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Courtney Walsh hopes Shakib Al Hasan plays in key Nidahas Trophy tie vs Sri Lanka

Courtney Walsh, Bangladesh team’s interim head coach, is hopeful the team’s talismanic all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan passes fitness test for Friday’s virtual semi-final against Sri Lanka in the Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series tie.

cricket Updated: Mar 15, 2018 20:29 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, Colombo
Nidahas Trophy,Courtney Walsh,Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan is expected to take part in Bangladesh’s Nidahas Trophy T20 encounter against Sri Lanka on Friday.(AP)

Bangladesh has received a big boost with Shakib Al Hasan looking likely to make an injury comeback for Friday’s last league game against Sri Lanka in the Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series. Shakib, who was out for over a month due to a finger injury, will have a fitness test to assess his availability. (FULL COVERAGE)

Speaking in the pre-match press conference, Bangladesh interim head coach Courtney Walsh was hopeful of Shakib playing in must-win clash to qualify for the final against India on Sunday.

“We were hoping to have him in the beginning of the tournament and he did come over. But the injury did not allow him to play. He was always part of the set-up. It is nothing to worry about. Once Shakib is fit, we will welcome him back to the team,” Walsh said.

READ | Nidahas Trophy: Bangladesh coach Courtney Walsh seeks consistency from batsmen, bowlers

The former West Indies pace great said the star all-rounder needed to be assessed before he can take the field against Sri Lanka. “Shakib has to be assessed like other players to see if he is fit. If he passes the fitness test, then we can make an announcement. Whatever we do, we are doing the best for Bangladesh cricket. If he is fit, we will sit down and consider,” Walsh said.

No desperation

The move to get back Shakib for the last league game against Sri Lanka is seen as a sign of desperation in the Bangladesh ranks to upstage Sri Lanka. The team has beaten Sri Lanka in two successive games at the R Premadasa stadium, the latest last Saturday by chasing down 215 in their league game.

READ | Nidahas Trophy: Bangladesh get Shakib Al Hasan fitness boost for virtual semi-final vs Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka coach Chandika Hathurusingha rejected perception that inclding Shakib would be a desperate move by Bangladesh. “The only thing I can think of is if Shakib is half-fit, it’s a desperate measure. If he’s fit they really have an advantage, because he is the world’s No 1 all-rounder. It’s just fortunate for them that he has recovered before such an important game. But if he is not fit and hasn’t trained, then I would say it is desperation,” said Hathurasingha, who quit as Bangladesh coach to take charge of his home team.

Shakib’s inclusion will bolster Bangladesh’s bowling that has struggled to take wickets in the Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series and also provide depth to their batting.

First Published: Mar 15, 2018 19:57 IST