With or without Shakib?
Even though Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan's availability for the India game today remained in the dark even a day before the crucial World Cup encounter, it was the champion all-rounder who got most of the media's attention yesterday in Pune.
The biggest question in the past few days was whether Shakib, who suffered a thigh injury during the Tigers' previous game against New Zealand last Friday, would be fit enough to play against the hosts today.
Interestingly, the Bangladesh team management has managed to keep Shakib's injury update nothing short of suspense even till yesterday, a continuation of what they did in the past week.
Shakib went for a scan straight from the ground after the game against New Zealand as the team management revealed that his condition would be assessed on a day-to-day basis.
Shakib underwent yet another MRI scan yesterday after he batted over 45 minutes in the nets on Tuesday. However, according to Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, they will have to wait till the morning of the match day to get the scan report before making a final call regarding Shakib's inclusion in the game today.
"He had a good batting session yesterday [Tuesday]. He did a bit of running between the wickets as well. We are waiting for the result of the scan we did today [Wednesday]. We haven't had him bowl yet [in the nets since his injury]. We will assess him tomorrow [Thursday] morning and make a decision," said Hathurusingha.
While it is still not sure whether the Bangladesh team management is deliberately reluctant to reveal Shakib's injury status as part of a strategy to keep the opponent guessing, Hathurusingha did say that they won't take any risk if the all-rounder is eventually not fully fit for the game.
"If he [Shakib Al Hasan] is not ready to play, we won't risk it. If he is ready then there's a chance of him playing," Hathurusingha added.
Despite all the confusion and dubiousness surrounding Shakib's injury, Hathurusingha mentioned that it would come to the medical team giving him the fitness clearance and then Shakib making the final call on whether he wants to take the field or not.
"First, it is the medical staff who will have to give us their opinion. They will give a green or red light, providing us with an indication of the player's condition. If they think it is not risky, the player is given the choice of playing the game or not. It comes down to the captain and coach whether they want a specific player in the side or not," Hathurusingha added.