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Dhaka Tribune

Competition for opening slots pleases Bangladesh coach

The competition for the two opening spots is now more intense with Liton coming into the fold for the series against NZ

Update : 30 Aug 2021, 08:21 PM

Bangladesh cricket team head coach Russell Domingo has been enjoying the competition in the dressing room between the openers to get a place in the side.

Batters Mohammad Naim and Soumya Sarkar were given the charge of  opening in the last two T20I series – against Zimbabwe and Australia.

The duo had done well in Zimbabwe but struggled in Dhaka conditions against Australia.

The competition for the two opening spots is now more intense with Liton Das coming into the fold for the series against New Zealand.

And the competition is likely to intensify if prominent opener Tamim Iqbal joins the fold for the T20 World Cup recovering from knee injury.

“We recently made a Bangladesh record [of 102 runs between Soumya and Naim] in opening partnership in T20Is, so I don’t see it being a problem whatsoever. Liton is back in the squad. I will need to sit with the selectors over the next day to find what the XI is going to be. We have three guys who can open the batting – Soumya, Liton and Naim. With the selection panel, we will make a decision in the next 24 hours,” said Domingo. 

“Competition for places is always a great situation to be in. You cannot just have 11 players who you think will win games for you. It has to be a squad, particularly with the pandemic bubble life and traveling restrictions. It is an important part of a team’s performance to make sure that you have a squad of players available who can perform. It is great to have those players back but also, we have a bit of depth development in this format too,” the former South African cricketer added.

Naim made his international debut in 2019 against hosts India.

Till date the left-handed batsman has played 17 T20Is and scored 465 runs at an average of 29.06.

His best, an 81-run innings, had come against India on debut. 

“He [Naim] will be a fantastic player for Bangladesh in white-ball cricket. He is still finding his feet. Regarding his technique and ability, his work ethic has been fantastic. He has played some good innings for us. He has done some work against spin, when trying to rotate strike. I am very pleased with his progress,” said Domingo.

Domingo is excited with the prospect of off-spin all-rounder Mahedi Hasan.

The right-handed batsman since his debut in 2018 has batted at different positions.

In his debut game, Mahedi came out to bat at No 8 against Sri Lanka and batted in the same position on three more occasions.

At No 3 Mahedi batted twice, and three times at No 7.

In the last series against Australia, the batter was sent at No 4 in the second game and in the fifth and final game of the series, he was asked to open.  

“He [Mahedi] is almost a free player for us. A 20 off 12 balls from him is a big contribution for the team. He has played some important little cameos for us in certain stages. We will use him up the order when we feel we need a little bit of aggression or explosiveness to get ahead of the run-rate. It is not going to be a regular occurrence. He has done really well in domestic T20s, but it is a big step-up to international cricket,” said Domingo.

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