During the six-month suspension of Sabbir Rahman for allegedly abusing and threatening a fan on social media in September 2018, the Bangladesh team management tried quite a few cricketers at the problematic number seven position in limited-overs cricket.
With the World Cup in the United Kingdom this summer in mind, the likes of Mosaddek Hossain, Ariful Haque and even Soumya Sarkar were tried in ODIs for the position, which demands the skill to score quick runs as well as the ability to face quality fast bowling.
It was Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza who argued for Sabbir's return for the ODI series in New Zealand because of the hard-hitting right-hander's ability to tackle quality fast bowlers.
Sabbir's ban was reduced by one month and the right-hander was included in the ODI squad for the New Zealand series. He did prove his worth as the 27-year-old struck his maiden ODI ton in the third game after scoring 43 in the second game against the Kiwis.
However, Sabbir was untested as far as his role as a number-seven enforcer was concerned because repeated top-order failures through the three-match series forced him to play a different, more accumulation-based role. Mashrafe was wary about this weakness in the finishing department with the bat.
“I have felt this for quite some time, that we have some weakness in the finishing department and there is no point blaming just the juniors. It is actually a problem with the entire team. It is not only while chasing as we were unable to post good totals even when batting first. We have lost quite a few close matches in the last two-three years.
"These slots [number seven position] are crucial in tournaments like the World Cup and there will be ties in the primary stage of the tournament where there will be a few close matches as we have nine games in the group stage. It will play a big role in the result and obviously, we are concerned about it. I believe we will be able to reduce the mistakes that we have made in the past. I am not saying we will get hundred per cent success as it's a matter of a process that requires more time, but I hope it will be fixed in time,” Mashrafe told reporters yesterday.
Meanwhile, there was talk about the performance of the national in the ongoing Dhaka Premier League (DPL) where Liton Das has had a disappointing run so far with the bat.
Talk has been doing the rounds that another wicket-keeper batsman Anamul Haque could be included in the World Cup squad after he struck three consecutive centuries in the league for Prime Bank.
Mashrafe however pointed out the difference in quality between the DPL and the international stage and backed Liton, saying that the right-hander has the ability to be a 'destroyer.'
“Actually I am not concerned about the Dhaka league as I have seen many times in the past that someone scores centuries one after the other in the league but goes on to struggle on the international stage. If you talk about the wicket, intent and the intent towards the cricket, it is not close to the international stage," he added.