Bangladesh’s much-criticized young players have finally started complementing their seniors resulting in two back-to-back series wins for them in shorter versions in the just-concluded tour of West Indies.
Not many teams are as reliant as Bangladesh on their select group of senior players, who orchestrated their most of the wins at home and abroad in the recent time.
Baring few exceptions, young players could not contribute significantly in most of the wins, something that left country’s cricket administrators and coaches highly concerned.
But things somewhat changed in West Indies, especially in Twenty20s, where young players like Mustafizur Rahman, Liton Das, Abu Hider could make vital contribution in 2-1 series win.
Senior players led the charge once again but the young players also responded to the call for performance, enabling the side beating reigning world champions in the Twenty20 format in two consecutive matches.
Liton was man-of-the-match on one occasion while Mustafiz claimed eight wickets, the highest by any Bangladeshi in a Twenty20 series equalling the record of Elias Sunny, who claimed eighth wickets against Ireland in 2012.
The most surprising performance, however, perhaps came from Hider, who patiently waited for his chance, then delivered when it was given to him.
Hider’s one wicket in two matches could hardly explain his bowling in the series as he bowled exceptionally well with the new ball during the batting power-play and also kept his composure at the death.
Spinner Nazmul Islam successfully defended 19 runs in the final over of the second match when many other accomplished bowlers failed to do so in the past.
Their small but valuable contribution was added to Tamim Iqbal’s sagacious batting and Sakib al Hasan’s all-round performance completing the turnaround for Bangladesh in the tour.
The collective effort, rarely seen for Bangladesh in recent series, has prompted former chief selector Faruque Ahmed to ask for keeping this group together for a long time in order to get better result.
‘This Twenty20 team looked really good to me,’ said Faruque while speaking to New Age on Tuesday. ‘If we can retain this team, if they can play together this will be good for us.
‘Of late our performance was downsliding in shorter versions. The way we were expecting, our young players could not deliver,’ observed Faruque, also a former national captain.
‘But it is also true that we could not give them enough chances. Sometime we gave chance three to four players together and then kept them off. We must give them chances consistently... . we have to give them courage and use them consistently,’ said Farque.
Farque, who earned a reputation of backing young players during his separate terms as chief selector, urged the current team-management to use the right player in right place and at a right time.
‘They have to be given chance in right position, in right time. Liton, we know is a very good limited over player. But we have seen him playing Test in top order.
‘So I think whoever has got the talent for which job he should be utilised there. We should use Liton in more in shorter versions.
‘We brought Soumya in Test early, then we played him as an opener, middle order batsman and now he started failing in shorter versions too. We must think of this,’ he said.
Soumya scored just 19 runs in three matches but again, he batted in three different positions in three matches.
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