Changes may be in the offing for Bangladesh when they take on Pakistan on Wednesday in what will be a virtual Asia Cup semifinal at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. They won their last match against Afghanistan in thrilling fashion Sunday after Mustafizur Rahman conceded just four runs when Afghanistan needed eight to win in the last over. However, even with a win in their last game, head coach Steve Rhodes hinted that there may be a change at the top after continued failure to get off to good starts.
Bangladesh’s top order problems compounded when talismanic opener Tamim Iqbal was ruled out of the Asia Cup after sustaining a fracture to his left hand in the tournament opener against Sri Lanka on September 15.
“Of course we’d love to get off to good starts. Every coach would want that. It doesn’t always happen. Sadly, Tamim breaking his finger in that first game was a big blow to us,” said Rhodes a day before the match after team practice at the ICC Academy in Dubai.
Nazmul Hossain Shanto replaced Tamim and made his debut in the group game against Afghanistan last Thursday, but has since scored just 20 runs in three games with a highest score of seven.
“We picked Shanto to take his place and give him an opportunity as a young man who has got a lot of talent, as a lot of Bangladeshi young batsmen have,” Rhodes said. “And he’s not quite done it yet. So his place will be looked at in selection. We’ll go through the side this afternoon – Mash, myself and the selectors – and we will be looking at all the team. I won’t be revealing any plans on the side. But of course we’ll be looking at if it is a little bit of a concern.”
What makes Nazmul’s place even more precarious was Imrul Kayes -- who along with Soumya Sarkar was one of the two openers brought in as emergency reinforcement on the eve of the Afghanistan game, striking form with 72, albeit batting at number six.
It was an optional practice day and Soumya, along with Mominul Haque, Ariful Haque and Abu Hider, was seen batting at the nets.