'Unka 49th kya 50th hundred bhi ho jaaye' - Mohammad Rizwan's special wish ahead of Virat Kohli's birthday
Pakistan and Bangladesh practiced at the Eden Gardens ahead of their do-or-die clash on Tuesday, October 31.
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While there is no lack of competitiveness when arch-rivals India and Pakistan collide on the cricket field, outside of it, the players from the two teams share nice camaraderie.
On Monday, Pakistan and Bangladesh had relatively lengthy net sessions at Kolkata's Eden Gardens as they made some last-minute preparations ahead of their do-or-die ODI World Cup 2023 clash on Tuesday at the same venue. Both teams have had disappointing campaigns and are staring down the barrel as far as semi-final qualification chances are concerned.
Mohammad Rizwan, who is Pakistan's highest run-getter in the tournament thus far, faced bowling coach Morne Morkel at the nets for a lengthy period on Monday, trying to perfect his upper cuts. The former South African pacer troubled Rizwan on a few occasions with steep bounce, forcing the wicketkeeper-batter to duck on a few occasions. After middling a few balls, Rizwan made his way out of the nets and met a few children who had made their way into the Sourav Ganguly Stand.
“Brother, (Virat) Kohli will play here on his birthday (November 5, India vs South Africa). Do you have any wishes for him?” he was asked.
“Sirf mohabbat hai. Inshallah, idhar unka 49th kya 50th hundred bhi ho jaaye (I only have love for him. God be willing, may he get both his 49th and 50th ODI century here),” was Rizwan's reply, as quoted by the Sportstar. The 31-year-old was probably wishing Kohli a double hundred.
While a full-strength Pakistan team was at the nets on Monday, there were quite a few players missing for practice in the Bangladesh camp. Captain Shakib Al Hasan batted for over 90 minutes. The talismanic all-rounder has scored just 61 runs in five games at an average of 12.20. He has a lot of experience of playing at Eden Gardens during his time with the Kolkata Knight Riders. Bangladesh fans will hope for an inspirational performance from the 36-year-old as the 'Bangla Tigers' take on the 'Men in Green' in what could be a riveting contest.