The Bangladesh national team's fitness trainer Mario Villavarayan sounded out a positive note on the first day of the Tigers' preliminary camp yesterday, saying that he was delighted by the big strides made in the players taking personal responsibility about their fitness.
“I was telling the boys in the morning today, it has been four years since I came here in May 2014. Even when I was in Colombo I heard that Tamim [Iqbal] was training on his own and some other boys were training on their own and that gave me a lot of pleasure,” the Sri Lankan told reporters at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. “That's what I wanted when I came here -- for the boys to take the responsibility and start doing things on their own. That's why I say it's a huge improvement in their attitude.”
The first week of the preliminary camp will focus on strength and conditioning, which means that Villavarayan will be in charge of the camp for the time being.
“I want to find out where they are. Those guys whose fitness levels are low, I need to keep working with them. We will continue through the next month during the Twenty20s [against Afghanistan] and then before we go to West Indies.”
There was also good news in the state of the injured national cricketers Tamim (left knee), Taskin Ahmed (back pain), Mahmudullah Riyad (ankle), Mushfiqur Rahim (ankle) and Mehedi Hasan Miraz (shoulder).
“They are back in the running. Taskin, Mushy, Riyad and Tamim -- who started early -- are fine. They are getting back and they did what they had to do,” Villavarayan informed.
While happy with the players' initiative to start fitness work early, he wanted the principle of personal responsibility to extend to players while playing warm-up football matches away from the national team. Among the current injured lot, Mushfiqur and Nasir Hossain were laid low by games of football.
“Look, as long as I am there and they are playing with me they play within the guideline I set, which is not playing rough. While they play domestic cricket I don't know what happens.
“If you wake up and play soccer and injure yourself who's going to miss out playing in a World Cup?”