Tigers eager to make eleven
There is little chance to see Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful playing in the opening match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) that kicks off today at Newlands in Cape Town.
The Tigers skipper may be seen in the 'dugout' (players' waiting area) just beyond the rope while his Mumbai Indians teammates take on last year's runners-up Chennai Super Kings.
Bangalore Royal Challengers face off with champions Rajasthan Royals in the other opening day fixture.
The ace right-hander played three practice matches and his coach Shaun Pollock, the former South African skipper, was impressed by his performance.
" I still don't know whether I will play tomorrow's opening match but apparently there is some chance (for me to play). I have to fight with South Africa's middle order batsman JP (Jean-Paul) Duminy," said Ashraful over telephone yesterday.
"But I am hopeful to play the next games as my coach (Shaun Pollock) was impressed by my performance in the practice matches where I made three runs in the first game but scored 29 off 15 balls and an unbeaten 37-ball 44 in the remaining two games," he added.
Ashraful was surprised by the enthusiastic public response for IPL in South Africa, where the second version of the tournament was shifted last month due to security concerns and logistical issues surrounding the general elections currently being held in India.
"The atmosphere is really fantastic. We took part in a huge rally yesterday and as far as I know, all the tickets were sold out for the opening games.
"On the other hand I am enjoying every moment with my teammates from different countries," said an excited Ashraful.
His national team deputy Mashrafe Bin Mortaza has good chance to play the opening match for his side when Kolkata Knight Riders take on Deccan Chargers tomorrow at Capse Town.
"I'm looking forward to play the first match. I played three practice matches and everything is fine here. Hopefully it will be a good tournament for me and I will be able to lift my country's image," said Mashrafe, who was roped in by superstar Shahrukh Khan's side after a dramatic bid where he was bought for 600,000 dollars.
The Bangladesh vice-captain has yet to put pen to paper but said that he was little bothered with the signing.
"I think it would not be a problem and things (like this) happen sometimes," said Mashrafe.