Reason why Nazmul stays but Soumya doesn’t

Soumya Sarkar was called up to the Bangladesh national side in midst of the recent Asia Cup, and had to fly for the UAE after getting an emergency call from Bangladesh team management.

Reason why Nazmul stays but Soumya doesn't
Both Soumya and Nazmul failed to be on top of their game during the Asia Cup 2018. Credit: Prothom Alo

He failed in the initial attempts, but made a decent comeback, contributing a crucial 33-run knock in the Asia Cup final when other middle and late-middle order batsmen were struggling to hold on to the creatse. Still he is not in Bangladesh’s 15-man squad for the ODI series against Zimbabwwe.

On the other hand, Nazmul Hossain partook in three of Bangladesh’s Asia Cup matches, but missed out on utilizing the opportunities to prove his mantle. Rather, he was able to score just 20 runs in those three matches. But even then, he has been retained for the impending Zimbabwe ODIs.

So quite naturally this question arises why Soumya has been dropped from the squad while Nazmul continues to be a part of it. But selector Habibul Bashar doesn’t see any basic ground for such question.

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“Why is not there any logic (to keep Nazmul in the squad)? We have to create players for the future. So we can not afford to eliminate one player just after observing his performance in only three matches. If we do so, then the process (of grooming up young talent) will remain unfinished,” said Bashar.

“We should give him (Nazmul) one more opportunities. Todays established players like Shakib, Tamim, Mushfiqur also got chances during their early days. Not every player can be on top of his game from the very beginning of his career. But we invest so much behind any specific player, don’t we?

“He made a century (173) even in the last round of the National Cricket League (NCL). He made runs in the last Dhaka Premier League. He made runs in the High Performance team. He was among the runs even in the age-level sides as well. So we need to provide him with another chance to make him prepared for international cricket.”

So the decision to keep Nazmul in the squad and give him one more opportunity is nicely justified by the former Bangladesh captain fondly called as Mr. Fifty. But what about Soumya? He could play just two matches in the Asia Cup, that too without any proper preparation before taking the field midway through the competition. Still Soumya didn’t fare that bad, specially compared to Nazmul. Then, is it really okay to throw him away so soon?

Bashar’s reply is as follows, “Soumya has been playing (in the national team) for a long time. But as a player he has not been in good rhythm. And there, we have to prepare Shanto (Nazmul) for the future. We have to prepare players such as Shanto and Rabbi (Fazle) with enough time. Once Soumya finds rhythm, he will be brought back to the team again.

“Keeping in mind the future prospect, we all need some good players. But for some unknown reasons, we don’t seem too keen to provide new players with enought opportunity, whereas we really need to nurture them with great care and patience. But without enough match playing experience, how can we evaluate the readiness of a players? Shakib is such a big name today, but could you see it coming when he first started his journey?”

A few days ago, Soumya asked the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) for the No Objection Certificate (NoC) to play in the Afghanistan Premier League (APL). But at that time, his request, alongside that of Mohammad Mithun’s, was declined, with Akram Khan claiming the move was to save him for the upcoming international assignments. But now we see, even though Mithun is in the Zimbabwe ODI squad, Soumya is nowhere to be seen. Then what was the problem to allow him play in the ongoing franchise-based T20 tournament?

Soumya aims to bounce back

Bashar said, “The NCL is going on. Which one is more important to get back to rhythm – play in 20-over cricket or in the four-day matches? Where can you bat for a longer period between first-class cricket and 20 overs? You can even bat for two days if you want in first class cricket. Liton Das has just struck a double century. You can’t do that in T20 cricket.

“Getting runs in the first-class cricket inflicts more confidence in you than if you score runs in any T20 game. You can’t get enough time to do well in 20 overs. But you will get that in first-class cricket. Yes, you will earn more money in T20s. But also remember that first-class cricket too is like an investment for a cricketer. If you want to work on your batting, there simply can not be any better option other than first-class cricket.”

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