If anything negative [about the Ireland series ahead of the World Cup] then it is the reality of playing 13 to 14 matches in one and a half months. I think the key will be to rest people because we know in the World Cup we cannot afford the luxury of rest. We will get the opportunity to play five matches there [Ireland], so if we can make changes after one or two matches to keep everyone fresh, that will be very important.
The reporters who regularly visit the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur are often faced with one question from opener Tamim Iqbal recently -- whether he looks like he lost some weight. It only reflects how resolute the left-hander is about his physical fitness ahead of the big challenges in the tri-nation series in Ireland and the ensuing ICC World Cup 2019 in England and Wales.
That is why missing out on match practice during the just-concluded Dhaka Premier League was not a big issue for the seasoned campaigner, though there is a saying that there is no better preparation than playing games.
“I am quite satisfied. My main focus was on physical fitness, rather than batting. I decided not to play the league as I had a different plan and I think I achieved that goal,” said Tamim yesterday.
While talking to reporters, the Bangladesh opener responded to many issues, like difficult weather conditions in the United Kingdom, the challenges in the Ireland series, issues regarding the long-unsettled opening partnership and challenges of chasing 300-plus runs in the World Cup.
Tamim, however, placed more emphasis on individual preparation, fine tuning and fitness, especially as they are going on a lengthy trek. He was also not ready to set any individual targets for the World Cup.
“No target. I think that whenever I set any targets I don’t achieve them. I know I don’t have any century in the World Cup but I am not thinking about any target. I don’t want to take any unnecessary pressure; I have other things to worry about, which is to do the role the team bestows on me. If I can go by the team’s role, then the opportunity will come to play big knocks,” said Tamim, adding that he was not interested in thinking about what he did earlier in England; instead, he has to work hard to achieve anything of note in the World Cup.
“I always tell you that it is the preparation that I can fully control and I can do whatever I want to do with my preparation. But I cannot always control what will happen on the field,” he added.
Tamim, however, saw the challenges of practice under scorching heat at home as a blessing.
“Most probably, the weather will be altogether different in England. I think we have been doing the hard work here because it is challenging to run, bat, field and do gym work in this kind of weather and I believe it will help us in terms of physical fitness.”
Tamim was also looking forward to a good rotation policy during the Ireland series to make sure a fresh team goes to the World Cup.