Shakib Al Hasan, clad in the Tigers’ new tracksuit, walked out of the team hotel yesterday morning and sat in the sun-drenched driveway. “So this was the cold everyone was talking about,” he said with a wry smile.
Some of the other members of the team followed the captain out to see the near-perfect weather conditions in the middle of the Zimbabwean winter.
It was a pleasant surprise to the team that had to go through a terribly long journey from Dhaka to Harare. And as it happens, it invoked memories of previous elongated routes and hazardous trips one had to take in their lifetime.
There have been shared stories of this route being longer than the famed Sydney-London flight and most put their hand up and did the ‘this was my longest journey’ declarations. But coach Stuart Law, a much-travelled man, said that even this 42-hour epic was not his worst.
“I have travelled from the West Indies to Miami and on to Zimbabwe last year with Sri Lanka. It took 58 hours,” he said. “It is part and parcel of international sport now.”
There’s hardly any doubt that days of long preparations on tour are well and truly over, it is a test for young players to recover quickly and move on to the job at hand.
For the Tigers, it is important that the captain leads by example even when waiting in airports.
“If I don’t show that I’m tired, then two other players will do the same and the rest will follow,” said Shakib.
“This is how important it is. But we all know each other well and everyone is used to these things by now. Some of them are tired and one is slightly sick but otherwise, it is fine,” he added.
It would also be the first opportunity for Law to gauge the mental resolve of the Tigers.
“It is another challenge. We have to be ready to face it. If you want to move up in the world and be a better cricket team, we have to put those negative thoughts out of your mind.
“One of my messages in the meetings was no excuses, you’ve got to find a way to get it done,” added Law.
Without being too stern, it is clear that this series has the added importance of being the first under Law’s reign and would be a temporary antidote for all the recent off-field shenanigans of Bangladesh cricket.
-With The Daily Star input