Tiger T20 squad: An objective analysis
06 February 2015, Nirapad News: Bangladesh Cricket will soon have two very important T20 international engagements, first the Asia Cup, to be played for the first time in T20 format at home, and then the qualification preliminaries against Netherlands, Ireland and Oman for the Super 10 in T20 World Cup in India.
If qualified, Tigers will play in the group of death alongside India, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand in the World T20 event.
BCB has announced its squad for the Asia Cup. The Squad for the World T20 may not be very different.
Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Arafat Sunny, Abu Hider, Nurul Hasan
Nothing much can be said about the squad as most of the players are automatic choice.
Asia Cup is an ICC event now. The wickets will be prepared by ICC curators. There is no possibility of making the wickets tailor made for the home side. Yet the wickets in February and March will favor spin. It is not easy making hard bouncy wickets in Bangladesh in a short time. Hence the pace heavy team with only one specialist spinner Arafat Sunny is bound to raise questions.
Nasir, Mahmudullah and Shakib are all-rounders. Mahmudullah and Nasir are primarily batsmen. Sabbir has started bowling but he too in the side is mainly as a batsman. As the tournament progresses, Bangladesh might feel the absence of additional specialist spinner.
Four-prong pace attack against the likes of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka on low slow wicket may not always bring success. Moreover, Mashrafe and Taskin are injury-prone and may break down.
With due respect to Mashrafe for his continued great contribution as inspiring captain and great bowler, it must be said that time has come for him to hand over his mantle as spearhead of Bangladesh bowling to youngsters.
We are not sure how long Mashrafe can carry on although his inspirational leadership has taken Bangladesh to present stage in international cricket.
We are sure we will be the most unpopular persons if we recommend Mashrafe to call it a day after the two important tournaments and leave the mantle to youngsters like Mustafiz, Al-Amin and Taskin to carry.
Everyone has sunrise and sunset in career. Mashrafe has given so much. It will be appropriate he calls it a day while sun still shines for him. He is perhaps blocking the way of an upcoming young pacer.
The squad comprises of three wicket keepers Mushfiqur, Nurul Hasan and Mohammad Mithun. But the team has only two specialist openers Tamim and Soumya.
Questions have been raised why inform experienced opener Imrul Kayes is not in the side?
Tamim and Soumya are both blasters. Imrul as long time successful opening partner of Tamim could be a better option as third opener. Imrul, Shubhagata and Rabbi will be retained as reserve with the side.
The recent successes of Bangladesh in ODI version of the game have raised the expectations of Bangladeshis all over the world. Every Bangladeshi wants to see Bangladesh cricket team compete well in any format in any competition.
Though Bangladesh does not have bright records in T20, yet, being the host, Asia cup presents unique opportunity to redeem. For that to happen, Bangladesh is expected to appear with its best possible squad in the context of form, fitness and quality of individual players.
It may be mentioned here BCB suspended local cricket to let the players concentrate exclusively on the preparation for the ensuing two T20 tournaments.
This decision is not considered appropriate for the development of cricket as the competitive domestic cricket is remaining absent in the high noon of the cricket season.
What is the prospect of Bangladesh in Asia Cup?
India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have all won Asia Cup in the past. Bangladesh has never won it. The best they did was narrowly losing in the final against Pakistan winning against India and Sri Lanka in Dhaka.
This is the first time the tournament will be played in T20 format. India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are higher ranked than Bangladesh in the format. India has just returned from a tour of Australia, Sri Lanka was in New Zealand, most of the Pakistanis are playing in PCL.
All three teams will come to Bangladesh well prepared with T20 specialists. Among the lesser teams Afghanistan, if they qualify, may also cause headaches for others.
Bangladesh will have to rely on wonder boy Mustafiz, quality pacers Al-Amin, Abu Hider and Taskin for creating balance with superior side. Shakib, as usual, will lead the spin bowling options. Arafat Sunny is the only specialist spinner. Nasir and Mahmudullah will be used very often. But India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are far better players of spins. They will be severe on part timers.
Bangladesh will have to bat well and give enough cushions for the bowlers to put pressure on opponents. T20 needs aggressive batting but not madness. It still requires playing correctly, building partnerships.
Bangladesh top order often plays too many strokes triggering collapse. The experiment with Sabbir playing at number three worked against Zimbabwe. But against superior oppositions it will be better that Shakib bats higher, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur follows. Sabbir and Nasir can be ideal finishers. Nurul Hasan also might be proved as a more than useful late-order batsman.
Year 2016 is the year of consolidation for Bangladesh in Cricket. Success in ODI in 2015 has raised the level of expectoration sky high. It is impossible for any team to keep winning all the time.
T20 is not the forte of Bangladesh. Bangladesh, in the Asia Cup, will face three T20 world champions of the past. World T20 is more challenging.
The expectations must not let the admirers dream too much. But at the same time the team has potential to be competitive. T20 Squad could have Imrul Kayes to strengthen the batting at the top. Batting may prove our weakness for lack of required temperament.