Right Experiment, Wrong Ingredients and the way forward

Right Experiment, Wrong Ingredients and the way forward

Pranta Deb Emon
Published Date: 23 Jan 2016 | Update : 23 Jan 2016
So BCB’s rather costly but much needed experiment has come to an end. Despite the result and the public outrage, the experiment in general does have a conclusion which means it hasn’t all gone wrong. At least we know how well or otherwise our backups are in this format and how much more they need to work on to become international ready. Fairly speaking, none of the recent recruits have been successful for BCB.   The timing was right, opponent was perfect but the squad wasn’t. Now the squad selection mistake is a never ending argument between fans but in this case it is obvious and evident. To avoid the squad selection errors, BCB painstakingly brought back the Bangladesh Premier League to allow all the local prospects a chance to showcase their talent in this format. Even though the tournament ended without any hiccups, it failed to showcase any hidden talent or X factor that BCB were looking for. This is specially true for batting where the locals failed to perform barring a few. Now armed with the statistic of a three week long tournament, the selection panel gifted us a side or rather a combination of sides for this rather unimportant series against Zimbabwe.   The squad had question marks here and there but they multiplied after the second T20 when few of the performers were rested and replaced by some debutants. Ok, maybe the selection of players like Shuvagata Hom, Imrul Kayes, Shahid, Abu Hider Rony cannot really be questioned since they managed to perform in the BPL upto an extent. However, what can be questioned however is the inclusion of players like Mosaddek Hossain and Mukhtar Ali who were probably more surprised to wear the national colors without really deserving it. These two were one of the biggest “busts” in the BPL and they barely managed to crack into their respective domestic sides. But here they were, handed a debut over so many others that deserved it much more than they did. This is where things started to go terribly wrong for the team.   Now some of you must be wondering, if not them, who deserved to make a debut this week more than these glorified bits and pieces players? Remember Shahriar Nafees? Yea the guy who used to play for the team like a zillion years ago but fell apart due to inconsistency and major flaws in technique. However, he did manage to perform towards the end of BPL and made a couple of crucial knocks when the team needed him. Was it enough to bring him back for good? Probably not but did he deserve a call up to the preliminary squad at the very least? Definitely! So why was he overlooked? Alas its his age! Now 30 is the prime age for other cricket teams because naturally by the time a player gets to his 30, he has had plenty of experience, time to rectify whatever flaws and at the same time the mental and physical fitness required to excel at this format.   But wait! That’s the case for our selection panel. For us, 30 is the retirement/ rejected for live age and this is not me making assumptions, this came from our chief selector Mr. Faruq who said players like Kapali and Nafees are not even in his “C” or “D” plans. That’s a pretty bold statement sir and that too towards the players who are ten times the player you were ever! Speaking of Alok Kapali, another player who has every right to be upset after he failed to make it to the preliminary squad for any format despite performing very well in the local tournaments. Our side is in need of a lower order pinch hitter and even though BCB went through a dozen of them and failed, the name of Alok Kapali never popped up anywhere despite the reputation of an explosive hitter for quite some time now.   Lastly and most importantly, the player who has been performing for the longest time in this format and yet ignored like a shadow is the slow left arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain Rubel. Clearly the best T20 spinner in the country, it is absolutely mind boggling how his name failed to pop up. Again, one can only assume that his age of 34 maybe an issue and the selectors are apparently looking for future prospects! What cares what happens in the present? To the selectors and mainly Mr. Faruq, do us a favor and watch how selection process works in international cricket. To Alok Kapali, Shahriar Nafees and Mosharraf Rubel, maybe you guys should just retire and try something else. Your presence in the domestic competition is giving an unfair lift in terms of the quality of performance and BCB is exploiting it. Those double tons, those match winning knocks does not mean jack anymore. Ok enough of me complaining about selection.   Like I mentioned, the experiment was due and the timing was perfect. This series reassured that players like Tamim, Shabbir, Riyad, Al Amin are still good enough for this format despite their recent dips or poor stats. More importantly, their substitutes are far worse so pointing fingers at these players are unjustified. Right now, it seems like that the second opening slot is a worry as Soumya Sarkar, one of the stars of Bangladesh cricket from 2015 has failed to convert his ODI heroics onto T20. After failing for the entire duration of BPL, Soumya showed a lot of flaws and lack of temperament for T20. Fortunately for him, he has no competition. Imrul Kayes, Tamim’s Test partner failed to convert his BPL form onto internationals and players like Nafees did not even get selected. There is Liton Das who made the squad but his performance in BPL and previously with the national side showed nothing to put him ahead of Soumya.   Among the players that have an outside chance of making it in the squad is Mohammed Mithun who had a few good starts in BPL. Whether his service is needed in the top order can be debatable but he wouldn’t be a bad inclusion at all. Now there will be a battle between Nurul Hasan and Nasir Hossain strangely enough as one is a wicket keeper batsman and other a batting allrounder. But once Mushfiqur Rahim returns, there will be a slot left for one additional player and that could go to either of them. Nurul has been a decent inclusion and looked sharp behind the wicket but his batting has shown signs of inexperience where Nasir Hossain seems to be going a downward slope in form so to an extent, picking either of them would be a gamble which is more likely to fail. Maybe Nasir’s bowling will be given a preference seeing the lack of spinners in the side. The pace department should include our skipper, Mustafizur Rahman and Al Amin Hossain. Picking anyone else for the starting XI will be a huge gamble. It seems like Arafat Sunny is also another player with no competitor thanks to the brilliant selection by the panel.   We just have to hope he performs because part timers like Riyad and Shabbir aren’t good enough backups for this format. Also, I would request our team management has had enough experiments and goes into the Asia Cup with full force as it is no less important than the World Cup itself. We had an atrocious last Asia Cup and it is high time we take this competition seriously. Winning the World Cup is out of the cards with loop holes all over the place and unfamiliar conditions, but with home advantage in place, the Asia Champion title shouldn’t be out of reach. Finally, I hope BCB and the coaching staff do not repeat the mistakes of 2014 by relying solely on one or two individuals to perform. It happened before and I see it happening again. This time with Mustafizur Rahman. He seems to be the difference between the wins and losses against Zimbabwe and the coaching staff needs to make sure there are more match winners then just one. Afterall, it isn’t exactly Tennis! Rinat Haque Guest writer Photo - BCB

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