If Someone Has Questions About Their Commitment, It Really Hurts: Saifuddin > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - When someone questions your commitment, it really hurts: Saifuddin
Saifuddin made some useful contributions for Bangladesh during the 2019 World Cup but skipped the game against Australia
Mohammad Saifuddin, the Bangladesh all-rounder, revealed that the agony he felt during the World Cup after being labelled as someone not ready to face tough opposition still haunts him. Saifuddin returned to the national set-up with a home series against Zimbabwe after a long injury lay off for his back that he had sustained during the tri-series in Ireland prior to the World Cup. It aggravated to such proportions that he had to take an injection before they opened their campaign against South Africa, and through the rest of the tournament as well.
Despite carrying the injury, he was the second-highest wicket-taker  for Bangladesh in the showpiece event and also fought a lone battle against India with the willow, smashing an unbeaten 58. However, when he opted to rest against Australia due to the back injury, his commitment was questioned.
"It was heart-breaking for me when it was said that I skipped the match against Australia because I was afraid to play big teams. I was feeling helpless in the room after such news broke out in the media," Saifuddin told Cricbuzz. "Miraj [Mehidy Hassan] came to my room and gave me support as I was mentally shattered."
Saifuddin has reasons to be disappointed, given that he passed the whole World Cup campaign in some kind of rehabilitation just to reduce the pain. "After practice or a game when everyone was returning back to the room, I opted to go to the swimming pool as I used to feel good by swimming or Jacuzzi," he said. "I was passing my time in the World Cup, following some kind of rehabilitation, and after doing all this when someone questions your commitment it really hurts," he said, before adding that his decision to follow Rubel Hossain's path during the Ireland tour prior to the World Cup backfired massively.
"Before the World Cup, we went to play a tri-nation series in Ireland where we won a title for the first time on foreign soil under Mashrafe bhai and Steve Rhodes. So in that series, Rubel bhai's room was next to me. I went to his room for some reason and I saw he was resting on the floor. I asked him why he was doing that and he said that the tournament is very long so if he had back pain then there will be a problem. Then it occurred to me that as Rubel bhai is so serious, I should also sleep on the floor. And we all know that the weather in Ireland is a little cold," he said.
"So I got up the next morning and found something wrong. I had this back pain for a long time, but it was not so severe as it sometimes comes and goes. Then I told our then physio [Thian Chandramohan] and he told me that nothing happened, maybe it's because of the change of weather, it will be fine in a few days.
"But after playing two ODIs I started to feel bad when I went for practice before the third game and I told the coach that I'm having pain, what should I do? So, I didn't play in the third ODI. The fourth match was cancelled due to rain and then Shakib bhai did not play in the final due to a groin injury and I was thinking what people may think if I say that I am not ready to play in the final, so opted to play the match and bowl five overs. We won the match, became champions, and on our way to the hotel, I was waiting in the lobby for the physio. I told the physio and Steve Rhodes that I'm in pain and what can I do now? Rhodes told me I'm one of his key players and he wants me in the World Cup squad," he said.
Saifuddin also felt that his decision of not bowling against India in the practice game after a couple of overs due to the back pain could have played a part behind giving an impression of him fearing to play against good teams which led to him being benched against Australia. "I played a practice match against India in the first week before going to the World Cup. I bowled six overs in that match and after that, I started to feel more pain on my back. So then I got out of the field. After some time, Mashrafe bhai told me to bowl. I told him that I'm feeling a little pain, so he didn't tell me anything anymore," he said. "It later came out that I threw my cap out of frustration, but nothing (like that) happened because my character is not like that," he said, adding that his decision to play the opening game against South Africa should have been a testimony of his character considering he had been hit for five sixes by David Miller.
"When we went to London to play the first match of the World Cup, I told the physio that this is not possible and either he gives me a solution or gives me an injection. The team management then decided to give me an injection that was worth nearly about BDT 200,000," he said. "I started to feel very good after taking the injection. So I played the first match with South Africa and after bowling seven-eight overs, I started to feel the pain again. But I played on the back of my will power in the next couple of games. But after playing against Afghanistan, we were on a bus journey for about 4-5 hours, and when we arrived, I couldn't hold myself anymore, I couldn't stand up straight," he said. "Then I said that it's hurting me a lot, I can no longer take it. People have put two plus two together considering I decided not to bowl when Dhoni was batting on his way to a hundred [in the practice game] and decided not to play against Australia [for not being able to bear the pain] without knowing the real story," he said.
While Saifuddin might be grumbling about his past, he certainly looks ecstatic about his future considering the back pain has gone after nearly a six-month rehabilitation since the home series involving Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. "After I returned from the World Cup, I was rested for the Sri Lanka tour and later a return in the tri-nation at home after a two and half months rehabilitation during the last game against Afghanistan."
Initially, he was advised surgery, but current physio Julian Calefato made an alternative plan for him that required him to stay away from cricket for as long as six months, and in the process, miss some international series along with the BPL. "When my MRI was done nothing was found, but later in the radio scan, a stress fracture was detected. Initially, I was advised surgery but later Julian came up with an alternative plan," he said.
"I have always had the confidence to do well considering I did not fare badly in the World Cup, and in the meantime, I had worked on my bowling with Champaka when I was away from the national set-up," he said. "The most important thing is that I don't have that pain anymore... like earlier, after getting up in the morning I had to spend around 10 minutes just to get hold of myself but that is not the case now. In the last home series against Zimbabwe, I did not have any pain and probably because I am more concerned with my fitness than before. I am sure if there are no fitness issues with me I will be able to deliver with both bat and ball because that is my goal to establish myself as an all-rounder," he concluded.
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