Tigers train in blue
With the day-night Pro20 International on Wednesday promising an electrifying start to the tour of South Africa, the 'new look' Bangladesh team got down to business Monday and completed a solid training session.
The Tigers left their traditional yellow and black to don the new blue training kit for the first time in yesterday's practice. All the 15 players had a bat during the two and a half hours spent in the morning at the outdoor practice facility of the Wanderers and fielding drills continued side by side inside the main oval. The practice pitches had grass and there was some prodigal seam movement available for the bowlers which made life difficult at times for the batters. However the top order to their credit stuck it out against some quality bowling from local first-class, club and youth level cricketers.
"It's a challenge but that's how practice wickets tend to be here. If you can practice on these tracks it becomes a lot easier when you go out to bat in the matches because pitches at the main venues are very good for batting," said the Tigers' South African fitness coach Grant Trafford Luden.
The T20 is a major attraction and Tigers' opening batsman Tamim Iqbal is eagerly waiting for his chance to make a mark on Wednesday.
"This is a tough tour and I know I have to work very hard to score runs against South Africa. But I am really looking forward to the T20 match. I love the format, I love the fast pace of it and it sends my pulse racing," said Tamim who felt his team is a more confident unit following the recent New Zealand series.
"It was a very close series and we could have won the first Test and missed out on beating New Zealand in the ODI series also after winning the first ODI. The performance gave the players a lot of self belief. If we play up to our hundred per cent a positive result is possible here also, not just in the T20 but also in the other matches."
Tamim believed the altitude factor and wickets with more bounce would not affect the Bangladesh camp.
"We have travelled around the world and played in different conditions and wickets so it should not be a problem. We just need to adjust quickly," said Tamim.
The day's activities ended with gym and swimming at the hotel in the afternoon.
Tomorrow the Bangladesh team will get an opportunity to train under the lights at the Wanderers after rescheduling the practice timing.
Meanwhile, South Africa have announced their squad for the T20 match. Captain Graeme Smith will miss the game to concentrate on his rehabilitation programme for an elbow injury. He is expected to return at some stage of the Bangladesh tour. Johan Botha will continue as captain after leading the Proteas to a 2-0 series victory in the weekend's ODI series against Kenya.
In a largely inexperienced line-up which has only Herschelle Gibbs, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn among senior players, Rory Kleinveldt and Johann Louw will make their T20 International debuts. It will be the first international appearance of the season for fast bowler Steyn who has recovered from an injury.