After two days of uninterrupted and fruitful practice sessions in Cardiff, the 15-member Bangladesh squad may feel aggrieved that the first of their two World Cup warm-up games was washed out without a ball being bowled at the Swalec Stadium yesterday. The practice game against Pakistan was an ideal opportunity for the Tigers to adjust to the climate and conditions in a competitive match situation.
However, head coach Steve Rhodes did not appear too bothered by a whole day's worth of preparation, not to mention match practice, go to waste ahead of their first World Cup match against South Africa at The Oval in London on June 2. The Tigers will have a second chance to warm-up for the mega event in Tuesday's practice game against India, also in Cardiff.
"It would be good to get some match cricket before we play South Africa in that first game. The good thing for us is that we are in a good position confidence-wise; we've played quite a bit of cricket recently, so we're ready at match intensity," said Rhodes soon after the match was called off due to a persistent drizzle at 2:00pm local time. "If the game against India is washed out, I wouldn't panic."
A big part of the reason that the team is confident is that just before arriving in the United Kingdom, the Tigers won their maiden multi-team ODI trophy in Ireland. However, with even fringe players performing well in that series, there is the question of settling upon a playing eleven.
"It's not a problem because we know roughly what we want to do. We know roughly what 11 we may well be taking into the game against South Africa, but I won't be telling you," Rhodes said.
The other point of interest surrounding the warm-ups is how well Shakib Al Hasan -- who suffered back spasms in Ireland -- and Mahmudullah Riyad, who has a preexisting shoulder injury that has prevented him from bowling his part-time but useful off-spin, have recovered.
"Not playing in the IPL gave him [Shakib] an opportunity to be fit. He had a little problem over in Ireland, but he seems to have gotten over that and is raring to go. He is looking forward to a wonderful tournament. I think he has got a bit of a point to prove. I think he thinks that as well – seems to be a little bit forgotten, missing out on some IPL games. Now he is back as world number one all-rounder in ODIs, that's where we think he belongs. He has got a point to prove to make sure everybody else believes that.
"Mahmudullah and his shoulder, well that's a little slow. We were hoping that maybe he would have bowled in this game; I don't think that would have been possible," Rhodes said about Mahmudullah. "But we're very optimistic that we can get him up and running for the early stages of the World Cup. The good thing about Mahmudullah is that he is not a guy who needs a lot of practice to be any good at it. He seems to just roll his arm over and he lands it well."