Bangladesh preliminary squad analysis- Top Order
Let’s take a look into openers in the 30 man squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 announced by the BCB.
Openers: Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Imrul Kayes, Shamsur Rahman
The opening slot has often been the bone of contention for Bangladeshi teams in the past. Other than Tamim Iqbal, no other opener in the recent years have been able to establish themselves for a long term basis in the team in recent years. However, the performances of Anamul Haque in ODI’s in the year 2014 have changed the notion somewhat, as his stats show.
Matches played in 2014- 18
Strike Rate- 70.34
Certainly impressive stats for a Bangladeshi opener, and his temperament and eagerness to play for long periods have been lauded by the pundits. However, his statistical brilliance covers certain flaws which need to be corrected. One of his main problem has been footwork, or the lack of it. Often he tends to hang his bat out with no feet movement, resulting in the ball catching the edge of the bat and going to the keeper or the slips. Another example is with the incoming deliveries, as he tends to stay back in his crease instead of coming forwards and meeting the ball with the full face of the bat, Result, he gets into awkward positions and gets bowled or lbw. With conditions in Australia and New Zealand expected to favour seamers, he needs to work on this issue, and the positive thing is, he knows his problems and is keen to improve.
Another problem with Anamul is his strike rate. 70 isn’t too bad for an opener, but not that good either. While most openers tend to start slow and make up for it once they get set in ODI’s, Anamul tends to concede dot deliveries at almost every stage of the innings, even when he is well set in powerplays. One cannot deny the importance of singles in One Day games to keep the scoreboard ticking, and as a result, Anamul would do well to work with the support staff regarding this issue. His ability to score runs cannot be denied, and this might make him an automatic choice in the 15 man squad along with Tamim.
The other two openers in the squad are Shamsur Rahman and Imrul Kayes. Imrul has made a comeback into the international side recently, and while he has two hundreds in the Test matches in the last 2 games, 75 runs in last 5 matches does not make up a good stat. However, in the only match Imrul has opened, he has scored 59 (against Pakistan, Asia Cup 2014). He hasn’t looked comfortable at No. 3, though, and as a back up opener, he looks a better prospect than Shamsur, who has just 83 runs in the last 7 games he’s played.
Ultimately, it is the selectors who will make the final call, and as the Dhaka Premier League is going on, Shamsur might still make the cut with some blazing performances. However, considering all factors till now, it is likely that Tamim, Anamul and Imrul are flying to Australia as openers.