Tigers struggle to lift gloom
It was an optional practice session for the Tigers at the Academy ground of the M Chinnaswamy Stadium yesterday. But almost all the players turned up and trained in the nets for two and a half hours. The likes of Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman and Mushfiqur Rahim sweated it out under the scorching sun in a way that made it seem like a mandatory session. And the batting approach of all the players was more like hitting the ball as hard as possible instead of all that plodding and nudging. Then each of the players had a session on the drawing board, perhaps working out those finer details. But the training session was so quiet that, apart from those sweet sounds of bat hitting ball, it gave off the impression they were attending a funeral. No one was in a mood to talk, understandably after that sudden suspension of their two peers -- Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny. Sunny did take part in the practice, but there was no sign of Taskin, who has been is a state of shock since Saturday afternoon.
For Taskin what is the point to come up and train when his legal deliveries are deemed illegal? The team management has also decided to rest two fast bowlers from the training -- Al-Amin Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman. The members of the team however greeted Saqlain Sajib and Shuvagata Hom when they joined them in training at around 11.30 am. They actually came to the ground straight from the airport to have a feel of the atmosphere after spending a sleepless night.
It was learnt from the few journalists travelling with them in the same early morning flight from Kolkata to Bangalore that Saqlain, who started from Rajshahi the previous day, almost missed the Air India flight from Dhaka to Kolkata. He reached the airport at around 11 pm on Saturday night but was lucky that the flight was delayed. Skipper Mashrafe appeared at the ground a bit late and did not take part in the training. He was actually having a lot of discussion with his coach Chandika Hathurusingha and was attending a lot of phone calls, perhaps from Bangladesh Cricket Board officials. It was not sure whether he was gathering all the storms for a landfall at the press briefing, but it seemed he held his composure when it was needed most. Millions of cricket fans back home expect their captain to keep his foot firmly on the ground when he leads his side against Australia today. Win or lose, the composure and fighting spirit of the Bangladesh captain is what is needed in desperate times.