It is often said that the health of a team can best be gauged from their energy on the field and if that is true, the Bangladesh team looked in rude health during practice at the Swalec Stadium in Cardiff yesterday.
The collective spirit was high as the Tigers began their morning training session by splitting into two groups for fielding practice. The big guns -- Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah Riyad and Mushfiqur Rahim -- were part of one group along with Mohammad Mithun. The lead-up to their World Cup campaign -- the maiden multi-team trophy win in Ireland, then the optional training camp in Leicester -- has been marked by high spirits and energetic fielding sessions.
It appeared to peak yesterday, with cries of ‘mine!’ ringing out for ground balls and catches alike as everyone seemed to want a piece of the action. Shakib was a livewire, scampering across and crying out for the ball more than most, Mushfiqur was as lively and fortunately for Bangladesh, Mahmudullah seemed to be throwing better -- indicating that the shoulder problem that has been preventing him from bowling his off-spin may soon pass.
At one stage fielding coach Ryan Cook shouted out as Tamim settled beneath a high catch: ‘too easy for houses’, alluding to the notion that Tamim is as safe as houses when it comes to catches. Near the end of the session Tamim, who usually mans the long on or long off boundary after the Powerplay overs, asked for some catches near the boundary and he did what he has done on a few occasions in the past, much to Cook’s delight -- take the catch, toss the ball up before stepping over the ropes, come back in and complete the dismissal.
With their World Cup opener against South Africa just five days away, it seemed yesterday that the Tigers were in fine fettle both in mind and body.