From January 03, the 3-match T20 series against New Zealand starts at Napier. The other two matches of the series would be played on January 6 and 9 at Mount Maunganui.
Bangladesh got comprehensively whitewashed in 3-match ODI series which was Bangladesh’s best chance of proving competitive. Bangladesh will play two Tests after the T20 series. We are unsure that Bangladesh stands better opportunities in T20 or Test matches.
Team management has already announced the following squad for the first match T20 match: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan (vice-capt), Mosaddek Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Shuvagata Hom, Subashis Roy, Taijul Islam and Nurul Hasan.
From the squad that played ODI series talented off-spinner Mehedi Miraj and controversial inclusion Tanbir Haidar have been dropped. Subhagato Hom and Taijul Islam have been included.
— Bangladesh Cricket (@BCBtigers) December 31, 2016
We are not sure how much competitive Bangladesh can prove in T20 series. But questions have already been raised whether Bangladesh has gone to New Zealand with the best available players. The T20 squad does not include Abu Hider, Al-Amin Hossain, Mohammad Mithun, Mushfiqur, Saqlain Sajib and Arafat Sunny who featured in the team that played in the T20 world cup last year. Mushfiqur is nursing his injury, but others were not included in the touring party that head coach Chandrika Haturasinghe masterminded. The squad neither included established all-rounder Nasir Hossain and top performer in BPL Mehedi Maruf.
Following the lackluster performance of Bangladesh in the ODI series, there have been continued criticism about team selection and preparations of Bangladesh leading up to the series. Head Coach was blamed mostly for it. He has responded to some of these.
Defending selection of Tanvir, the coach said he was included with eyes to the future. He was desperately looking for a leg spinner since assuming responsibility in Bangladesh. He said Tanvir cannot be judged by his performance in two matches only. Bangladesh would need a quality leg spinner for playing against countries like Australia, South Africa, and England in the future. Agreeing with his point, we would like to argue why he could not work on Jubair Hossain? What did he find in Tanbir that gives him assurance that he is a better choice?
A coach will work with a squad given to him by a panel of selectors. The selectors would pick players from their performances in domestic cricket. By courtesy of BCB, Haturasinghe is also a selector. But he does not have time to watch domestic cricket. The bottom line is one does not experiment with rookies in a tough away series. Bangladesh must have settled sides for all formats. There must not be so many chopping and change. Bangladesh cricket has not yet reached the status of Australian cricket where there are huge quality players to choose from.
— Bangladesh Cricket (@BCBtigers) December 29, 2016
When the entire country is questioning the absence of quality all-rounder, Nasir Hossain, Haturasinghe says he has Mosaddek, Shubhagato Hom and Mehedi Miraj in that position. Well, Nasir is a much better all-rounder than any of the three he mentioned. He has more experience and was a regular performer. Mossadek fits in top order under the shadow of any senior player. Meraj so far proved as a quality spinner. Shubhagato cannot come anywhere near Nasir as a competent all-rounder. If Shubhagato and Miraj were better than Nasir why Hatura did not play them in any of the three ODI that Bangladesh lost?
Questions are raised, and questions would be coming about what Haturasinghe does to promote the quality of Bangladesh cricket? A very highly paid coach spending most of the time at his free sweet will in his adopted home in Australia is a luxury for Bangladesh. We cannot let a very ordinary person play with our cricket fortune. Our home-grown coach Aminol Islam is better respected in International cricket as cricket planner and thinker.
Will he explain what useful purpose the week long unnecessary, expensive program in Sydney served to the cause of Bangladesh cricket? Is NSW condition same as New Zealand? Why a touring party has to be of 23 members? Why a top performer of local cricket Mehedi Masud was sent back home without playing any match? Why Rubel and Miraj were not given opportunity in ODI? How much counseling he has done with talented Soumya Sarkar?
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 31, 2016
Bangladesh must forget about horrors of ODI series. They were ultimately outplayed. But at least in two matches they had their moments which they failed to consolidate. I would say senior players like Tamim, Kayes, Mahmudullah, Shakib failed to commit themselves to the cause of the team. Tanvir is a peripheral issue. The loss of Mushfique through injury somewhat upset the balance of the team. It is where Nasir could bring stability. Young Nurul Hasan is a positive of the series. Talented Mustafiz remains Match Winning option. Mashrafee still commits his best, and in second ODI he created opportunity with his excellent bowling. But does he enjoy captain’s prerogative without undue interference?
Bangladesh may not lose hope altogether. If they can still play to full potential, they may upset New Zealand. But that will require more prudence and better team chemistry. Let us hope for the best.
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Photo courtesy: Bangladesh Cricket