Mashrafe hopeful of England touring Bangladesh

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza has said he is “hopeful” England will tour the country for the entire series in October. Bangladesh’s 30-man preliminary squad for the England series began training on Wednesday with a focus on fitness. England are scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on September 30 for two Tests and three ODIs.


“I personally hope that the tour goes ahead,” Mashrafe said. “Cricket followers in Bangladesh have been waiting for a long time for a home series. Bangladeshi people love cricket, and they hope that England are coming for the tour. I am hopeful they (England) will come to hold on to the cricket culture.

“England have always helped Bangladesh. They had sent the team in the Under-19 World Cup. They will certainly get security, as much as what other cricket teams get when they come here. Bangladeshi people respect cricketers. I don’t think there will be a problem.”

The ECB had said it will follow government advice on whether the tour should go ahead as planned following the terror attack on July 1. Gunmen had stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery cafe in the Gulshan district of Dhaka before security forces brought the hostage situation to an end. England’s limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan had also expressed “big concern” over the tour.

The BCB had said the ECB’s concern was “quite normal” but ruled out the possibility of playing the series at a neutral venue.

Mashrafe said their job would be to focus on on-field activities while the BCB would tackle the security issue with the ECB. “There are still three months left so I remain hopeful of the tour. We should keep focusing on our fitness. BCB will take care of the rest.”

The Bangladesh team is without strength and conditioning coach Mario Villavarayan who is away due to a “personal reason”.

“We are not accustomed to working without Mario. But Iftekharul (Islam) has been around for a long time,” Mashrafe said. “Mario has told him what to do but the players know what they have to do.

“Everyone knows that they may lose fitness if they are not serious after a six-week gap. This is a great opportunity for us to take care of ourselves and hold on to our fitness.”


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