After winning their opening game against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh were thumped by 136 runs by Afghanistan in the last group encounter. Then on Friday (September 21), they lost to India by seven wickets in the Super Four round. In both the games it was their batsmen that let them down, getting bundled out for 119 and 173 respectively. Even in the match that they won against Sri Lanka, it was Mushfiqur Rahim (144) and Mohammad Mithun (63) who did all the scoring.
After Tamim Iqbal fractured his wrist in the first match, the opening duo of Liton Das and Nazmul Hossain Shanto has failed horribly. In three games, Liton has only managed 13 runs, while Shanto has 14 runs.
Both Sarkar and Kayes last featured in an ODI in October 2017 against South Africa. While Sarkar has 967 runs in ODIs at 34.53, Kayes has scored 1998 runs in 70 50-over games at 28.95.
“Because of Tamim’s injury, the opening situation is shaky,” the Bangladesh Cricket Board cricket operations chairman Akram Khan said. “We have not seen a good performance from the opener in two matches. The team management talked about one opener – we decided not to take a risk and brought in two. We talked to the team management and the board president (Nazzmul Hassan) and decided to bring in Imrul and Soumya.
“It was a great opportunity for Shanto and Liton. But they could not score runs, so we naturally had to think of another plan.”
Talking about the new inclusions, captain Mashrafe Mortaza said: “I was in the field then (when the decision was announced), so I am not clear about it. Look, those who are coming have also lost their places in the team.
"As I said, I am not sure – there has not been a discussion on this. But they (Sarkar and Kayes) have been dropped because they have not performed. And in these conditions, coming in suddenly and taking the pressure – I don’t know what they have done technically, whether they have rectified the problems for which they were dropped in the first place.
“So all these things will matter in such a tournament. And particularly in the Afghanistan match -- if you think about it, they will have to face even tougher bowlers. For sure, it won’t be easy for anyone – not for those who are currently playing, nor for those coming in. But everything in international cricket is tough – and you have to score, bat well and bowl well within that, and we have staged comebacks like this. Nothing is impossible, whoever plays has to take a little responsibility.”
Bangladesh will next take on Afghanistan on Sunday, with both teams playing to keep themselves alive in the tournament.
First Published: September 22, 2018, 12:05 PM IST