Tigers arrive in England

May 25, 2009

Oxford: The Bangladesh contingent has landed in England to start their World Twenty20 mission and it has been a pleasant arrival. The Tigers are the first among the top 10 teams to kick off their preparation for the tournament on English soil. The West Indies are of course currently on tour in England and are involved in the ODI series against the hosts which followed the Tests but Bangladesh’s purpose of coming in nine days before the launching of the tournament proper is solely T20 preparation oriented.
The journey from Dhaka took 16 hours including a two and a half hour’s transit in Dubai. On the way aircraft crew and fellow passengers flooded the team with good wishes. There were no delays or other hassles and the arrival formalities at the Heathrow were over in a flash. It actually took more time for the squad to sign autographs from the immigration officers than the process itself. Allama Siddiki, Acting High Commissioner of Bangladesh to the UK, High Commission staff and about 20 representatives of the formidable Bangladeshi community here welcomed the team at the Heathrow. In the absence of captain Mohammad Ashraful and his deputy Masrafee bin Murtaza, who are due to fly in on Sunday, the focus was on world’s number one ranked all-rounder Sakib al Hasan who was interviewed by local Bangladeshi channels Bangla TV and Channel S Left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak also responded to queries regarding his remodeled action and how he plans to redeem himself in England.
It was just past 8:00pm local time (2:00am Bangladesh Standard Time) when the team arrived London but there was day light still. The weather has been around a refreshing 20 degrees lately and the sun sets around 9:00pm. With England being six hours behind Bangladesh time the Tigers have a bit of adjusting to do over the next couple of days.
There is a very definite feel-good factor about England in the team.
‘This is a lovely country. Look at all the green around and everything is so neat. Even the sheep on the valleys look unreal, as if this was a postcard,’ said left-arm pacer Syed Rasel, who has played club cricket in Croydon and has toured twice with the A Team. ‘Playing cricket here is also a pleasure and things are very orderly,’ added Rasel.
‘I remember that we were the first team to land in the West Indies for the 2007 World Cup and it is the same here. I like the look of the team. It is now the responsibility of the guys who had been in that World Cup to spread the vibe and revive the spirit that saw us beat India and South Africa. We have India here too and it would be so good to repeat the Trinidad performance,’ said Sakib.
The team hotel, the Oxford Belfry is a Tudor style mansion set in the countryside of Oxfordshire and took about 45 minutes to reach from the airport. It is just beside the M40 motorway and is located far from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Today the day starts with a team meeting. Training is scheduled for the afternoon at the Wormsley Cricket Ground where two practice games will be held on May 26 (against New Zealand) and 29 (against Scotland). In-between, Bangladesh travel to neighboring Kent on May 28 for a match with the Netherlands. These three games are outside the official practice-match schedule for the tournament and have been mutually arranged by the Bangladesh Cricket Board and England Cricket Board.

Courtesy of TigerCricket.com

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