Tigers in fine-tune mode
Taskin Ahmed was bowling at full tilt against his teammates into the net placed around the centre wicket of the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday during practice with bowling coach Courtney Walsh watching him closely. Pacers Al-Amin Hossain, Shafiul Islam and other bowlers were also bowling in the nets. The legendary Walsh seemed from time to time to be giving tips to Taskin, who is waiting for his action to be cleared by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in order to be available for selection for the upcoming series against Afghanistan and England.
The result of the bowling action review test, which took place in Brisbane on September 8, is expected by September 22. Left-handed opener Tamim Iqbal -- given the go-ahead on Sunday to bat after recovering from a finger fracture -- batted in his usual manner, indicating that he would be available for selection for the three-match ODI series against Afghanistan starting from September 25.
Left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain got enough opportunities to bowl. Leg-spinner Noor Hossain Munna, brought into the camp to give the batsmen some batting practice against leg-spin as Afghanistan has two leg-spinners and England also has one.
Against the backdrop of the vibrant practice session, the three selectors -- Minhajul Abedin, Habibul Bashar and Sajjad Ahmed -- were busy discussing the selection of the final 14-member team. They first talked to captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza before vice-captain Shakib Al Hasan and head coach Chandika Hathurusingha joined the conversation, and finally they talked with the head coach exclusively.
All were in a jovial mood. The reason might be that there were not many issues to think about the team selection; possible contentious issues were backup options if Taskin is not cleared and picking a spinner among Mosharraf, Taijul Islam and Mehedi Hasan Miraz. The Tigers's performance over the last two years in their favoured ODI format has lent the team some solidity, so no major changes are expected when the selectors pick the final squad from the 20-member practice squad. Some interest surrounds whether the think-tank will spring a surprise by bringing in Mosaddek Hossain, the most promising contender for the national side.
The selectors will however take time to name the squad, which is expected to be when the team is scheduled to check in to the team hotel on September 23.
Before that, although it may not have much impact, the selectors will keep an eye on the practice match on September 21. It will be contested between the players already in the camp and five or six more players who will join the camp tomorrow to play the match along with leg-spinner Munna.