After observing the players’ condition yesterday, the first day of the conditioning camp in Mirpur, with Bangladesh’s one-off Test against Afghanistan and the following triangular T20I series featuring hosts Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe next month in mind, the Tigers’ strength and conditioning coach Mario Villavarayen said that although he is satisfied with the players’ current state, he is still not pleased as the players have a lot to improve on.
“We are doing the fitness test after eight months. Because we have been playing non-stop cricket since October. So again, for me and the players to find out where they are and how we need to push them in the next coming months. So in terms of where they are, satisfied, but not happy. And it’s understandable because we have not done fitness camp for eight months. So it’s natural, they are not at their best but not bad. So I am happy in that sense.
“That’s the reason we did the fitness test, to find out the condition [of the players] in terms of running fitness, where they are in terms of their strength and others to work on areas where we need to work on. There are some guys who need to work on their fitness and there are some who are doing well, but they need to improve too.” said Mario after yesterday’s session in Mirpur.
Apart from T20I and Test skipper Shakib Al Hasan, who is currently in the United States, all the other members were present in the conditioning camp yesterday. Meanwhile, ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, about whom it was learned that he wanted to practice on his own, was however seen training with others yesterday after being named in the 35-member list even though there are no ODIs in the upcoming series for the Tigers.
There have been instances of fielding lapses by Bangladesh players, even from the likes of Sabbir Rahman -- considered one of the best fielders in the Tigers’ squad -- in recent matches. However, Mario thought that fitness cannot be the sole reason behind such mishaps.
“I cannot say that’s the reason or this is the reason. It is not fair to say that someone dropped the catch because of fitness,” he said.
Mario also informed that Mahmudullah Riyad, who recently recovered from a calf injury and also started bowling his off-spin -- although with a modified round-arm action -- in the recently concluded three-ODI series against Sri Lanka, and all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin, who has been plagued by a back injury, have successfully completed what was asked of them in yesterday’s camp.