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19 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 18 November, 2019 11:20:42 PM

BCB in search of middle-lower order batsmen

Selectors will keep an eye on Bangabandhu BP
BCB in search of middle-lower order batsmen
BCB chief selector Minhajul Abedin Nannu (L) and selector Habibul Bashar Sumon will ensure selection of right players for right place. BCB photo

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is seriously searching for a string of hard and pinch-hitting batsmen for a good number of positions for the team especially for their Twenty20 cricket squad.

For this, they will, of course, keep an eye on the ensuing edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) that has been named after the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, “Bangabandhu-BPL” where local players will be seen more than the previous occasions.

Bangladesh have a severe dearth of power-hitters in middle-order and lower-down the order what had badly been exposed yet another in the recently-concluded but much-anticipated Twenty20 series that they lost 2-1 against India on their home territory.

It was the pre-tournament assertions the new-look Bangladesh team would not triumph any match of the series against India but they proved those predictors wrong winning the tour opener. Since then, it was being told this from all the fronts if they would have one more hard-hitting batsmen, it would not be needless to say Bangladesh could have won the series.

But it’s a matter of regret that there is no such hard and pinch-hitting batsmen in the current crop of the Bangladesh team, who can heat up the field with their marauding fours and sixes with the pace of going to the wickets and slot the team with their sublime finishing stint.

And for this reason, it is seen in the past to lose the match at the closed door of the victory. We can draw examples of losing to Pakistan in Asia Cup final (2014), losses to India in ICC World T20 (2016), Nidahas Cup Trophy Final in Sri Lanka (2018) and Asia Cup Final in UAE (2019).

These players can’t accelerate their strike at the slog overs despite having wickets in hand. As a result, Bangladesh could not compile not only a big total on the board but also chase down the big target of the opponents.

They could not come out from the circle of their repeated failures. For this, Bangladesh could not fare well in this shorter format of cricket. They among the top eleven-ranked teams remained at rock bottom of the ICC rankings because of having no such big hitters in their repertoire yet.

It’s not that Bangladesh any longer attempt to work for this. They have tried their best by Nasir Hossain, Sabbir Rahman Rumman, Soumya Sarker, Mohammd Mithun, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat and Mohammad Saifuddin to establish them in these positions but none of them justified it.

Nasir Hossain, who played 31 T20I matches, batted at No 7 position five times, where he had no good record of strike rate because his highest strike rate at No 7 was 133.33. He batted more at No 5th and 6th position.

The board attempted by Sabbir Rahman, who played 44 T20I matches at No 6 position in 10 times, where he did not succeed rather he succeeded in No 3 position. He blasted four half-centuries, from where three came from No 3 position.

The team management also tried Soumya Sarkar, who played so far 46 T20I matches, batted twice at No 7 position against India (2016) and Afghanistan (2018). His strike rate never crossed 100-plus at this batting position.

The management tried a promising Mohammad Mithun, who represented Bangladesh so far 14 T20I matches, batted only one time against Pakistan (2016) at No 7. But he played more at No. 1 and 2nd position respectively.

Mosaddek Hossain, who played 14 T20I matches wearing national jersey, batted six times at No 7 position but he never crossed a strike rate of 140 or more from this position. His highest strike rate at No 7 was 125 what he got against Zimbabwe in 2019 when he was unbeaten on 30.

They also gave chance to Mohammad Saifuddin, who also so far 14 T20I matches, batted twice at No 7 position against South Africa (2017) and Sri Lanka (2018), where he slammed 39* and 20.

The first two of the above mentioned players, Nasir and Sabbir, are out of the team owing to their shoddy on and off-field performance.

And so, the team management of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is now searching seriously to get at least two-more such types of pinch hitters, who could play with an open hand and can step up big shots against any type of bowling power under any circumstances.

BCB chief selector Minhajul Abedin Nannu has hinted at this matter while he was talking to media at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium (SBNCS) in Mirpur recently.

“We have to increase the batting depth of our team especially in the middle-order and lower-down the order ahead for T20 cricket. Without our batting depth in middle and tail-ending position, we will not make a good result in T20 cricket, which is a game of power hitters and pinch-hitters, who can change the complexion of the match towards the end,” Minhajul Abedin said.

Bangladesh usually play their cricket with eight batsmen. So, the question may arise then why do they need new batting performers in the team. He said that they essentially need to include hard and pinch-hitters in the batting position of fifth to eight before the 2020 World T20.

Minhajul said they need batsmen who can make big shots in middle-order and lower-down the order especially 6, 7 and 8 respectively if it is not possible, it’s really tough to increase the speed of scoring runs towards the end of the T20 format and compile a healthy total on the board.

Nannu said they will sit with the team management to discuss the matter and settle down whom they want to push in that position.

Though Nannu did not mention the name of the players, he may pick Yasir Ali Chowdhury Rabbi, who came to the shots for his flamboyant batting in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), for this position ahead. But he did not get any chance yet to play for the national team, though he was taken to Ireland with the team to play a pre-World Cup Tri-series.

Even they can pin their hopes on new-find youngster Mohammad Naim Sheikh, who played a fabulous innings of 48-ball 81 in the third and last Twenty20 against top-notch India on their own backyard.

The BCB is drawing up their long-term plan centering the next back-to-back ICC World T20, which will be played in Australia in November, 2020 and 2021 in India. For this, they are not thinking about the handy aged players. They are looking for the potential youngsters by whom they can execute their long-term plan.

Regarding the matter, BCB selector Habibul Bashar Sumon said they need to pick such a batsman at No 7 who can bat at the strike of 140 or more.

“The T20 series in India has been finished. We’ve seen how urgently needs such power-hitters for the team. We have played so many matches where we lost those by a neck of difference,” Habibul Bashar said.

“We have no standard T20 tournament barring BPL. So, we have no chance to see more players. And so, we have to stay alert and keep our vigil eyes on the next BPL to sort out the potential players for those positions for T20 cricket,” Sumon told The Independent.



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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