Sports, Cricket

Whatmore backs Riyad

Published : 24 Feb 2024 08:42 PM
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Dav Whatmore, former Bangladesh head coach and current team director of Fortune Barishal in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League, believes that Mahmudullah Riyad has the experience to handle the finisher’s role for the Tigers in the shortest format.

Mahmudullah returned to the national T20I set-up after 2022 after the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) included him in the three-match T20I series, scheduled at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium from March 4. The 38-year-old, who played his last T20I against Sri Lanka during the Asia Cup T20 in Dubai, had been overlooked for the last one and a half years but his scintillating performance in the ICC World Cup in India as well as the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League, made the selectors bring him back to the side.

“I think he has the power which is needed in this format. If you ask him, he will probably tell you he would like to bat as high as possible. He certainly has the ability to clear the boundary and accelerate the run rate. So he could be used in a couple of ways. I suppose he can bat high and score big. Otherwise, he can come later in the innings and accelerate and clear the boundaries,” said Whatmore. 

The former Australian cricketer added that he doesn’t buy the opinion that Mahmudullah is an old horse and cannot take the load of playing high-intensity T20I games.

“It (T20) is a very athletic and volatile game but it also has a place for experience. I think so (he got a couple of years in the shorter format) but form dictates everything,” he added. Meanwhile, Barishal’s head coach MizanurRahman feels that Mahmudullah is reaping the benefit of a changed mindset as he is now ready to attack instead of waiting for the loose balls.

“Look he (Mahmudullah) is taking chances and that is because he is at the close end of his career. Now he is thinking let me give my best with whatever I have. He is doing so without thinking too much about the result. He is self-motivated to take up the challenge and he doesn’t need anything else from anywhere as far as motivation is concerned,” he said.

“Look now, even if it is not the first ball, he goes down the wicket in the second ball to hit it. This is a big change considering that he earlier used to wait for the loose ball but now there is urgency in his batting and that is the biggest change for Mahmudullah,” he concluded.