Despite Pakistan’s on-field strength the side can sometimes have really poor days and put up a flat performance, which they have done twice against India with two meek losses so far in the tournament
Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes said the game against Pakistan is going be a tough one for his side but at the same time only good cricket can take the Tigers to success in the game. Bangladesh will take on Pakistan in the last game of the Super Four round in the Asia Cup in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
The former English cricketer is also banking on Pakistan and their unpredictability, and how an off day of theirs can give Bangladesh the edge. Despite Pakistan’s on-field strength the side can sometimes have really poor days and put up a flat performance, which they have done twice against India with two meek losses so far in the tournament. The winning side in the game will move forward to the finals thus turning the fixture into a virtual semi-final.
“They are a tough team but they could be a bit unpredictable. Let’s hope they have an off day and we play well, we are going to win. But we don’t know which Pakistan is going turn up and that is not in our control. What we can control is what we do and how we play and the objective for our team is to have a good day,” said Rhodes in Dubai on Tuesday.
Bangladesh have been chopping and changing the team combination in every match – some due to injuries, while others have been due to players on performing to their expected levels. The last game, against Afghanistan, saw the side bring in two changes as left-arm spinner in Nazmul Islam Apu and top order batsman Imrul Kayes came in but he batted in middle-order for the first time in his career.
With Tamim Iqbal getting ruled out from the competition over a fractured left index finger, the side has had a difficult time finding an opener that can fill his massive shoes. The side tried to find a replacement in Nazmul Hossain Shanto but he has failed to deliver so far. The only saving grace for Shanto is that he has played just three ODIs since making his debut in Bangladesh’s second game of the tournament. But given the importance of the game against Pakistan, the side might bring in an experienced Soumya Sarkar. Soumya, along with Imrul were not part of the initial Bangladesh squad and was only included on urgent basis with the opening partnership of Shanto and Liton Das consistently faltering. It is also likely that pacer Rubel Hossain will come back in place of Apu under consideration of Pakistan’s strength against the left-arm spinners.
The Bangladesh team was waiting for the BCB president Nazmul Hasan to reach Dubai before making a final call on the starting eleven. It is understood that the BCB boss does not directly intervene with the starting eleven selections while confirming the team ahead of a crucial game. Nazmul was to reach Dubai on Tuesday evening.
“Of course we’d love to get off to a good start. Every coach would want that. It doesn’t always happen. Sadly with Tamim breaking his finger in that first game was a big blow to us. We picked Shanto to take his place and give him an opportunity as a young man who has got a lot of talent. And he’s not quite done it yet. So his place will be looked at in selection,” Rhodes informed.
“As you see (Soumya) he is practicing here today (Tuesday) and like all our players they are up for selection in this game. We haven’t selected the side yet and as I said before, we are going to sit down very shortly with the captain and selectors and pick the 11. So he’s desperate to play, like all the 17 players are desperate to play,” stated the Bangladesh coach.