Bangladesh selection policy begs for consistency and conviction

Bangladesh cricket team flew to Colombo yesterday has a few changes from their world cup squad. Couple of them were forced changes. Mashrafe Mortaza and Mohammad Saifuddin missed out at the last moment for injury concerns.

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Shakib Al Hasan and Liton Das opted out from this series for personal reasons. Shakib is on a family vacation after completing a successful World Cup campaign with individual brilliance. Liton Das is busy with his wedding ceremony.

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Abu Jayed Rahi, who was the only member of the Bangladesh World Cup not to play a single match, is now discarded.

The selection policy of Bangladesh national cricket team has raised few eyebrows. It has been inconsistent and lacks conviction. Taskin Ahmed, the second-highest wicket-taker of last edition’s BPL, was not included in preliminary World cup squad because he was deemed unfit. Many argued the selection committee could take a risk as the deadline for submitting the final squad was a month away, and Taskin was recovering quickly.

Then two weeks prior the World Cup team management ask to include Taskin Ahmed in place of Rahi, but the selection committee snubbed the request. Although many teams changed players before the deadline, Bangladesh remained unchanged.

Throughout the World Cup Bangladesh struggled for a strike bowler who could pick up wickets at the start of the innings and during the middle period. Bangladesh was the worst bowling team at the first power play, and it played a massive role in the team’s disappointing performance.

Now, let’s go back to the fitness of the squad. The captain played with a grade 2 tear in his hamstring. Mahmudullah Riyad played with a shoulder injury. Saifuddin had to take injections to play because of back and tennis elbow injury. Keeper Mushfiqur is playing with a broken rib for a while now. When half the squad is ravaged with injuries, it is baffling why Bangladesh couldn’t wait for their strike bowler and the highest wicket-taker of their previous World Cup campaign?

Bangladesh has called back Batsman AnamulHaque who is making a come back after a while. He played his last international match in Bangladesh’s tour of West Indies and couldn’t take his chances. Now he will have another opportunity to cement his position in the team.

Imrul Kayes who was the highest run-getter and first choice opener even a couple of series ago was not considered. Yasir Ali and Nayeem Hasan, two young prospects with bat and ball were included in Ireland tour as backups for the World Cup were also not considered. Fazle Rabbi ‘the complete package’ is out of favor for the national team after two matches.

Thirty-four years old Farhad Reza is called upon to replace Saifuddin. Players of his age (Tushar Imran) or even juniors (Nayeem Islam) were deemed too old for the national team even after making tons of runs in first-class cricket. While it is good to see Farhad Reza still fighting for a place in the national team, one may wonder if it would be better for the team to give youngsters a chance in a low key series right after the world cup.

If Bangladesh wants to do their performance better in the next world cup or the upcoming T20 World Cup next year, they must try out youngsters to create backups for every position so that the team does not have to carry injured players throughout a significant tournament and perform way below than expected as they did in this edition.

-Saadat Ullah Kawser

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