Bangladesh's left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman is eager to represent the Tigers in all three formats of international cricket. The pacer is now busy training ahead of the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka, which is scheduled to start from October 24.
In the last five years since Mustafiz made his international debut, Bangladesh played 29 Tests. Of them, Mustafizur was a part of the Bangladesh team on 13 occasions - less than half. The team's think-tank has always viewed him as a weapon in limited-over cricket, where his appearances have been far more frequent.
Earlier this year, Bangladesh’s head coach Russell Domingo also said that he has no plans to play Mustafiz in the longer format of the game regularly, even as he rather insisted that Mustafiz will be his number one option in the pace-bowling department for the limited-over games.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) selection committee, however, opted to include Mustafizur in the squad for the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka, which may manifest a changed mindset about the left-arm pacer.
“I want to represent Bangladesh in every format of cricket. Currently, I have been working on the things that will help me become a bowler who can perform well in every format,” Mustafizur told the media on Monday after the second day of national team skill training camp.
“I am trying to absorb the art of swinging the ball. Our pace-bowling coach (Ottis Gibson) taught me how I can swing the ball better. He showed me some grips which are very helpful. I have been trying to learn it. I know it will take time. I believe I can do it if I work hard consistently,” Mustafizur added.
Mustafizur grabbed the limelight in his debut series against India in 2015 when he scalped two five-fors in his first two games for the Tigers. He played the pivotal role to win the maiden ODI series over India. Since then, Mustafizur has established himself as an integral part of Bangladesh limited-over team. But he failed to replicate the same performance in the longer format of the game despite taking four wickets in his debut against South Africa in 2015.
The long hiatus forced by the Covid-19 has interrupted Mustafizur’s work towards becoming an all-format bowler. However, he said the Covid-19 hiatus is on the past now and he is working hard to become a better bowler.
“There is a big difference between training at home and training outdoor with the team. All of us have worked more or less during the Covid-19 lockdown. But now, we are more focused as a team, and it always helps to train better when we are a team,” Mustafizur further told the media.
“It was tough to start the practice with the team. At first, I bowled with a shorter run-up. But now I have increased my run-up, and I’m doing well. Everything is going well,” Mustafizur also said to the media.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s Sri Lanka tour is still under a cloud as the health department of Sri Lanka is yet to accept BCB’s proposal of a seven-day quarantine period instead of 14 days, which is mandatory for all who enter the island nation during the pandemic. During the last media interaction about the matter, BCB said they are still hopeful of a positive response from Sri Lanka.
Bangladesh national cricket team started a week-long residential camp on Sunday at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium ahead of the Sri Lanka tour for a three-match Test series which is a part of the ongoing World Test Championship.
The Tigers played their last international game back in March this year. Now, after a long hiatus of 193 days forced by Covid-19, Tigers hit the field again as a team.
Bangladesh team is due to fly for Sri Lanka on September 27. Before that, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is hosting a week-long residential camp at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
The tour, however, still has a cloud over it as the BCB and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) are yet to finalize a quarantine plan for touring Bangladesh team. As per the Sri Lankan regulation, a 14-day quarantine is a must for everyone who enters Sri Lanka aiming to stop the spread of the Covid-19 in the island nation.
BCB has urged SLC to trim the quarantine period to seven days. But the health department of Sri Lanka refused to allow this. However, SLC is still negotiating with its health department to trim the quarantine period. BCB said they are hopeful of a positive response from SLC within the next few days.
“We’re yet to get a response from SLC. But as we understand, this matter is beyond SLC’s control. A special task force oversees the Covid-19 situation in Sri Lanka. If they allow us to tour the country with a shorter quarantine period, they’ll inform SLC and then they’ll tell us about it. We hope to get a positive response from them as soon as possible,” Jalal Younus, the chairman of BCB media and communication committee told the media last week.
BCB has announced a 27-member squad for skill training. Of them, 16 players joined the camp on Sunday. 10 of the remaining players are in isolation with Covid-19 suspicion. They will undergo a Covid-19 test on September 22 with all members of the team.
“It’s good they came to the field as a team after a long time. The time during the lockdown was tough because we were away from game and practice. But we have worked a lot to keep ourselves fit. Now we have started skill training as well which feels good,” Mahmudullah Riyad told the media.
During the lockdown, Mahmudullah shared many video footage on his social media handles where he was seen to work hard to keep his fitness at great shape. He said: “One of the things that I worked more on during the lockdown is my fitness. I tried to take my fitness to the next level. I have followed a guideline which was provided by our physio and trainer. But now, I am working on my skill. I believe that performance is based on both fitness and skill.”
This series was originally scheduled for July-August, but due to the deadly outbreak of Covid-19, the series was rescheduled in October-November. However, the official dates and venues of the matches are yet to be revealed.
Bangladesh played three matches of the World Test Championship and lost all of them. So the Sri Lanka tour, if it happens as planned, will be a big chance for the Tigers to bounce back in the event.
Ahead of the tour of Sri Lanka for three Tests, 16 cricketers started practice at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Sunday instead of 27 as 10 cricketers are put in isolation with the suspicion of Covid-19.
A total of 27 cricketers were supposed to join the camp, but 16 cricketers were present on day one. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) says 10 cricketers are in isolation with the suspicion of Covid-19.
BCB has earlier manifested that the cricketers would undergo a total of four different Covid-19 tests before flying for the island nation. In the first test, Saif Hassan, the left-handed opener was the only cricketer who was found positive for Covid-19. He took another test last week and returned positive again.
Cricketers gave the sample for the second test on Friday and Saturday and all have been tested negative. But some of the players, BCB haven’t revealed their names, are showing symptoms despite being negative in the Covid-19 test.
As per the advice of the medical department, BCB decided to keep the cricketers, who came to the contact with who are showing symptoms, in isolation, and they will undergo another test on September 22.
"Out of the 27 cricketers for the Bangladesh team tested on 18 and 19 September 2020, two cases have been identified as ‘borderline negative’ with one of them showing classical Covid-19-like symptoms. As per the Covid-19 management guideline and to maintain Bio-Secure Environment standards, the symptomatic individual along with all the players who have been in close contact with him recently, have been isolated until the next test on 22 September," a BCB statement about the issue reads.
The cricketers who are in isolation tell September 22 are: Mohammad Mithun, Hasan Mahmud, Naeem Hasan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Khaled Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain, Abu Jayed, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Shafiul Islam and Mohammad Saifuddin.
Meanwhile, BCB is still waiting for a positive response from the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) who are negotiating with the health department of the island nation so that they allow a shorter quarantine period for the Bangladesh cricket team.
As per the Sri Lankan government's regulation, everyone who enters the island nation is required to undergo a 14-day strict quarantine. But BCB has urged SLC to trim this period to seven days. But the Sri Lanka health department refused the idea which has fallen in jeopardy.
The SriLanka series was originally scheduled for July-August, but due to the Covid-19 situation, the series was rescheduled in October-November. Bangladesh have played three World Test Championship matches till the date and lost all of them.
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is testing all the members of the national team several times for Covid-19 ahead of the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka. In the second round of tests, all 18 cricketers who gave their samples returned negative, BCB confirmed on Saturday.
Other nine members of the national team gave their sample on Saturday, and they are expecting their result on Sunday.
“18 members who gave their sample on Friday are negative. Other nine members of the national team, who were out of Dhaka, gave their on Saturday and will get their result on Sunday. Of them, whoever returns negative will join the team to check-in at the hotel for the residential camp,” Debashis Chowdhury, the chief physician of BCB, told UNB.
Meanwhile, BCB announces a 27-member squad for skill training on Saturday. They will join a week-long camp starting from Sunday. This squad will be trimmed later before flying for the island nation.
The series, however, is still uncertain as the health department of Sri Lanka is yet to say yes due to the Covid-19 restriction. But BCB is hopeful of a positive response from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) within the next few days.
Ahead of the proposed Sri Lanka tour for three Tests, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Saturday evening announced a 27-member squad for a skill training camp starting on Sunday.
The training camp will kickoff on Sunday and continue to September 27 at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. During the period, this squad will stay in the hotel which will be bio-secured.
As per the current schedule, the Bangladesh team will fly for Sri Lanka on September 27. However, this series is still in jeopardy due to the Covid-19 restrictions proposed by the Sri Lanka government.
Everyone who enters Sri Lanka is required to undergo a 14-day strict quarantine. Sri Lanka health department took this measure aiming to stop the potential spread of the deadly coronavirus. BCB, however, urged for a shorter quarantine period, but the Sri Lanka health department has refused it.
Nizamuddin Chowdury, the CEO of BCB, on Saturday, said Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had a positive discussion with the health department, and they are hopeful about the tour in time.
“We have told them what we need on the tour. After that, we have no discussion with them till the date. But we are hoping that the tour will go in time, and we will get their official confirmation within a few days,” Nizamuddin told the media.
“We can’t say what they actually discussed about because we didn’t get their official confirmation. But SLC told us that they had a fruitful and positive discussion with the health department. Before coming to know the official outcome, we are unable to disclose more,” he added.
Bangladesh asked SLC to arrange the initial camp in Dambulla. But SLC is yet to finalize this. BCB CEO hopes it’ll be not a problem once the health protocol is confirmed.
“We have discussed Dambulla. From a few options, we have preferred to stage our initial camp in this city. But it is yet to be confirmed. I hope once the health protocol is confirmed, it’ll not be a problem,” Nizamuddin further told the media.
Meanwhile, Craig McMillan, who was appointed as Bangladesh’s batting coach for the Sri Lanka tour, will not join the team following the demise of his father. Daniel Vettori, the spin bowling coach, is also doubtful for this series, while the other members of the coaching staff are all set to join the camp.
Squad for skill training: Mominul Haque, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Shadman Islam, Litton Das, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Md Mithun, Soumya Sarkar, Taijul Islam, Al Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Imrul Kayes, Taskin Ahmed, Nurul Hossain Sohan, Shafiul Islam, Yasir Ali, Nayeem Hasan, Abu Jayed Rahi, Ebadot Hossain, Khaled Ahmed, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Musaddek Hossain Saikat, Hasan Mahmud, Mohammad Saifuddin and Saif Hassan
Also read: BCB awaits Sri Lanka’s response