There was an alarming sight in store for those gathered around the team hotel in Southampton yesterday. Rubel Hossain, Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar had already made the short walk from the main entrance and disappeared behind the team bus. Then Mahmudullah Riyad appeared, supported by crutches beneath each shoulder, and gingerly hobbled to the bus, concentrating on each step.
On Monday, during the 62-run win over Afghanistan in their World Cup match at the Ageas Bowl, Mahmudullah had hobbled between the wickets without the help of crutches while scoring 27 during a vital 56-run fifth-wicket partnership with Mushfiqur Rahim. After the match, team manager Khaled Mahmud said that scans revealed that Bangladesh's first World Cup centurion had sustained a Grade 1 tear on his right calf muscle.
"Mahmudullah has sustained a low grade calf injury. We will monitor his progress over the next few days with regards to his availability for the next World Cup match," team physio Thihan Chandramohan said in a statement posted in the Bangladesh Cricket Board's official Whatsapp media group yesterday morning.
"It's a Grade 1 tear. But its curable. Our next match is on July 2 [against India]; we have seven days in hand and we will try to get him fit in that period," said Mahmud before boarding the team bus yesterday. "It's fifty-fifty at the moment; we cannot say today that he will be able to play the match but we are hopeful that he can play. Mahmudullah is a very important player in our team. I believe that Riyad will be fit."
"After the scan report revealed that it would take seven to 10 days to recover from the injury, Riyad said that he would play against India, whatever his state," skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza had said earlier. "Since the mental strength is there, he will be able to overcome any physical weakness."