Mashrafe wants more of the same
The cricketers resumed training yesterday for the first time in 2018 after a day's break for the New Year and the Tigers returned with renewed enthusiasm ahead of the tri-series against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka which begins on January 15.
However all eyes were on Sabbir Rahman as the 26-year-old faced heavy financial punishment that was proposed by the BCB's disciplinary committee on the first day of the year for assaulting a young fan during a National Cricket League game in Rajhshai on December 21.
The cricketer was rather quiet during training and perhaps it was because the punishment had an impact, and Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, who joined the ongoing training camp for the first time since returning from Thailand for his daughter's eye treatment, tried to cheer up Sabbir yesterday.
On the other hand Tamim Iqbal, who also incurred a Tk 5 lakh fine and was warned after criticising the Mirpur outfield during the fifth edition of the Bangladesh Premier League, was in good spirits.
The left-hander had a bit of a light-hearted wager in an informal game with young bowlers Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Mahedi Hasan, Saifuddin and Sunzamul Islam after the training session at the Academy ground in Mirpur, in which the cricketers set each other targets to chase.
According to Mashrafe, the cricketers were upset after the dismal tour of South Africa and said that if they are able to win the upcoming tri-nation series the whole scenario will change drastically.
The Tigers will be without a head coach in the upcoming home series, which includes the tri-series as well as Tests and T20Is against Sri Lanka, while assistant coach Richard Halsall and spin bowling consultant Sunil Joshi are expected to join the camp from today. Pace bowling coach Courtney Walsh is also expected to join the camp by January 5.
Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan on Monday informed that, in the absence of a head coach, the seniors will have to take the responsibility associated with the position. According to Mashrafe, however, that will not change the role the seniors already play.
"I don't think we have to do anything different," Mashrafe told reporters after the training session yesterday. "What he [Hassan] tried to say is that the seniors need to take more responsibility, which was always there. If we try to do anything different it might create new problems, so I think it is fine as it is. Maybe we did not have a good South Africa tour and there can be a lean patch, but it is important for us to play without keeping those things in our mind," he said.
The inspirational skipper also talked about the punishments handed out to Sabbir and Tamim, saying that it is the responsibility of the cricketers to maintain standards off the field as well.
"We have to accept what has happened and we have to make sure we don't make mistakes in the future and what happened with Sabbir... I hope it won't happen to anyone else, not even me. Our job is to perform well and as everyone follows us so we have to make sure we keep everything right off the field as well," Mashrafe said.
On the other hand, according to Khaled Mahmud, the new technical director for the upcoming home series, both Sabbir and Tamim deserve the punishment as no one is above the rules and regulations of the game.
"There are some rules in cricket and if someone breaks that he has to face the punishment and whether the punishment was too much or not, I can't comment on that but you will be punished if you made a mistake. And I think it should be taken sportingly. In Tamim's case, he should have been more responsible in making comments and I think the punishment was needed for him as well," Mahmud said.