The gloomy weather yesterday in Cardiff, where it rained heavily until late afternoon, did no favours to Bangladesh ahead of today’s World Cup match against World Cup favourites and hosts England.
Skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Sabbir Rahman, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun and Mosaddek Hossain were all restricted to indoor practice while the rest of the team opted to take a break from practice because they could not train outdoors. For a team that places great importance on momentum, it was not the ideal preparation for perhaps the toughest examination of their campaign, especially as they are coming off a loss against New Zealand in their last match.
The defeat threw light on the less-than-ideal form of some important players, and skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza included himself and star opener Tamim Iqbal in that category. Mashrafe has conceded 81 runs from 11 wicketless overs in the two matches so far, while Tamim has scored just 40 runs from 67 balls after getting starts against both South Africa and New Zealand -- uncharacteristic for a player who has been known for cashing in on good starts for the past four years.
“We are in the middle of the tournament now, so it is not as if we can change a lot through practice,” Mashrafe told reporters yesterday. “But for some players, practice sessions are very important. If you talk about me, then obviously today practice was very important to top up certain things that are not happening for me on the field. Tamim is feeling the same. In that regard, I think we have been a little unlucky. For some of us the practice session was important, to get used to the wind, not being able to do which may not be a positive sign for us. But you can’t do anything about the weather; we have to try to keep our confidence levels high.”
Mushfiqur is one of those in form, but he has been a target of criticism for letting off Kane Williamson in the two-wicket loss against New Zealand, when he disturbed the bails with his elbow and negated a sure run-out at a crucial juncture.
“I think Mushfiqur is completely okay, and there is no reason not to be normal,” said Mashrafe when asked about Mushfiqur’s state after a social media barrage against the keeper. “And of course, there will be criticism surrounding those who are working. It is easy to do that. The team is supporting each other. It is normal, the people who are talking about it are the ones not able to take it normally.”