The past few days have been a period of total turmoil for the Bangladesh cricket team. All of it started when the Bangladeshi players called a strike for the upcoming tour of India, which was followed by Shakib Al Hasan’s banishment by the ICC from all forms of cricket for a period of two years, which included a one-year suspension, for his failure to report approaches from an Indian bookie which had been occurring since an IPL game in April 2018 versus Kings XI Punjab.
Bangladesh Cricket Team bows down to BCB
As per the reports, the Bangladeshi players hadn’t been receiving the best of facilities be it the insignificant payments in yearly contracts or the manner in which domestic one-dayers were conducted to name a few.
In fact, Shakib Al Hasan was found to spearhead the group who were hell-bent on ensuring a strike which further fueled BCB’s emotions and could be touted as one of the reasons behind his exit.
While the players’ strike was successfully called off by the BCB officials, the sacking of Shakib Al Hasan, one of the best all-rounders in the game at the moment, and undoubtedly the greatest cricketer Bangladesh has ever produced, disheartened millions of cricket fanatics across the globe.
With the 32-year-old nowhere in the picture now, the pressure of leading the national side has been forcibly laid on the shoulders of Mahmudullah and Mominul Haque who’ll be captaining the T20I and Test squads respectively.
The absence of Tamim Iqbal in the lineup further worsens the tourists’ condition as the left-handed swashbuckling opener won’t be available due to personal reasons.
Bangladesh Team at a glance
A comparatively inexperienced Bangla Tigers would now be competing against Rohit Sharma & Co in the T20Is, while the longer formats would witness skipper Virat Kohli leading a team of invincibles in what could be India’s twelfth consecutive series victory at home.
Looking at the Test lineup, one would expect the likes of Mahmudullah and Liton Das to take on the mantle of attacking the Indian opposition. The former has four centuries to his name, which makes him one of the top contenders for the leading run-getters position, among the tourists.
Imrul Kayes and Mohammad Mithun are decent timers of the ball and could wreak havoc onto the opposition when in the middle.
Bowling department would be spearheaded by Mustafizur Rahman, one of the finest left-arm bowlers to have surfaced from the Asian subcontinent, while Taijul Islam and Al-Amin Hossain would do the honors with their spin prowess.
In the T20Is, the situation looks comparatively greener and if everything falls in Bangladesh’s favor, they could pose a greater annoyance to the Asian giants in the coming encounters.
Soumya Sarkar has a decent experience in the white-ball arena and would be backed to deliver a swashbuckling start in the opening T20I encounter.
Mushfiqur Rahim, who is perhaps the senior-most member of both Test and T20I squads would hold great importance for the tourists. Having represented Bangladesh in 67 Tests and 81 T20Is wherein he holds 4029 and 1201 runs respectively, the onus would be on the 32-year-old to lay an anchored role in the upcoming duels.
The trio of Mahmudullah, Mohammad Mithun and Liton Das hold reasonable experience in the shorter formats and could pose a threat for India in case the situation demands.
Bowling wise they look reasonably strong courtesy the experience held by the Mustafizur Rahman and Shafiul Islam who have bagged a total of 64 wickets in total.
Talking about the recent performances of both the competing teams, the recently concluded home series witnessed the Men In Blue thwarting the Proteas by a margin of 3-0 in Tests, prior to which they leveled the 2-match T20Is by a margin of 1-1.
On the other hand, Bangladesh would be coming on the back of two consecutive Test series defeats; firstly at the hands of New Zealand in the 2-match away Tests, and secondly versus Afghanistan in the sole Test at home.
The away games versus Kiwis may have been flop-show, the performances of Mahmudullah and Soumya Sarkar garnered the cricketing world’s attention as they piled 248 and 198 runs at averages of 62.00 and 49.50 respectively.
In the T20Is, however, they delivered a decent exhibition off late, as they managed to conquer the T20I Tri-series competing against the likes of Afghanistan and Zimbabwe in what appeared to be a nerve-wracking series.
Mahmudullah emerged as the top-performer with the bat as he amassed 126 runs in 4 innings averaging 31.50, while the bowling department was led by Mohammad Saifuddin who scalped 7 dismissals in 4 innings. Unfortunately, the latter’s services won’t be available in the forthcoming series due to recurring back issues.
It all boils down to the level of captaincy which would be emitted by Mahmudullah and Mominul Haque along with the individual efforts of every member concerned if Bangladesh are vying for a victory amidst Indian conditions.
Will Bangladesh render a fighting exhibition amidst the turning Indian pitches or will they bow down to pressure is something only time can tell.