of international leagues, it gives us the opportunity to learn from the best players. We bring that experience to the international team. We share that with the rest of the team," Rashid said.
Afghanistan's batting boasts of big hitters Hazratullah Zazai, Najibullah Zadran and skipper Mohammad Nabi with Rashid also playing some crucial runs off late. The legspinner felt that their batters have reaped the benefits of playing of playing around the world.
"Specially in the batting department it helps if we play more international leagues. If there's international duty, you have to be present. It is always first priority. But we are hopeful of playing more international games in the coming years," he said.
Speaking about the strengths of Bangladesh, who have lost series against Zimbabwe and West Indies this year, Rashid said that his teammates or focused on playing well.
"Shakib (Al Hasan) is the skipper, the most experienced player in the side. It makes a huge difference. But we think about our process. It is in the players' mind. We know our roles and jobs tomorrow. We don't think about the result, whether we beat them or not," he said.
Sridharan Sriram, who will be in charge of Bangladesh's T20I side for the next three, said that his team has worked on their roles for the tournament.
"One thing we have made an effort to do is, be as clear in communication as possible to what to expect from everyone. Players are aware of their roles. Once we get there, we will assess conditions and probably take the right call," he said.
Sriram was confident that Bangladesh have the ability to set things right in the Asia Cup despite their poor form in the T20Is.
"We have to give them the freedom to play. Ability-wise there's no doubt that Bangladesh has the ability to do it. But it is about going out there, and getting the confidence. Keep expressing themselves, keep doing the job," he said.