Twenty-seven-member elite squad of the Bangladesh Cricket Board began their four-week long conditioning camp at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Saturday for the forthcoming home series against Australia. National team trainer Mario Villavarayen conducted the camp without six cricketers — Test skipper Mushfiqur Rahim, Sakib al Hasan, Mashrafee bin Murtaza, Sabbir Rahman, Rony Talukdar and Abul Hasan who were absent on personal grounds.
The first two weeks of the camp will focus on the strength and conditioning for the home series against Australia, due in town on September 28 to play a two-match Test series against the Tigers, scheduled for October 9-13 in Chittagong and October 17-21 in Dhaka.
Villavarayen was optimistic that this camp will not only benefit the national team cricketers but also those who will not be included for the national set-up as it will help them to be tuned up before beginning their domestic season.
The camp also brought Tigers back to the cricket ground after they enjoyed a rest for a month-and-a-half since the completion of home series against South Africa.
Before the Proteas series they had a hectic schedule with World Cup and two other home series against Pakistan and India.
‘The whole purpose of this testing is to see where they are and what to achieve,’ Mario told reporters after the end of opening day’s camp.
‘You have got four weeks to work with them and these four weeks is after a while. These four weeks is important because you have got six months of cricket ahead.
‘Even if it is domestic cricket these four weeks is important for the next six months because there is a lot of domestic cricket coming up.
‘Some of them went because of family reasons because they will do it later. Maybe the HP guys will also be doing their fitness test next week,’ he said.
The elite squad members will also be considered for the Bangladesh A team’s tour to South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Bangladesh A team will leave home for South Africa on October 15 to play a three-day match and two one-dayers before moving on to Zimbabwe where they will play two four-day matches and three one-dayers and as many Twenty20 matches.
In the opening day, though everyone had completed their beep tests, national opener Tamim Iqbal skipped it in order to shield his injured left knee from further trouble.
When every players were taking their beep Test at the indoor, Tamim was seen running at the SBNS for five rounds.
‘He [Tamim Iqbal] has got knee problems, so he did not do his beep test. He did running test outside,’ said Mario.
Mario also said that there were fitness concerns regarding off-spinner Sohag Gazi, who looked to have a lifeline to revive his international career along with paceman Al-Amin Hossain, after selectors included them in the camp.
‘There is concern with his [Gazi] fitness. But he was away from cricket for a while. For the next four weeks we will try to get his fitness level up.
‘It’s always the case. Yes we do fitness test in group but when we do as a programme, it’s an individual thing. We will have their individual programme later.’
-With New Age input