For most of the Bangladesh team, the World Cup warm-up game against Pakistan being washed out in Cardiff yesterday was not a big setback, but for two cricketers it was an opportunity missed to stake a claim for a spot in the playing eleven when the Tigers square off against South Africa in their World Cup opener on June 2.
It was a twist of fate that the team management decided to send those two players to the mixed media zone to have a few words with reporters soon after the match was abandoned. Mosaddek Hossain grabbed his place in the spotlight by hitting an unbeaten 24-ball 52 in the tri-series final against West Indies in Dublin on May 17, the day the Tigers won their maiden ODI multi-team trophy. In that rain-curtailed final, he performed the role that is expected of Sabbir Rahman, who after scoring his maiden international century in the third ODI in New Zealand did not get enough opportunities to prove his worth in Ireland.
“Today’s match was important for me,” Sabbir, who played a grand total of 10 balls over four matches in Ireland, said. “Now the next match [the second warm-up against India on Tuesday] is important. It is disappointing that the match did not take place, but the team is in good shape, as am I. I am practising on wickets that are similar to the ones that the matches will be played on.”
He could, however, not be drawn into commenting on the possible competition with Mosaddek. “I have always played in hard situations, taking up the challenge. This time too it won’t be easy, but I will try to do what I must do and give my best. I always feel that it is my last match, and I try to give my all from that mindset.”
Mosaddek, who was one of the surprise inclusions in the World Cup squad, said that it was not about competing with Sabbir.
“I am not thinking about it that way,” he said. “I will try my best, but I don’t want to come into the team because someone else did poorly. The Bangladesh team comes first. If I get my chance I will try to do well.
“We are coming off a good series in Ireland, so one match not taking place because of rain is not too disappointing. Today I didn’t get the chance, but there is a match against India and in that game we will prepare well and head to the World Cup.”
As things stand with Mahmudullah Riyad’s shoulder injury, Mosaddek has as good a chance as Sabbir of making the cut in order to bowl a few useful overs of off-spin. “These conditions are difficult for spinners because there is not much turn on offer. But I will try to minimise runs and keep the batsmen in check.