There was not much reason for Bangladesh to be too downcast about the 95-run loss to India in the Tigers’ last warm-up game in Cardiff yesterday, before taking on South Africa in their World Cup opener next Sunday. Bangladesh are already primed for action, having won their maiden multi-team ODI trophy in Ireland as recently as May 17.
Spin bowling consultant Sunil Joshi hinted that the practice match was about seeing how the bowlers stacked up against India’s batsmen in different situations. There was evidence of that in Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s bowling changes, such as not introducing spin till the 25th over and making part-time leg-spinner Sabbir Rahman bowl three overs in the last 10 overs.
“Definitely, considering that this is a practice game, we need to know how our bowlers shape up against different batsmen in different contexts, in the Powerplays and at the end as well,” said Joshi during the post-match press conference. He however would not go so far as to say that Bangladesh were not playing for a win.
“It’s not that way, although it’s a friendly game. When you look at the start we got, they were 100 for four,” he said, before again hinting that the captain’s choices seemed to prioritise experimentation. “The opportunity was with us – if Shakib [Al Hasan] could have bowled a few more overs it would have been a tighter game, Rubel [Hossain] bowled well to Mahi [MS Dhoni] and KL Rahul. That was a period when they were looking to play slowly. It’s an opportunity for our bowlers to bowl at different stages, to see how they can shape up.”
He was asked whether it was tough for the players to prepare for a practice game after already having played at high intensity in Ireland less than two weeks ago, and Joshi seemed to believe that the lion’s share of preparation was done in Ireland.
“I think we had a good triangular series in Ireland. The conditions were ideal for us to prepare to come for the World Cup. Of course, the first [warm-up] game we didn’t get because it was rained off. And again, playing against India is always an opportunity for our players to see how they can bat against Indian bowlers and where our bowlers can bowl at different stages of the game. So it was an opportunity to explore ideas.”