Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013

Stars expected to make Zimbabwe tour

Ace Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan (R) padded up for the first time yesterday after his medical leave for five weeks. Shakib underwent a calf operation in Sydney on February 26 and although started his rehabilitation recently, he started batting only yesterday under coach Richard McInnes's supervision at the indoor facilities of the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. Photo: Star

Ace Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan (R) padded up for the first time yesterday after his medical leave for five weeks. Shakib underwent a calf operation in Sydney on February 26 and although started his rehabilitation recently, he started batting only yesterday under coach Richard McInnes’s supervision at the indoor facilities of the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. Photo: Star

A nearly full-strength Bangladesh side is expected to tour Zimbabwe this month as a number of players who missed out on the series against
Sri Lanka due to fitness issues—including all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan— have received positive signals from the team’s physio and will be in contention for selection.
Bangladesh Cricket Board’s chief selector Akram Khan, following a meeting with the team’s physio Vibhav Singh, told reporters that the majority of the players were good to go. “Shakib is fit to play and Tamim is improving steadily. He may miss out on the first Test but will be able to play the second,” said Akram.
“Shahriar Nafees, Enamul Haque Jr and Naeem Islam, who were previously injured have recovered and will be in contention for the Test side. Shafiul Islam on the other hand will make it for the one day internationals,” he added.
On the other hand, Nazmul Hossain, who injured his knee while training in Sri Lanka and Abul Hasan Raju, who suffered from a side strain in the last tour, have been ruled out of the upcoming tour.
With regard to pace-spearhead Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s possible return to the Test squad, Akram stated that the team management would wait on him. “Vibhav just came a few days ago and as per his advice we will give Mashrafe three days time. He’ll be working with him,” said Akram.
Mashrafe, who suffered from a heel injury during the Bangladesh Premier League, is currently going through rehab. He is still working on his fitness and is yet to begin bowling at training.
With Abul injured and Mashrafe still unsure of making a return to Test cricket, Bangladesh are in danger of fielding a weaker pace attack in Tests then the one that played against Sri Lanka, a fact that Akram acknowledged.
“Pace bowling has definitely been a weakness for us. If we don’t get the full strength pace attack then it will be a problem in Zimbabwe. However, I also think that bowlers who are getting opportunities should take the chance,” said Akram.
On the other hand, Bangladesh face a different problem with the batting department. Good performances from the top order in Sri Lanka will mean that the like Nafees and Naeem will have to fight to get back into the team. Players like Mominul Haque and Mohammad Ashraful, who were brought in as replacements, are likely to retain their places.
“I think the biggest positive for us is that the team is playing well together. Many of them have taken the opportunity and are in form right now. We need to improve our bowling, but at the moment I think we can compete against any team in the world,” said Akram.
“Going by the weather and the wicket in Zimbabwe, it’s going to be a difficult tour, but I believe that they will play well there,” he added.