Bangladesh will be desperate to break the losing jinx against Afghanistan as they prepare to take on the tourists in their last group phase match in the ongoing Twenty20 Tri-nation at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattagram on Saturday evening.
Though the Tigers reached the final in the ongoing Tri-nation they need to come up with a special plan against Afghanistan considering the tourist seemed to be dominating against them in the shortest format.Afghanistan defeated Bangladesh on four successive occasions while the hosts had beaten them when the two sides met for the first time in the shortest format at the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in 2014 at their own back yard.
While Bangladesh are yet to get their act right when it comes to T20 cricket, Afghanistan had gone from strength to strength with passing days.
Their dominance against Tigers began when they cleanly swept them away in Dehradun 2018 while they followed that by earning an easy win against the host in their Tri-nation’s group-phase match at Dhaka.
During the course of time, Afghanistan spinners looked to have started having a psychological edge over their opponent as they have 20 wickets in the last four Twenty20 internationals.
Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi played an integral part behind this dominance as they picked 20 wickets among themselves in the last four games.
It seemed Bangladesh batting consultant Neil McKenzie understood the importance of helping his charges in this crisis moment more than anyone else as he was seen spending a long time trying to make them understand of playing in the V- through the mid-off and mid-on region- as looked to be the safest way to handle the spin trio of Afghanistan.What looked to be a major concern for the hosts batsmen were the way they were eager to hit it through the mid-wicket region for some reason or the other apart from trying to come up with some sort of improvisation- like the scoop and reverse sweep instead of playing straight through the ground.
Mahmudullah Riyad looked to be an exception in the last game as he was more concerned to play straighter than choosing other options on his way to a brilliant half-century against Zimbabwe and it looked to be a better option than trying to play all those over-ambitious shots.
Taking the turn of Afghanistan spinners into consideration going through the mid-wicket region cannot be termed as the safest option as in all probability the batsmen are likely to hit against the spin and that creates more chances for the opponent.
Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan was out trying to play over the top against Zimbabwe and it was the same shot that he tried one after another during his net session and it only implies his intentions against the Afghans.
Other two seniors Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah also looked to be focused on playing the shots according to their strength in the nets under the observation of the head coach Russel Domingo while in the meantime batting coach McKenzie spent some time with Liton Kumar Das in the other nets.
At one point Domingo joined McKenzie on his insistence and tried to make Liton understand the need of hours knowing that he is one of the best in the country when it comes to handling spin.
McKenzie looked determined to make Liton understand that instead of playing the scoop straight over the wicket-keepers head he should go into the back foot and play the scoop finer. His body language was also been questioned as he seemed to have a laid back attitude while playing over the cover and according to McKenzie it would be better if he keeps his back straight as that is likely to give him more power.
McKenzie also worked with Nazmul Hossain Shanto and Nayeem Sheikh, both of whom are quite new as far as he is concerned as formerly made a comeback after a gap while the latter is still uncapped at international level.
It was seen the Nayeem’s head falls down while playing certain shots and as a result, the power he generates from those shots are usually lesser as this falling of head also plays a part behind disturbing his balance in the wicket.
Nayeem looked hesitant to disclose the lessons imparted by McKenzie apart from saying that he just asked him to play his natural game and asked him to be ready.
“McKenzie just told me to play my natural game and asked me to be ready mentally,” Nayeem told daily sun after the practice session.
McKenzie added that they are a talented young bunch of cricketers and he is looking forward to work with them.
Young leg-spinner Aminul Islam bowled quite a few overs in the middle despite wearing a bandage on his hand as he sustained an injury on his debut match against Zimbabwe as a ball hit by Hamilton Masakadza forced him to have a stitch on his hand.
The absence of Aminul looked to have forced the team management to see how Sabbir Rahman fare as leg-spinner as he was also seen bowling in tandem while the way left-arm spinner Taijul Islam had his bowling session chalked out his inclusion against Afghanistan cannot be as a huge surprise.
However, after the team meeting in the evening last night team management they would opt to replace Aminul Islam with Rubel Hossain that means it will be a four-man pace attack against the Afghans.