Sports, Cricket

We find it tough to replace a player like Shakib: Hathuru

Published : 19 Dec 2023 09:16 PM

Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha admitted that his side found it extremely tough to plug Shakib Al Hasan’s void in the team in their tour in New Zealand.

The Tigers expected that Soumya Sarkar to come up with allround performance to cover up Shakib's absence to some extent, if not completely but he couldn’t simply live up to the expectation.

Soumya conceded 63 runs in six overs in bowling and dropped two catches in fielding before being out for a duck with the willow, sparking a criticism as to why he was given a chance despite not doing anything worthy in the domestic circuit.

Soumya was held responsible basically for Bangladesh 44-run defeat on DLS method in rain-hit first game.

“He (Soumya) can’t do what Shakib is doing, but we are expecting him to bowl and bat and basically we are looking at him as an all-rounder,” Hathurusingha told reporters ahead of the second game to be held tomorrow (Wednesday) at Nelson.

“For the last 15 years, Bangladesh were used to having Shakib and we are finding it hard to make a combination and that's why he (Soumya) is very important for us as an all-rounder to make up our XI,” he added.

Hathurusingha added that he is not sure why Soumya is failing to score runs despite being in good touch at domestic level.

The head coach though said he is in good touch in domestic circuit, in reality his one-day stat didn’t prove so. He scored 293 runs in 11 innings at an average of 26.53 in the last Dhaka Premier League (DPL). He had a century that came in a dead-rubber and also had one half-century. In NCL, he made 436 runs in 12 innings, at an average of 48.44 with the highest 96 not out. In 12 T20 matches, he scored 174 runs, averaging 14.50.

However, in the last five ODIs Soumya’s scores read 0, 32,1,0,0. 

“I just saw him for the first time this match, so I don’t know what his problem is; he has been scoring runs domestically and we need someone who can bowl and bat because you know Shakib al Hasan is not here,” he said.

Shakib was ruled out of the series due to finger injury he sustained during the World Cup. Ahead of the series, stand-in skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto insisted that Soumya Sarkar will have a big role to play to fill the vacuum left in absence of Shakib.

While Soumya continued to disappoint, Hathurusingha was delighted to see Rishad Hossain who could bat well along with his leg-spin. In lone practice match against New Zealand XI, Rishad hit 87 runs and picked up three wickets.

“We were very tempted to play him (Rishad) last game as well. As we know our record here, it’s challenging for us since we haven't won a game. We are losing lot of wickets early on and that is one reason we had gone with an extra batsman but going forward, we are looking a leg spinner, so he is our one leg spinner we really want in the XI,” he remarked.

Hathurusingha is not sure how the wicket in Nelson will behave as they did not have the opportunity to see it but he predicted it would a high-scoring game.

“This wicket looks very good. We have played couple of games here in 2017. The 2015 World Cup wicket was really good for batting. The outfield is fast so we’re expecting high scoring games. I think it will be a nice sunny day and good for cricket,” he commented.