Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan batted at the nets for nearly an hour as the temperature soared to 35 degrees on Sunday afternoon.
Shakib, who missed out on the last group league fixture against India, batted twice - initially facing local fast bowlers, followed by another season with the throwdown specialist and spinners - indicating that he was slowly getting back into the groove ahead of the team’s must-win outing against South Africa on Tuesday.
Throughout the session, Shakib looked at ease and even stepped out a couple of times for a few big hits. With Bangladesh placed sixth in the points table and five matches remaining, the fans would expect the captain to return to action and in the absence of an impact spinner, Shakib would come in handy.
However, keeping the conditions in mind, the team management does not want to rush things. Ever since reaching Mumbai a couple of days ago, players have struggled to get accustomed to the heat and humidity and the team’s head coach Chandika Hathurusingha missed out on Sunday’s training session as he wasn’t ‘feeling well’. Several other members of the squad, too, were seen taking frequent ‘drinks breaks’ during the training session.
Coming into the tournament with high hopes, Bangladesh has so far struggled - bagging a solitary win - and it needs to return to winning ways if it hopes to stay afloat in the race to the semifinals. However, there are fitness concerns. Fast bowler Taskin Ahmed, struggling with a shoulder injury, did not train on Sunday and was closely monitored by the team physio and the medical team - raising questions on his availability for the must-win game.
The Bangladesh team hasn’t played at the Wankhede Stadium since 1998 and before taking on a high-flying South Africa - that defeated England by a huge margin on Saturday - it hopes for Shakib to return and bring its campaign back on track.
Adequate security at the venue
With the South Africa vs Bangladesh fixture coinciding with two mega Dussehra rallies - led by Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena (UBT) and Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena - at Shivaji Park and Azad Maidan and Cross Maidan, respectively, security measures have been enhanced at the Wankhede Stadium.
According to a senior police officer, adequate security arrangements are in place at the team hotels as well. “In addition to local police and special teams, we are also getting forces from neighbouring units to bolster security,” the officer said, adding that Quick Response (QR) Teams and various units of the local police have been strategically stationed at key locations.
Several checkpoints have been set up across the city and around the stadium, to ensure multiple layers of security. Even the MCA officials told this publication that the police have assured them of adequate security.
(With inputs from Abhinay Deshpande)
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