‘Tigers imbalanced in Shakib’s absence’
Shakib Al Hasan is not in Sri Lanka for the three-match ODI series as the champions all-rounder was granted a break by the Bangladesh Cricket Board following a magnificent World Cup and it seems that the hosts have worked out their plan of action in the stalwart's absence.
Shakib was outstanding in the World Cup and was one of the contenders for the player of the series after scoring 604 runs and scalping eleven wickets. However, the Tigers have been struggling to put up any sort of fight against Sri Lanka in his absence and have already lost the series 2-0. They will go into today's third game looking to avoid a whitewash.
A relaxed Dimuth Karunaratne, the hosts' skipper, admitted that Shakib's absence had helped his side tremendously when it came to chalking out their game plan. He opined that it was difficult for Bangladesh to replace someone like Shakib, but he was reluctant to say that the star's absence had an impact on either team's mentality.
"I don't think so [difference in mental strength]. As I said earlier, the main thing was Shakib [ Al Hasan]. If you take the World Cup, Bangladesh did really well because of Shakib and Mushfiqur [Rahim]. Those are the two batsmen that carried them through the World Cup. They batted really well and kept scoring big runs, and as a result the team was scoring 250, 300-plus. Once Shakib isn't there they have to fill that hole in both bowling and batting, I can't see anyone who can replace him. At that time, they had to bring in two players for the batting and bowling and that's why they couldn't balance the side and struggled," Karunaratne told reporters yesterday.
Although the Sri Lanka team management are expected to provide an opportunity to some fresh faces for the third game, Karunaratne informed that they would be looking for a clean sweep, something that would help the hosts gain more rating points in the ICC ODI rankings.