Bangladesh underwent a productive practice session at Senwes Park Monday ahead of their first Test match against host South Africa.
All the 15 members of the squad participated in the practice session although opening pair Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar did not take part in every session due to injury concern.
Tamim later joined the net session and knocked the ball around but Soumya did not even bat.
Everybody knows Bangladesh batsmen will face a tough challenge in the South African conditions as traditionally and historically, the batters from the sub-continent often face difficulties on fast and bouncy decks against the Proteas.
As Bangladesh’s first choice openers Tamim and Soumya have slight injury concern, the focus turns to other opening options including Imrul Kayes and even Liton Lumar Das, who usually bats at the top of the order in the domestic leagues.
During the net session, Mahmudullah, Mominul Haque and Liton batted in the first slot.
Tamim did some knocking as head coach Chandika Hathurusingha threw balls to him.
In the second slot, Imrul, Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim and middle-order batsman Sabbir Rahman came to the nets and batted for around 20mins.
Later, the lower middle-order batsmen and bowlers batted in the nets.
The head coach was closely monitoring his charges as these players have to face the Proteas’ bowling attack and make a good start to the two-Test series.
When Imrul was batting at the corner pitch of the nets, there were some quick and short stuff from the net bowlers who came from the Sports Village, a sports academy, in Potchefstroom.
After playing a few half-hearted shots, Hathurusingha came close to Imrul and advised him, “Play the ball late Imrul, play the ball late.”
Perhaps such suggestion could be the most appropriate approach for the Tigers batsmen as they need to play the ball late throughout the series to get some big runs under their belt and also for the team.
Playing drives along with the line of the ball is relatively easier on the sub-continent wickets.
But in South Africa, playing cut shots and pull shots will be the key for batsmen and waiting until the last moment to play a shot will be equally important as well.
Imrul made his international debut when the Tigers last visited South Africa in 2008-09.
Among the players in the squad, apart from Imrul, only Tamim and Mushfiq previously played against the Proteas at their backyard.
Bangladesh started practice at 9:30 local time as fitness and conditioning coach Mario Villavarayan instructed the players to warm up with the exception of Tamim and Soumya.
Then players played football as part of their warm-up session.
Top-order batsman Mominul ran some extra mileage with Villavarayan while the others were playing football.
After that, the players underwent some short catching practice.
Then the squad was divided into three groups.
Four batsmen in the form of Mahmudullah, Tamim, Liton and Mominul went to the nets while fielding and assistant coach Richard Halsall gave slip catching.
Mushfiq was the wicket-keeper, Imrul was stationed at first slip, Sabbir at second and youngster Mehedi Hasan Miraz at third.
Four pacers in the shape of Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed Subashish Roy and Shafiul Islam were running with the fitness coach at one corner of the field and later, they did not bowl in the nets but did practise batting.
Among the bowlers only Rubel Hossain, spinner Taijul Islam and Miraz bowled in the nets.
Bangladesh will train Tuesday in the morning with the first Test against the Proteas beginning Thursday.
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