Tuesday, 27 September, 2022

Search for stable opening pair continues

  • Sports Correspondent
  • 2 September, 2022 12:00 AM
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Search for stable opening pair continues
Bangladesh openers Mehidy Hasan Miraz (left) and Sabbir Rahman take a run during the T20 Asia Cup Twenty20 Group B match against Sri Lanka at Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on Thursday. —AFP PHOTO

With barely two months to go before the ICC T20 World Cup, Bangladesh are yet to find a stable opening pair for the shortest format following the departure of Tamim Iqbal.

Since Tamim, who already has announced his T20I retirement, played his last game in this format on March 9, 2020, the Tigers played 38 T20Is so far but they are yet to find a perfect opening pair.

Bangladesh, which opened with two regular openers Anamul Haque Bijoy and Mohammad Naim during their opening Group B game of the ongoing T20 Asia Cup against Afghanistan, decided to drop the duo during their do-or-die game against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

The move forced the team management to come up with the 14th opening pair that they have played since the departure of Tamim from the shortest format.

Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Sabbir Rahman came to start the innings after Sri Lanka invited them to bat in Dubai but the move hardly proved dividend, as the pair could add only 19 runs before Sabbir(five), was removed by Asitha Fernando as he edged to the wicketkeeper Kusal Mendis while trying to play a pull.

Mehidy and Sabbir were 11th and 12th different batters, who were tried at the top by the team management in these 38 games with Naim getting chances in a maximum of 30 games.

Liton Das, who missed the Asia Cup due to injury, opened the innings in 20 games.

He and Naim opened the innings for Bangladesh for the most number of times during this time frame – 14 innings to be precise.

With Naim not looking to get another chance at the top and Liton is all but certain to get back his position at the top, now the team management is desperately looking to give him a stable opening partner.

Mehidy, who struck 28-ball 36 with two fours and two sixes, looked to be the new candidate considering the team management seems to be convinced that Anamul is not suited for the shortest format.

“It’s true that we are still struggling to find a suitable opening pair for the shortest format and we need to fix it as soon as possible considering we don’t have much time before the ICC T20 World Cup,” Chief Selector Minhajul Abedin told The Daily Sun on Thursday.

“More or less Liton looks to be settled in the opening position but to be honest, it is difficult to find a suitable replacement for Tamim and that is the reason we had to try so many options.

“It’s too early to say whether Miraz (Mehidy) will fill his shoes but one thing is for sure he certainly enters the race as a candidate,” he added.