Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal is set to be fully fit prior to the start of the World Cup, which gets underway on February 14.
Iqbal recently faced Bangladesh’s pace attack in the nets after having nothing but throwdowns and playing against the bowling machine for the past couple of weeks since he had his knee surgically repaired on December 29.
However, before Iqbal starts training with the rest of the team in Brisbane, he will visit Dr David Young in Melbourne and have his third platela rich plasma (PRP) injection on January 27.
“I don’t think there is a major problem with my knee,” Iqbal said. “I am playing all kinds of shots against all sorts of bowling. My next sprint session in Australia is the most important to me. I had some pain sprinting before the operation, so if my pain goes away while sprinting, the fitness would have improved. But I have to be in rehab even during the tournament.
“I will get my injection on the morning of January 27, and I will meet a physio in the evening. They will give me the following week’s instructions. I have completed two of the three injection courses in Australia. I will complete the last one now. I will join the squad on January 28 and start practice the next day.”
Iqbal also acknowledged that head coach Chandika Hathurusingha has made it clear that he will only play if he is 100 per cent fit.
“I don’t think anyone would want to play an unfit player, and especially not in a big tournament,” Iqbal said. “I hope to play with 100% fitness. I don’t want to be a burden to the team, so I am putting equal importance to my fielding. The next 10-12 days in Brisbane is the most important phase of our preparation.
“If we can use this time well, we won’t have many problems going ahead. I missed a few good sessions here, so if I can use the next two weeks properly, I will be happy. Of course I should be able to play at least two practice matches. I will try to play the warm-up matches in Brisbane since I have heard that wickets there are one of the toughest in Australia.”
Iqbal also noted that one of his personal goals heading into the World Cup is to become the first Bangladesh player to score a century during the tournament.
“There are no centuries for Bangladesh in the World Cup so I hope I can be the first to do that,” he said. “If I can’t do it, I would hope someone from this team gets to do it. I didn’t set any goals in the 2007 World Cup. I was too happy to be playing against the big teams.
“In the next tournament, I had set myself some goals but I couldn’t reach them. We played at home but I wouldn’t say it was a great World Cup for me. I haven’t started well in this campaign, with the injury. But I hope to finish it nicely.”
Iqbal also feels that the Australian conditions perfectly suit his batting style. However, he added that Bangladesh will have to ensure that they don’t lose early wickets during the tournament.
“My batting style goes with those wickets,” he said. “I think wickets in Australia and New Zealand are perfect for stroke-makers. I think we have become too concerned about wickets there. We should think about how we can win matches.
“If you look at history, you will see that Asian batsmen have done well there. India scored heavily in the Test series. There is no need to think so much about the wicket. I think Australia is best for batting. I don’t think wicket will be a big issue.
“It would be tougher in Australian conditions now that there are two new balls. We are the sort of team that has to rely on a good start and good finish, and you can see that in our past.
“We have to start more carefully than teams like Australia in their conditions. It would be tough to hit out from the start, but spend six to seven overs which would make it easier for us.”