Their reputations bruised and battered after humiliating loss in tri-nation final and Test series against Sri Lanka, A new-look Bangladesh T20 side under stand-in captain Mahmudullah Riyad are eager to turn their fortunes around and restore some pride in the 20-overs games, starting with the first T20 against Sri Lanka in Mirpur today.
Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium is all set to host the first T20 match which is scheduled to start at 5:00pm today.
One of the few experiences in Bangladesh’s T20 side, captain Mahmudullahwill face a different kind of challenge when he will lead an understrength Bangladesh T20 side as a youthful side to test its bench strength as seniors like Shakib, Mushfiq, Tamim all have been injured.
Mahmudullah, who has mostly played a formidable Bangladesh teams in the past, will head into the series with a bunch of youngsters, including six uncapped players.
The recent past successions of Mahmudullah’s captaincy in all three formats of cricket in domestic league is still quite fresh in memory. Khulna Titans were able to seal last four berth in last two editions of BPL and credit should be given to their captain Mahmudullah who led from the front with standout all-round display throughout the tournament.
Khulna Titans may failed to face the final hurdle but their captain Mahmudullah won a million hearts with his stupendous captaincy.
“As I got the responsibility, I will show my best effort.I will try to do what I do. I always believe randomness and try to inspire my mates. You cannot expect the best effort from a cricketer unless he cannot play freely,” Mahmudullah said on Wednesday in a media conference.
Many of the team are playing their first series for Bangladesh, Mahmudullah said he want to give an opportunity the newcomers with pressure-free cricket.
“There are plenty of new faces. This is a platform to press their claim. They will play without pressure. We have some experienced cricketers in the side. All we eager to show best effort for a positive outcome,” Mahmudullah added.
Eyeing a T20 series win, the Mahmudullah-led Bangladesh will look to sort out its batting woes and patchy form when it takes on a moral-boosted Lankan side.
With Tamim, Mushfiq and Shakib all missing the T20s due to injury, the T20 series comes as an opportunity for the BPL’s best performers to prove their worth at the international level.
An attack formed around death-bowling specialist Rubel Hossain, new-ball threat Abu JayedRahi, versatile pacemanMustafizur Rahman, BPL hero Abu Hider and miserly spinner Nazmul Islam even spin all-rounder MehediHasan or Afif Hossain can puzzle Sri Lanka’s batting order.
However, Mithun and Ariful are one of the two best performers in BPL last year while attacking wicketkeeper batsman Zakir has been in selectors mind since ICC under 19 world cup 2016. This means it will be a toss-up between Zakir and Mithun for the role of the second opener, with one of them forced to bat in the middle order.
Fearless opener Soumya Sarkar also have a point to prove after the tri-nationand ODI series snub while Mahmudullah, Sabbir, Afif and Ariful will form the core of the Bangladesh line-up during the first T20 match in absence of Shakib, Tamim and Mushfiq.
Tigers’ first T20 squad: Mahmudullah Riyad (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Md Saif Uddin, Abu Haider Rony, Abu Jayed Rahi, Ariful Hoque, Mahedi Hasan, Zakir Hasan, Afif Hossain, Nazmul Islam Apu, Md Mithun.