Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha (R) gives Shamsur Rahman a few front-foot batting tips during the national team's net session at the Mirpur Indoor Stadium yesterday. PHOTO: STAR
With a number of Bangladesh's top-order batsmen struggling to hit form, BCB's chief selector Faruque Ahmed said that he was concerned about the national team's batting and that it was an aspect that the Tigers would have to improve upon before the World Cup.
While Bangladesh's ploy to field seaming wickets in the India series did manage to trouble the visitors' strong batting line-up, it also however backfired heavily as the Tigers were bundled out for just 58 in the second ODI.
The second-stringed Bangladesh team which visited the West Indies recently has many players who are currently in the preliminary squad for the tour in August -- including Nasir Hossain, Mominul Haque, Marshall Ayub and Shamsur Rahman -- and yet their batting display in the Caribbean was far from satisfactory.
In the first four-day game, Bangladesh A were thumped by 351 runs inside three days. They were bowled out for 140 and 152. A similar result beckoned in the second four-dayer which saw them give in for just 219 in the first innings in reply to the hosts' 354. The visitors' last-wicket pair batted for nearly half an hour in the fourth innings to earn a draw.
"Batting is definitely a concern as we did not do well in the past, except for certain occasions. In the last series we did well in the first match, but could not win a low scoring second game.
"We are having problem as players have gone out of form together. The opening pair has not clicked and the middle order, which was our strength before, is not doing well either," said Faruque.
"I think we have to take this as a preparatory series for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. In order to adjust to the West Indian conditions we are practising on simulated wickets. We are working hard against the short-pitch delivery. We will hopefully do well under the guidance of the new coach," he added.
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim clearly leads the pack in ODIs with an average of 50 this year. However, his closest competitor Anamul Haque has averaged just 35. Once Bangladesh's trusted finisher, Nasir has scored just 167 runs in the last eight innings. Mahmudullah Riyad has it no better with an average of 12.86 in the last six innings.
But perhaps the most concerning factor for the Tigers will be opener Tamim Iqbal who has scored just four runs in two ODIs this year.
He is however likely to avoid the axe as Faruque wants him to get in form before the World Cup.
"Tamim is definitely a concern. He is one of our best players and I want all the key players to peak before the World Cup. When a player goes through a lean patch, we try to see whether he is doing things correctly. And I think he is working hard.
"He is working on different skills training. We still don't know if he will return to form, but we need to back the players.
With the BCB set to go on Eid vacation from tomorrow, Faruque and company are expected to finalise the squad for West Indies today and it won't be a surprise if the selectors opt to insert a few fresh faces.
The quandary for Faruque though will be to keep a check between the balance of the new players and the veterans, with the World Cup just six months away, the freshers need to get used to the demands of international cricket quickly while the old hands seemingly need to hit maturity again.