Team Tiger head coach South African Russell Domingo has indicated his preferred batting order for ODI team as Tamim, Liton, Nazmul, Shakib, Mushfique, Mahmudullah and Soumya Sarkar. If Saifuddin and three bowlers are added that would possibly make the playing XI. Off course the Head Coach is an important feature of team management. He must have a plan. He also indicated that he wants exploiting the clean striking ability of Soumya down the order. He also wants to utilize the bowling ability of Soumya as much as possible. We all know Soumya is a clean striker of the ball and performs inconsistently as the opener. But having been an ardent follower of Bangladesh cricket over 5 decades would like to critically review thoughts of the head coach.
There cannot be any semblance of doubt that Tamim and Liton are the best choice as openers at the moment. Coach wants gambling with Nazmul Shanto at number three and possibly to facilitate that he thought of demoting Soumya to number 7 from his usual position as opener or number three. But in our opinion Soumya suits well against new ball and would not prove better than a few others at number 7. Why Shakib Al Hasan proving so successful as number three in ICC World Cup 2019 cannot bat at number three? Why the nucleus of Bangladesh batting Mushafique has to bat at five? Are these being done to accommodate Nazmul Shanto in the team? Not questioning the ability of Shanto. But at this moment he cannot be the first-choice number three. He is not an automatic choice in the first eleven. Would have liked inclusion of Mosaddeq Hossain in the team and making him bat at Number 7. His tight off spin would have given option to Tamim. With Mustafiz , Taskin , Shoriful , Rubel , Saifuddin in the squad Soumya’s bowling is not essential. If Soumya is in the playing eleven he should bat at the top order.
My suggested team in that circumstance should be
Tamim Iqbal, Liton K Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riad, Mehedy Miraj, Mohammad Saifuddin, Taijul, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, and Shoriful Islam / Rubel.
Soumya and Nazmul Shanto must be in the Squad as reserve. Bangladesh needs to experiment with bowling options. Against the depleted West Indies attack the top batsmen must be given more opportunities for getting into their strides. Soumya can be a backup opener. Taijul must be there as Shakib is yet to find his form with the ball. Bangladesh must explore the batting quality of Mehedy Miraj relying on his skills.
In view of above cannot completely agree with Domingo strategy about playing Soumya at number 7. He is an opener. There is no reason for wasting his talent. If he grows as an all-rounder that is OK. Rather Domingo should try and develop Saifuddin and Mehedy Miraj as well as newcomer Mehedi Hasan as ideal player at 7,8 and 9 for the future.
BDST: 1210 HRS, JAN 19, 2021