Sports, Cricket

Team blend key as Tigers face Zimbabwe today

Published : 09 May 2024 09:30 PM

Bangladesh are set to face Zimbabwe in the fourth T20I of their five-match series at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today (Friday).

The Tigers, having already secured a commanding 3-0 series lead, will look to continue their dominance and possibly experiment with their lineup ahead of the T20 World Cup.  

Leading up to the match Parvez Hossain Emon and Afif Hossain were omitted from the Tigers' squad for the concluding two T20Is in Dhaka, despite not having participated in a match. The exclusion of Parvez and Afif was largely anticipated as senior players Shakib Al Hasan and Soumya Sarkar were recalled, with Shakib rejoining the T20I squad after a 10-month hiatus.

It was evident that the team management's strategy for the upcoming T20 World Cup did not significantly involve these two players. With Shakib's preparations and Soumya's injury recovery being prioritised, the pair were essentially squad additions.

Pacers Shoriful Islam and Mustafizur Rahman's workload was managed carefully, with the Tigers set to travel to the USA for a series against the hosts before commencing their World Cup journey in Dallas. Injury concerns, particularly for stars like Soumya and Mohammad Saifuddin, are a primary worry within the Tigers' camp. After the third T20I in Chattogram, discussions about future plans were held with the two players by the selectors and head coach.

Soumya has been actively bowling since his return, and the team management is keen to utilise his bowling and fielding skills. Saifuddin's return to the national team has been positive, but his performances in the death overs against a team like Zimbabwe have not entirely convinced the team management.

Shakib, on the other hand, is set to transition from one-day internationals to T20Is, and his involvement is expected to advance the team management's plans.

Another challenge for the Tigers is the abundance of left-handed batters in the top order. Alongside Soumya and Shakib, Tanzid Hasan and captain Najmul Hossain are also likely to feature at the top. Strategic combinations will be vital for the Tigers, as opponents may exploit the heavy concentration of left-handers.

The Tigers have limited options for adjustments within their 15-member squad. Ultimately, evaluating the pitches in the USA and West Indies will be crucial in deciding between additional spinners and pacers, as left-arm orthodox spinner Tanvir Islam and pacer Tanzim Hasan Sakib await confirmation of their World Cup participation.