‘Running against the wind’
With the tension between Shakib Al Hasan and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) coming to an end with the all-rounder handed the T20 captaincy on Saturday, the focus finally turns to preparations for the upcoming Asia Cup tournament, slated to begin from August 27 at the UAE. The newly appointed T20 skipper appeared at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium (SBNCS) in Mirpur yesterday, looking to retrieve some intensity.
Shakib had last played during Bangladesh's T20I series in the West Indies before he opted to rest during the ODIs and also skipped the entire tour of Zimbabwe. Coming back in, his main focus was on gaining back fitness as he spent a busy day in Mirpur.
He started the routine with a gym session for a couple of hours before undergoing running sessions with a trainer at the SBNCS turf. Having just returned to the country in the early hours of Saturday before he attended a meeting with the BCB president in the morning, Shakib might have been reeling from jet lag as he looked to regain fitness.
On a few occasions, Shakib had his hand on his knees, apparently catching his breath while undergoing running exercises at the empty stadium. How much toll being out of action can take on a professional athlete was apparent as Shakib struggled through the laps. While the heat and intense workout left an impression on Shakib, former national pacer Anwar Hossain Monir, who oversaw Shakib's training yesterday, felt the all-rounder was still up to the mark.
"I don't think he [Shakib] was struggling. It feels like he was only getting tired because he was running against the wind,'' Monir told members of the media on Sunday.
"Since he is not coming from any injury, there is no need to worry. He looks physically fine and ready to take the load of international cricket.''
Shakib does not have a rigid routine regarding his practice sessions but has a way of knowing how to prepare himself in the best way possible. Monir informed the star all-rounder might opt to have a few more sessions in the coming days.
"We are expected to have a similar workout in the next couple of days and if he feels he wants to do some batting or bowling at the nets from tomorrow [Monday], he can always do that,'' Monir added.
The all-rounder may be focusing on individual fitness for the time being but with the team for the Asia Cup already announced, Shakib will have to get the Tigers mentally prepared pretty quickly for the upcoming Asia Cup challenge, where they have been pitted against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan in Group B.
The BCB is also gearing up for the upcoming tournament and sources have confirmed the Tigers will have two practice matches on August 20 and 22, respectively. The team will then depart for the UAE on August 23 with their first game of the tournament slated for August 30 against Afghanistan in Sharjah.