Sports, Cricket

Top-order frailty a big concern for Tigers

Published : 08 May 2024 09:40 PM

As the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup looms large, a dark cloud hangs over Bangladesh's preparations. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is yet to announce the final squad for the USA tournament, and the team's top order batting has become a major cause for concern.

The ongoing five-match T20 series against Zimbabwe was initially viewed as a potential platform to solidify the opening partnership and identify reliable top-order batsmen. However, with three matches played and Bangladesh already securing a series victory, the top order has failed to deliver convincing performances.

The struggles began at the very top. Litton Das, a mainstay of the Bangladesh batting line-up, has been in abysmal form. His scores of 1 run, 12 runs, and a solitary six in the first three matches raise serious questions about his suitability for the World Cup squad. Captain Najmul Hossain Shanto hasn't fared much better, managing only 21, 16, and 6 runs in his respective outings. Shanto's lack of form is a double blow, as his leadership on the field also suffers when his batting confidence is low.

Beyond the opening pair, the entire middle order has shown inconsistency. The second-wicket partnership, glimpsed briefly in the second match with a 41-run stand, has failed to build on that promise. The strike rates across the board have been sluggish, failing to capitalize on the powerplay overs crucial in the T20 format.

This lackluster performance against Zimbabwe, a team that couldn't even qualify for the World Cup, is particularly worrying. Bangladesh's batsmen haven't displayed the kind of aggressive, high-scoring batting needed to compete against top teams in the global tournament.

With time running out before the World Cup, the BCB selectors face a tough decision. Do they persist with the current top order in hopes they'll find form, or do they look for alternative options in the remaining matches against Zimbabwe?

Bangladesh has a pool of talented young batsmen waiting in the wings. Players like Soumya Sarkar, who has a history of explosive batting in white-ball cricket, could be brought back into the fold. Additionally, the selectors might consider promoting a player in form from the middle order to open alongside a more experienced batsman.

The upcoming matches against Zimbabwe offer a final chance for Bangladesh's top order to redeem themselves. Otherwise, the BCB will be forced to make some difficult decisions to ensure a competitive batting line-up for the prestigious World Cup.