Tigers with a blend of youth and experience

| Updated: October 11, 2021 16:37:13

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After three consecutive series wins in the last three months, Bangladesh are high in confidence moving towards the seventh edition of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to be held in the UAE and Oman. 

Bangladesh will start their World Cup campaign against Scotland in Oman, on October 17. 

Besides Scotland, Bangladesh will also face the hosts and Papua New Guinea respectively in the qualifying round as a part of Group B. 

Unless any major upset occurs, Bangladesh are likely to be the group champion and proceed for the Super 12. In that case, Bangladesh will find themselves in Group 2, the group of death, with the likes of India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, and one more team from Group A. 

The selectors have not offered any surprise in the 15 man-squad for the World Cup. Led by Mahmudullah Riad, the Bangladesh side is one of the most experienced ones in the mega sporting event. 

Only six players featuring in this World Cup have participated in all six previous editions, three of whom are from Bangladesh – Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, and the skipper himself. The other three are Rohit Sharma, Dwayne Bravo, and Chris Gayle. 

In the absence of Tamim Iqbal, the top order of Bangladesh lacks stability. Although the likes of Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar have been on the international circuit for more than five years, neither of them has been able to instil trust in the camp. 

On the other hand, Mohammad Naim-- barring the exception of a magnificent 81 in his debut series against India in 2019, does not have much to show against his name either. 

In such a scenario, Shakib Al Hasan, on the back of his amazing run at No. 3 in the CWC19, is expected to bat at the same position once again to provide some sort of balance in the top order. 

The middle-order has a solid mixture of experience and youth. The senior campaigners – Mushfiq and Riad – will shoulder the responsibility of keeping the scoreboard ticking in the middle overs as well as laying a launching pad for the slog overs. 

The wicket-keeper batsman Nurul Hasan Shohan along with one of the youngsters – Afif Hossain or Shamim Hossain – will have their work cut out to score quick runs to get the team to a defendable total or over the line. 

As for the bowling department, the combination of three seamers and two spinners is going to be the most likely one for Bangladesh. In that case, either Mahedi Hasan or Nasum Ahmed is supposed to accompany Shakib. 

While Mahedi, being an off-spinner together with the ability of pinch-hitting, brings flexibility to the squad. Nasum with his left-arm orthodox can tie any right-hander-packed opposition when bowling in tandem with Shakib. 

However, an interesting but not surprising fact is that Bangladesh is the only test playing nation appearing in this World Cup without a leg spinner in the squad.  

Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, Mohammad Saifuddin, and Taskin Ahmed are the four seamers picked in the squad with Rubel Hossain being the latest inclusion as an injury backup. 

While the Fizz is considered to be an auto choice, Shoriful and Saifuddin are more likely to be the other two in the initial games as they have got more opportunities for Bangladesh in T20Is in the recent past. 

All in all, even though the track record of Bangladesh in T20WC has been very poor, the momentum is very much with the side as fans expect this bunch of players to turn the table on its head and give them some memorable moments to cherish for.

The writer is currently studying at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka (IBA-DU). 
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