Intense competition for finisher’s role pleases Shakib


Intense competition for finisher’s role pleases Shakib

by Atif Azam • Published on Tue, May 16, 2023

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan feels that there are several candidates lined up to grab the number seven spot in ODIs ahead of the World Cup, scheduled in India from October. Bangladesh are currently trying Mehedy Hasan at number seven in 50-over format since the home series against Ireland in May and the team management appear to be keen in giving him the finisher spot.

Afif and Mahmudullah, who failed to retain their places in ODIs, had been often discussed as leading candidates to fill the role. Meanwhile, the team management also carried Yasir Ali to England for the just concluded three-match series against Ireland but failed to give him a place in the playing XI.

In the recent past, Bangladesh’s ODI skipper Tamim Iqbal had spoken about a few spots being up for grabs and the number slot is one of them. While expressing joy at the intense competition, particularly for number seven spot, Shakib feels that it is a problem of plenty for the selectors.

“I am neither the selector nor part of decision making so it is difficult for me to say but I am happy with the team and I feel whoever will be in the team they will be representing 17 Crores people and will try to give the best,” Shakib told reporters on Monday (May15) in England while attending a private program.

“From personal point of view the competition is not only about one guy there are many guys for it (number seven position). Everyone is performing there and if you see domestic cricket there is Afif (Hossain), Mossadek (Hossain), Sohan (Nurul) while Riyad (Mahmudullah) bhai is playing brilliantly. There is Rabbi with the team while Miraj is batting at seven,” he said.

“So there are six to seven options for one place and so the decision is not easy to make. I am sure keeping the World Cup into mind the coach, selector and captain will take the right decision,” he said.

Bangladesh have tried several players for the finisher’s role in the past with no real success. On his part, Mehidy has begun reasonably in the number seven spot. From five innings, the all-rounder averages 37 with a strike rate of 92. While the numbers, especially the strike-rate, can improve further, Mehidy has certainly shown the spunk needed for the task. Afif Hossain got the longest rope among the others with 12 innings under his belt but his strike rate at 74 was considerably below the accepted levels in the modern-day cricket. The likes of Yasir Ali and Nurul Hasan featured just for the odd game or two.

Shakib hoped that the spot would be sealed before the Asia Cup and underlined the importance of backing the selected player and the management’s decision irrespective of the results. Bangladesh are slated to play three ODIs against Afghanistan before the Asia Cup that still looks doubtful under the present situation but the team management need to fix the number seven position sooner than later.

“Now we are in the primary stage and whatever wrong or right we are doing I think everything will be all right from the World Cup or the Asia Cup. We don’t have too many international matches and I am certain that the coaches and the captain are recognizing in which areas we need to do well to earn better result. I am sure no leader of a team or a nation wants badly for his team. They don’t have bad intentions it can be right or wrong,” said Shakib.

“Basically we talk after the result and at that point it looks like a wrong decision. The decision is taken before the result. I am sure the selectors coach and decision makers will think good for the team,” he said.

“We will have our right combination when we go to the World Cup and it will depend on opposition and condition. In some grounds four pacers might play while there will grounds where you will have to pace bowler. In some field you need six bowlers while in some places we will need five bowlers. When the decision is taken you have to take lot of things into consideration. Now we are just having trials,” he said adding that they need to make sure they don’t repeat similar mistakes that prevented them from going far in the previous World Cup.

“The condition is always fair in ICC tournament and it is even for every team. We have to do well in all the departments if we want to do well. In the last World Cup we had a good chance but couldn’t capitalise on it due to some small mistakes. We must make sure that we don’t repeat those mistakes. Certainly other teams are improving in their respective areas but we have to improve if we want to compete with them,” he concluded.

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