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Shakib: Imrul, Soumya inclusions unusual

  • Published at 08:29 pm September 22nd, 2018
Bangladesh's Shakib al Hasan briefs the media in the UAE BCB

Shakib al Hasan said the way Imrul Kayes and Soumya Sarkar got included for the remainder of the tournament is unusual, but did inform that it was based on the team’s needs

Bangladesh ODI vice-captain Shakib al Hasan found the inclusions of openers Imrul Kayes and Soumya Sarkar “unusual” due to the manner in which they were announced.

The BCB Friday night declared the inclusions of left-handed batsmen Imrul and Soumya in the squad for the Asia Cup. The decision had come in between the Bangladesh-India Super Four game at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

It is understood that discussions of bringing in a back-up batsman had taken place ever since regular opener Tamim Iqbal sustained an injury in Bangladesh’s first game of the tournament. But a final call was made based on the failures of the other two openers in the shape of Liton Das and Nazmul Hossain Shanto. 

The duo have not been able to get Bangladesh off to a smooth start as the Tigers lost against Afghanistan (in the group stage) and later, against India.

Shakib said the way Imrul and Soumya got included for the remainder of the tournament is unusual, but did inform that it was based on the team’s needs.

“It is a little unusual, because it does not normally happen. But these decisions can be taken according to the team’s needs,” said Shakib to the media at the team hotel in Dubai Saturday.

Both Imrul and Soumya are returning to the ODI fold having last played a 50-over game in national colours in October 2017 during Bangladesh’s tour of South Africa. The duo were dropped from the format due to their under-performance and since then, have not posted impressive enough scores to make a return.

Imrul and Soumya were playing a four-day practice game for the BCB HP in Khulna when they were informed of their inclusions. The two batsmen travelled to Dhaka Friday night and are scheduled to board the Dubai flight from Dhaka Saturday evening. 

With Bangladesh playing their second Super Four game, against Afghanistan, Sunday afternoon in Abu Dhabi, there are concerns if any of the two batsmen will be ready for the game.

There is also the factor of adapting to the harsh Middle Eastern conditions. Bangladesh had come to Dubai a week before the tournament in order to cope with the climate.

“The team management can talk about it better, I don’t have the answer. It is also not guaranteed that those who are coming in will play. Since you get the news maybe you will also get the news of who is playing and who is not,” said Shakib.

There are also questions as to whether the inclusions of the two openers are justified. Both Soumya and Imrul since getting axed from the ODI squad have not made any remarkable performances in order to get back to the team. 

The selections were fully based on the duo’s experience in ODI cricket, and the team’s requirements, thus exposing the weak national pool. Imrul till date has played 70 ODIs while Soumya since his debut in 2014 has featured in 32 ODIs. 

There are also doubts if the two will be able to relieve Bangladesh of the opening struggles. It is also being discussed what message does it send to Liton and Shanto. 

There is the belief that since Shanto had just made his debut, putting him in such a situation is an injustice, and might crush his confidence.

“Let’s see, you will have to have faith in someone or the other. We will try to keep that faith in someone or the other, and we hope that they will deliver,” said Shakib.

“We put so much pressure on them in such a short time, that their chances of performing well reduce even further. The people you are talking about – the four or five of us – we were never superheroes. You may be considering our careers over the last two, three, four years. But the previous six or seven years, the cricket we have played, how well did we actually play? People start doing well only after encountering many situations and learning from them. Maybe we are not able to give them the chance or create that situation,” he explained.