The two calls that mattered | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 17, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:42 AM, April 17, 2019

The two calls that mattered

It speaks to the health of Bangladesh's current ODI pedigree that what has often been a contentious announcement ahead of World Cups past, there was very little tumult surrounding the squad announcement for the 2019 World Cup in the United Kingdom this summer.

All but two of the 15 players named by chief selector Minhajul Abedin were virtually automatic picks. In that regard, it was an easy enough exercise for Minhajul and Habibul Bashar. They displayed a bit of selectorial acumen in sticking with the likes of Liton Das, who has not had a good recent tour of New Zealand. However, the selectors -- and let us not forget that the decision was not theirs solely but must have been influenced by Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) high-ups and skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza -- may have dropped the ball while picking the two cricketers who were not automatic picks.

The choice for the fifth pacer was a toss-up between Taskin Ahmed and the uncapped Abu Jayed. Jayed got the nod, and he has displayed enough potential in his Test appearances to be blooded in 50-over cricket. However, it is the 'uncapped' before his name that should be a concern and also betray a lack of planning on the part of the BCB. Jayed would have been an uncontroversial choice because he is the one Bangladesh bowler capable of conventional swing in both directions -- surely an advantage in conducive UK conditions.

But that was known as early as February 2018, when he played the T20I series at home against Sri Lanka. Jayed was even taken to New Zealand as part of the Test squad -- a tour that Taskin missed at the last minute because of injury.

Minhajul's reason for Taskin being left out of the World Cup squad was that his match fitness was still in doubt. The doubt would then have been much deeper during the New Zealand tour and if the World Cup was indeed on their minds, the selectors could easily have given Jayed an ODI debut there, in conditions resembling those that may be found in England. As promising as he is, Jayed's List A economy rate of 5.47 does leave a bit to be desired, and testing him before the World Cup -- if he was indeed part of the plans and not a last-gasp replacement -- was a no-brainer.

The other pick was Mosaddek Hossain. The youngster last played an ODI in the Asia Cup in September 2018, but was then jettisoned from the squads for the home series against West Indies and Zimbabwe, as well as that for the New Zealand tour. He has not set the world alight in the Dhaka Premier League, which is beside the point. In Mosaddek's case too, by not picking him for New Zealand, the selectors displayed a lack of long-term thinking that once again proves that Bangladesh's success is in spite of the system, not because of it.

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