Mashrafe led Team Tigers is on the threshold of yet another ODI series whitewash against lowly Zimbabwe. First match was a cake walk. Complacent Bangladesh had a great escape in the second in wrapping up the series. Now in the third we are sure the right combination would make it easy for achieving the series white wash. This being the last opportunity for testing youngsters Bangladesh could see how youngsters Naim or Affif adjust. But for the own follies of team think tank resting the two leading wicket takers Saifuddin and Mustafiz for match two that opportunity has been squandered. Now for filling in the void that would be created for Mushfique not going to Pakistan Soumya Sarkar has been added to the squad and in all probabilities would play.
Whatever might happen, whether it is a white wash or not we must stand up and admire the way tourists has bounced back in match two responding to a huge Bangladesh set target of 323. Much better bowling and fielding was expected from Mashrafe squad even it was an easy paced bowlers graveyard. On a day when flamboyant Tamim toyed with Zimbabwean bowlers Bangladesh huffed and puffed in subduing effervescent Zimbabweans. They came just one stroke close for upsetting and setting a new milestone.
For a while BCB selection committee and senior policy makers are talking too much about team composition and senior players. Loss of form and inconsistency is a common phenomenon in world cricket. Look at team India. Have not got a comprehensive white wash in ODI and Test Series against New Zealand in New Zealand. Has anyone heard BCCI President Sourav Ganguly talking about it. Will Indian selection committee appear too often in the media to explain? It seems that people never playing cricket of quality anywhere and some persons representing Bangladesh at their time get too much concerned. Media also create hypes.Tamim had no issues, he was just feeling his way back after staying away from international cricket for a while. Has he not responded his self styled critics with a bang? Mushfique is one of most accomplished cricketer ever born in Bangladesh. He has every right as a citizen of Bangladesh going or not going to play cricket anywhere. None can tell a big boy what to do and what not. Mashrafe has nothing to prove to anyone as far as playing cricket. Same can be told about Mahmudullah.
For the final match of the series now there is not much scope for experiment. I would suggest bringing back Saifuddin and Mustafiz and playing Soumya in place of Mehedy Miraj. Soumya can bat at six and bowl few overs. He will definitely go to Pakistan with the team.
Now the very important question is - Who will lead the team in Pakistan? Is it going to be swansong of great Mashrafe tomorrow at SNCS? From two matches that Mash played and bowled, he appears all right at least to continue till Shakib is back and takes the mantle from him. This team under Mashrafe has opportunity for winning against Pakistan in Pakistan.
Tamim once he is back in his belligerent form will continue tweeting. Liton will continue glowing. There may be temptation for playing Soumya in place of Nazmul Shanto at three. But given the situation that Mushfique would not be available for Pakistan Shanto must not be rested in the match. In absence of Mushfique Mithun can bat at four and Mahmudullah at five and Soumya at six. There can be a dilemma whether playing Afiff at seven. Saifuddin, Mushfique, Taijul and Mustafiz should complete the team.
I think flawed strategy of resting Saifuddin and Mustafiz and a bit of complacency almost cost Bangladesh the match. Hope Mashrafe and the team would not let that happen again. It will be great when Bangladesh achieve the series whitewash. It will put Bangladesh in good stead for a very challenging mission Pakistan next month.
My suggested team:
Tamim, Liton, Nazmul Shanto, Mahmudullah, Mithun, Soumya, Afiff, Saifuddin, Mashrafee, Taijul, Mustafiz.
BDST: 1210 HRS, MAR 05, 2020