Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal has been in a fantastic vein of form in ODIs throughout 2018, having played many memorable knocks and was able to hone his abilities, often performing the role of anchor, to revel against West Indies, hitting two hundreds and a fifty in three matches as Bangladesh won their first away series in nine years.
Sarwar Imran, who was the Tigers' coach for their inaugural Test in November 2000, knows all about Tamim's potential and was happy that the Tigers' opener, who averaged 143.5 in the West Indies ODI series, batted as the format required. The former coach however hoped that Tamim would show his mettle in T20s as well by batting according to the format.
“Tamim is now a very established batsman. I hope he will come out of his shell in the T20s as well. He played the ODIs like ODIs should be played and he will have to attack more in the T20s,” Imran said.
Tigers have frequently struggled to find the right opening partner for Tamim at the top. They have experimented with Liton Das and Anamul Haque in recent ODI series, while Soumya Sarkar was the preferred choice across formats previously. There have been occasions that Bangladesh felt that they got the opening combination right, but none of Tamim's partners left a lasting mark.
“For T20s Bijoy [Anamul Haque], Soumya and Liton all are good. However their performances have been lacking. Liton is the only one who has performed consistently in the domestic circuit. Any of these three can come good because it will depend on how they are being used. Batting in one-day like it's T20 and playing T20's like one-day is not going to work. We have made that mistake before,” he said.
Sarwar was aware that power hitting is necessary in the shortest format but was hopeful that the Tigers, buoyed by their recent ODI series success, will do well in the T20s.
“The ODI series gave them confidence so I feel they will do well in T20s as well. Although this is a short format where one needs to play power cricket, with the batting lineup we have, there is a possibility of doing well in West Indies.”
'Juniors need more responsibility'
Bangladesh batting's stalwarts were able to come up with crucial innings in the ODI series with Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah Riyad all playing their parts along with Tamim.
However, once again and perhaps not unexpectedly, the junior members in the side failed to make their mark as the challenge to upstage the hosts fell on the established players.
“Team management will have to find out if the problems are mental or tactical. A hard-hitter like Sabbir is rare in Bangladesh,” Sarwar added.
“The problem starts from local cricket. We have to increase the standard of umpiring in local cricket. Another thing is that if the juniors are always seen as juniors, they will never progress,” Imran said.
“For example, if there was four foreign-player quota in the BPL [Bangladesh Premier League] instead of five, then the juniors would have been able to take on more responsibility.”