Bangladesh hopeful of Shakib's fitness for final
The Bangladesh team management is hopeful Shakib Al Hasan will be fit for the Asia Cup final against India on Sunday after the allrounder suffered a blow on his right thigh while batting in the nets on Friday. The team physio, Bayejidul Islam Khan, said Shakib had suffered bruising on the hip flexor near the thigh muscle.
Shakib batted in the nets during an optional training session at the Shere Bangla National Stadium on Saturday before returning to the dressing room. Bayejidul said an injury of this kind normally takes 48 hours to heal and is hopeful this will be the case with Shakib.
"Shakib got this injury during training on Friday," Bayejidul said. "We call it a contusion, after he was struck on the hip flexor of his thigh muscle. He is quite well now. It was optional training today and we had asked him not to train. But he still went at it for a while though he didn't practice much. He will recover before tomorrow's match. Normally it takes 48 hours to recover, and we are hoping that it is the case."
Bangladesh have bigger worries ahead of the final, particularly India's batting line-up. In the league-stage match, Bangladesh managed to put them under pressure in the first seven overs but late-hitting from Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya got India back in the game and they eventually won by 45 runs.
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza said the team would focus on curbing runs in the Powerplay and slog overs, when the likes of Rohit and MS Dhoni can do maximum damage.
"There is no doubt that India's batting order has six world-class batsmen in all formats," Mashrafe said. "You can't get them out thinking of a particular way or area. You need to bowl well throughout; they will charge, but you have to minimize that. In this format generally the damage happens in the first six overs and towards the end so we have to keep an eye on those two periods."
Mashrafe said that Mustafizur Rahman, who was ruled out due to a side strain, will be sorely missed but was pleased that Taskin Ahmed and Al-Amin Hossain had taken up the responsibility well, as was evident against Pakistan.
"We are playing without our best bowler [Mustafizur Rahman] to be honest but Taskin and Al-Amin bowled well in the last game," Mashrafe said. "This is a good sign for a team that's growing. When your best payer isn't there still you are performing. This is a good sign."
Mashrafe admitted the side was missing a big-hitter down the order, to back up a strong top and middle-order: "I do believe we have some good players like Tamim, Soumya, Sabbir, Shakib and Mushfiqur. They can change the game for us, I do believe.
"Obviously in T20, I feel there is another area that the game can change and that's the batsman at No 7 or 8. We don't have a world-class player there at the moment but we have some of those in the rest of the batting order."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84