Mashrafe Mortaza hopeful England go ahead with their scheduled tour of Bangladesh
Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza is hopeful that England will not postpone or cancel their scheduled tour of Bangladesh later this year over security concerns, ESPNCricinfo reports. The 32-year-old fast bowler said that his job as skipper was to ensure that his players prepare well for the series while the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) handled the off-field situation with their counterparts in England.
Following the recent terror attack in an upscale restaurant in the capital city of Dhaka, England limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan had expressed his concerns over the security of his players should England go ahead with the tour as planned.
While no official word has been made by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) regarding the issue, Mortaza is hopeful that England doesn't follow the example of their Ashes rivals Australia in calling off a tour to the Asian country.
While Steve Smith’s Australian team postponed their tour without any security threat as such, Mortaza said that cricketers had no reason to worry as they will be given the best possible security cover.
"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. 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."
Elaborating on the fitness front, Mortaza revealed that the squad has already started their preparations for the England series and said that though they will be missing the services of strength and conditioning coach Mario Villavarayan who is away due to a "personal reason", the players are now accustomed to perform the required fitness drills, of course with the help of instructions from the stand-in men.
"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."