Former Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, wearing a wig to hide the shaven head, enjoys a chat with teammate Nasir Hossain during national team's practice session at the SBNCS yesterday. (R) New-look Mashrafe.Photo: STAR
The Tigers returned to business yesterday at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur to prepare for the tri-nation T20 tournament in Zimbabwe in June.
Captain Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Ashraful and Alok Kapali did not join the conditioning camp for the 27 selected cricketers. Shakib and Tamim have IPL commitments, Ashraful was in London while Mushfiqur and Kapali are on leave due to family commitments.
There was a common sentiment among the players that the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have taken a good initiative by arranging some T20 matches before the ICC Twenty20 World Cup to be held in September in Sri Lanka.
“Everyone is fresh after a good break. I think everybody enjoyed the break after a grueling season. This camp will help us get back to full fitness. I must thank the board for arranging some T20 matches before the World Cup, otherwise we would have faced a lot of problems,” said Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, who was donning a new look with a shaven head.
“You know, even our two key players Shakib and Tamim have not gotten enough opportunities to play in the IPL, especially Tamim who will unfortunately return without playing a single match. Therefore, the T20 matches in Zimbabwe and Trinidad and Tobago will help us a lot before the World Cup,” he added.
Experienced campaigner Abdur Razzak echoed the sentiments of the “Narail Express” and said that they joined the camp with the same spirit that they had during their impressive Asia Cup campaign at home.
“The break was really great because you know we had a very busy schedule in the last eight-nine months. Everyone is fresh. Our good performance in the Asia Cup is still fresh in our minds. This camp will help us regain fitness before the Zimbabwe trip,” said the left-arm spinner.
Opener Imrul Kayes however believed that their fitness level is not too bad as they were playing regularly not too long ago.
“Everyone joined the camp in good spirits because we performed very well in our last international tournament (Asia Cup) where we played the final. I don't think the fitness is a big issue because we have played lot of cricket in the last few months. This camp however helps everybody to regain full fitness,” said Kayes while appreciating the board's initiative in arranging some international matches during the off-season.
Pacer Shafiul Islam, who had suffered a shoulder injury during the Asia Cup, also joined the camp but informed that he will need fifteen to twenty more days to get back his full fitness.