Left-handed handed Nazmul Hossain Shanto is the major contender to fill-in the shoes for Tamim and open for Bangladesh, along with Liton Das on the other end of the crease, with the remaining line up to be the same
With two days to the second and the final group game against Afghanistan in the ongoing ACC Asia Cup 2018, the Bangladesh camp contemplating possible replacements for the injured Tamim Iqbal. He sustained a wrist fracture after being hit by a Suranga Lakmal bouncer in the second over of the tournament’s opening game against Sri Lanka in Dubai last Saturday.
And on Monday, medical reports forced the left-handed opener out of the tournament officially. It is understood that initial reports suggest Tamim might not need surgery but will take at least six-weeks to recover.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh think-tank are discussing the probable batsmen who could take the vacant opening slot. Left-handed handed Nazmul Hossain Shanto is the major contender to fill-in the shoes for Tamim and open for Bangladesh, along with Liton Das on the other end of the crease, with the remaining line up to be the same. There was a bit of a concern with Mushfiqur Rahim’s rib sprain but with proper rest and conditioning the wicket-keeper batsman will be available for the game.
In that case, the game against Afghanistan will be the ODI debut for Shanto, who has been in the periphery of the national fold since 2017. Shanto played one Test for Bangladesh against New Zealand in Christchurch on January 2017, since his international debut.
Shanto was picked in the game as a middle-order batsman. But the Rajshahi lad is well experienced and flexible having batted at any order, both in domestic cricket and also for the Bangladesh A team. Shanto had batted at number three in the T20 series and at number four in the fifth one-day game in Bangladesh A team on tour of Ireland. He was unavailable for most of the tour having been a member of the Bangladesh squad on tour of the West Indies.
The option of putting Mohammad Mithun as an opener is also another option being discussed. Mithun, in his four ODI appearances has opened once with Tamim, against Sri Lank in January this year but had scored only 10 runs as the Bangladesh batting struggled to 142 runs chasing 221 in the tri-nations final. In the Ireland tour with Bangladesh A team, the right-handed batsman batted in the middle order during the one-day series and once as an opener in the T20 series.
As far as getting an extra batsman to join the squad in UAE, the team management is in a dilemma. Though team manager Khaled Mahmud officially stated of the management not thinking of bringing in a new member to the squad, there remains a possibility. However there has been no particular choice if the team should get a batsman, an all-rounder or a bowler.
Bangladesh had come to the UAE for the Asia Cup 2018 with a 16-member squad, with the inclusion of Mominul Haque in the last minute as back-up for Shakib Al Hasan. Shakib was a concern due to the finger injury he has been carrying from January this year, ahead of the team departing Dhaka.
Bangladesh had a flying start to the Asia Cup defeating Sri Lanka to put one leg in the second round and now looks forward to winning the Afghanistan game to finish as group champions.