Bangladesh’s ODI skipper Tamim Iqbal feels that picking senior cricketers like Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah would have been better for the side ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup to be held in Australia later in the month.
Co-incidentally, Rahim retired from T20Is three days after Bangladesh crashed out of Asia Cup 2022 in the UAE while Mahmudullah failed to make the cut for the World Cup after a prolonged lean patch with the bat.
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“I told you earlier if Mushfiqur (Rahim), Riyad (Mahmudullah) were there in this big stage like the World Cup, then I think it would have been better. Since you carried such senior cricketers for the whole year, then why (exclude) them just before the World Cup," Tamim was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz at a private programme in a city hotel.
Despite the exclusion of the senior duo, Tamim backed youngsters like Afif Hossain and Yasir Ali to come good in the mega event. Afif, the left-handed batter, has been among the runs in middle-order, and recently, he hit an unbeaten 77 against UAE in Dubai. “At the same time, I will say that who are replacing them like Yasir Rabbi, is one whom I rate very highly… Afif is playing extremely well."
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“The only request I can make, because that is the only thing I can do, and that is, we may have different opinions on who may or may not be in the side, but no one forces their way into the side and we should not write off someone before they even play a game. Maybe you can have questions regarding someone’s inclusion but someone else might have a plan about him and you must give him that chance," added Iqbal.
Bangladesh have also made a tweak in their opening combination, with Mehidy Hasan and Sabbir Rahman at the top in the ongoing tri-series in New Zealand. Iqbal felt though opening the batting is a specialist job, he opined that Mehidy and Sabbir should be given a fair run and could even succeed at the top, citing India captain Rohit Sharma as an example.
“I am sure there is a reason behind it or else why are they doing it? If it does not click, they should have other plans and I am sure they have it. If someone is not performing in one or two games, instead of getting over (criticising) him, we should support him, because all of us want to do well in the World Cup. If we can win two to three matches, it would be an achievement because Bangladesh have not won many matches in the World Cup. Let us all be positive and see what happens."
“I feel someone who opens should come out opening, but if there is any definite plan about it I cannot say that it is wrong. Rohit Sharma, one of the greatest openers in the history of the game, used to bat at five or six. Someone must have planned for him and he opened and now he has around 25 centuries to his name. So I cannot say that he won’t be able to make it, neither Miraj nor Sabbir, and we need to give them time," he concluded.
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