Shakib batted at number three for Bangladesh in the last few years and had a superb run of form at top order
Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo informed Shakib al Hasan will bat at number four and young left hander Nazmul Hossian Shanto will bat at number three for Tigers in the forthcoming ODI series against West Indies.
Shakib batted at number three for Bangladesh in the last few years and had a superb run of form at top order. The southpaw batted at number three in 23 games for Bangladesh scoring 1177 runs with a brilliant average of 58.58. He had a stellar World Cup in 2019 batting at number three as he scored 606 runs in eight innings with an average of 86.57.
After the World Cup Shakib had not played in the ODI series against Sri Lanka before he faced a one-year ban imposed by ICC for failing to inform the approach of bookies.
On his return, the all-rounder played for Gemcon Khulna in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup and batted at number three or even in the opening position for quite a few times. But the left-hander did not enjoy good time with the bat as he scored only 110 runs in nine games with just 12.22 average.
On the other hand, Shanto batted at number three in the absence of Shakib in the last ODI series, against Zimbabwe at home, and team management is giving the youngster more opportunities to solidify his spot at the top order.
Shanto is in good form in the shorter formats recently and head coach Domingo said he is opting for a more experienced middle order with Shakib, Muhfiqur Rahim and Mahamudullah at number four, five and six respectively.
“It is great to have Shakib back. He had an unbelievable World Cup at No 3. At the moment I am probably thinking of having the experienced players of four, five and six being Shakib, Mushfiq and Riyad. It gives us good maturity and experience in the middle-order. We know playing in the sub-continent where the middle-order is so important,” said Domingo to the media on a press conference on Monday.
“Shakib hasn’t played international cricket in a while so batting at No 4 would give him the breathing space coming back into the side. We know he is a world-class player. This batting line-up is not set in stone. There’s a long way to go for the World Cup. We need to look at various options before we settle on a batting line-up,” he added.
The coach also believes Shanto is in good touch to feel the void at the crucial number three spot and top order is a good spot to develop young players like Shanto.
“Obviously Shanto has been in really good form. I just feel that there’s a good young player in Shanto who is in really good touch at the moment. He played in the last series against Zimbabwe and we need to make sure that we develop some young batters. In the sub-continent the top three is the best place to develop young batsmen.”
Bangladesh have another option at top order as Soumya Sarker has opened for Tigers for a long time. But Domingo believes Soumya’s clean hitting ability can be used at number seven position which is very crucial in the fifty-over format of the game.
“At the moment I think the top-order is pretty established with Tamim and Liton opening the batting. We want to maybe have a look at Soumya in the middle order. We are trying to find someone that can be a power hitter in the back-end of our innings, and maybe bowl a few overs. At the moment we are looking at Soumya to finish games with Riyad. He has experience and he is a clean hitter of the ball. I have a lot of faith in his batting.”
Bangladesh will play their first game of the three-match ODI series against West Indies on Wednesday at Mirpur’s SBNS.