Thursday, 23 September, 2021

Preparations for World T20

Tigers still miles away

Tigers still miles away
Bangladesh pacer Shoriful Islam (second left) celebrates with teammate Taskin Ahmed after taking the wicket of New Zealand’s Finn Allen during their fifth and final T20I at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in the capital on Friday. – BCB PHOTO

Bangladesh earned their maiden T20I series wins against Australia and New Zealand respectively ahead of the upcoming ICC World T20 but the questions are raised on whether they have stepped back on their preparations for the global event.

Mahmudullah’s men have moved up to number sixth position in the ICC T20I ranking after the end of both series and all these things suggest that the Tigers will be beaming with confidence to achieve bigger things later this year after gunning down to cricketing giants.

Although in reality, that just might not be the case considering the way they failed to execute their plans in a proper T20 wicket during the last game of the series against the Kiwis on Friday.

Bangladesh managed to steam-roll their opponents but that hardly suggests that they have become a force to reckon in the shorter format.

The hosts played against a depleted Australian side struggling with their own demons and a second-string New Zealand side, which didn’t have any World Cup squad players which only validates the fact that both nations knew they aren’t going to have proper preparation playing in slow and low wicket at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

The wickets in the World T20 won’t be similar to the surface prepared for the home series against Australia and New Zealand while furthermore, it became a curse for the hosts’ batting unit and the pace department.

In the recent past, the Tigers went with an attack of three frontline spinners, a part-timer and two pacers while Mustafizur Rahman has been overused ever since cricket resumed last year.

The likes of Shoriful Islam, Taskin Ahmed and Mohammad Saifuddin have been rotated irrespective of their form.

Since the last World T20 in 2016, Bangladesh pacers have claimed 163 wickets in 50 T20Is while Mustafizur alone picked more than thirty percent of those wickets.

Though the 26-year old has consistently delivered, there are obvious signs he is stressed out moving from bubble to bubble. Last week, he opted out of BCB’s Test contract and he will also fly to the UAE to play the remainder of IPL.

In the meanwhile, the questions over the opening combination remain a knot that tangles more on untangling. Since the last World Cup final, Bangladesh have tried nine different openers which also included experimenting with Mahedi Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim.

Soumya Sarkar has been shuttling between the top 4 positions for years now and with seniors, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur being indispensable at no. 3 and no. 4, he was ignored for the New Zealand series.

Tamim Iqbal’s decision to withdraw from the World T20 only increases pressure on Mohammad Naim and Liton Das who have managed just three fifty-plus opening partnerships in 21 innings together.

In the last two series, the spine of their middle-order – Mahmdullah, Shakib and Mushfiqur – didn’t get the chance to flex their batting prowess due to the low-scoring nature of the pitches.

Mushfiqur in particular has endured a bad return to the side after missing the Australia series due to quarantine issues.

Getting past the first round and a place in the Super-12s might not be difficult for the Tigers but the real test will begin after a week into the World T20.

And therein the answer will be found whether Bangladesh got anything out of tailoring the tracks for reaping the benefit of home advantage.