Al-Amin, Gazi happy with training camp lifeline
It may be only be a conditioning camp, with as many as 27 players in the mix, but for Al-Amin Hossain and Sohag Gazi, being called up to be among them is a huge relief. Out of contention for roughly the same time, both bowlers now have a platform from which to get back into the Bangladesh team for the upcoming Test series against Australia in October.
The training camp will mainly focus on fitness. Skill work will begin from September 5. The National Cricket League first-class competition is also being preponed to get the Test players some game time ahead of the Australia series.
Al-Amin hasn't played international cricket since November 2014. So this is a chance for him to reconnect. He had been part of the World Cup squad, but was sent home midway through due to disciplinary issues. Since his last international outing, he has taken 12 first-class wickets at an average of 32.58 in five games.
Although Bangladesh struggled for penetration in their pace attack in the Tests against Pakistan, India and South Africa, Al-Amin was kept out. He is taking the training camp as a sign of being "in the selectors' plans" again. He had also been part of the Players of National Interest (PONI) camp recently in the National Cricket Academy.
"I am feeling great, a lot relieved," Al-Amin said. "I was in the PONI camp but I didn't feel really sure of my future. But getting called in this camp means at least now I am in the selectors' plans. I can work on my fitness, and I am getting a chance to prove myself."
Spending the last six months out of the national side, he said he has understood that the team's composition is changing and the competition within it has gone up as a result of recent victories.
"I have seen both sides [being in and out of the squad] in a very short span of time. I learned a lot. I also understand the team is not what it was a year ago. There's a lot of competition. I have to prove my worth," he said.
Gazi's story is similar. He served a short suspension at international cricket for an illegal action, got the clean chit from the ICC in February this year and has already played a T20 for Bangladesh in July. He also felt the call-up to the training camp was a sign that he remains in contention for the national side, but felt hard done by having to sit out most of the 2014-15 season.
"I was disappointed," Gazi told BDnews24.com. "I played for the senior team recently but from there I was nowhere. It is hard to explain this feeling. It is good to be called up to the camp. I can tell myself now that I am in contention.
"It is hard to assess fitness after just one T20. But I will improve my fitness, which goes down when you are out of the team. This is a chance to make it better. The National Cricket League is coming up so I will use the conditioning camp for my own benefit. Doing well in the domestic circuit will surely bring me more opportunities. "
It is, however, likely that both players could end up playing for Bangladesh A in their African tour in October and November, the same time as the Australia tour.