The injury cloud looming over Mahmudullah Riyad got a bit lighter yesterday during Bangladesh’s first practice session since their 62-run win over Afghanistan as the senior middle-order batsman batted in the nets in full gear at the practice ground in Edgbaston.
However, Mahmudullah — who has sustained a Grade 1 tear on his right calf muscle during the World Cup match against Afghanistan on June 24 — did not take any part in fielding practice. Bangladesh’s next World Cup assignment is a crucial match against India tomorrow and they would desperately want their full team firing if they are to stay alive in the tournament by winning their next two matches.
Mahmudullah was diagnosed with the tear on the day of the match against Afghanistan and it was expected that he would need seven to 10 days to recover for the match that was set to take place exactly a week later. The 33-year-old however had insisted that he would play the match against India in any way possible.
Mahmudullah has played two crucial innings in this edition of cricket’s mega event, hitting an unbeaten 46 off 33 balls in the opening win over South Africa at The Oval and then cracking a 50-ball 69 in the loss to Australia on June 20 in Trent Bridge. He also played a vital hand against Afghanistan, scoring a 38-ball 27 during a 56-run fifth-wicket stand with Mushfiqur Rahim on a slow wicket in Southampton.
Known as one of the cleanest hitters in the lineup, Mahmudullah’s presence at number six is a valuable one as he will be expected to take the attack to the vaunted Indian attack in the final stages of the innings.