The upcoming home series against Sri Lanka will throw up two challenges for stylish Bangladesh batsman Soumya Sarkar -- he first has to make it to the squad after the resignation of head coach Chandika Hathurusingha and if he were to make it to the squad the next test will be to find some runs and put his recent indifferent form behind him.
It was an open secret that Soumya was one of Hathurusingha's favourites, with the left-hander receiving extended opportunities during the Sri Lankan's three-year tenure. Interestingly, the upcoming series will also be Hathurusingha's first assignment as Sri Lanka coach, setting up a tantalising battle between his former and current charges.
While Soumya did admit his inconsistent form with the bat, he denied that he was only in the team because of being in the coach's good books.
“If I play well then I will be in the team as I don't know who liked me or not. People have their own opinion but in the class a teacher won't like everyone and the person who was not liked by the teacher can take it that way. If I did not play well then I would have not made it to the team and he [Hathurusingha] would not have liked me. If I wasn't admitted to the school then how could he have liked me? To get admitted to the school I have to sit for the exam and when I performed well, the coach liked me,” Soumya told reporters at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
The 24-year-old batsman from Satkhira has been inconsistent in recent times, often throwing his wicket away after getting set. Soumya scored 15, 33, 9, 9 and 3 in his last five Test innings and was dropped from the second Test against South Africa while he also failed in the ODIs, scoring 28,3,3,0 and 8 in his last five matches.
“It's not like that [getting dismissed after getting set at the wicket]... some batsmen struggle right from the start while I am getting out after scoring thirty-odd runs as I had to think for the team. If I play slow in that period the tempo of my team will also slow down. If I only thought of myself, I could have overcome that but when I think about the team then it's difficult as if I slow down after scoring 30 it will affect the team. Obviously I will learn from mistakes but I am not sure about the exact reason [for his bad form] as I am getting out in different fashions every time. Maybe I have to change my plan and maybe I have been thinking that I have already reached thirty. So I have to rectify what's the problem,” he said.
However, Soumya has a better record in T20s, a format in which he has scored 42, 29, 34, 47 and 44 in his last five innings. The left-hander is also the highest run-getter for the Tigers in the shortest format of the game, but it is a measure of the challenge he now faces because even in this format he has struggled recently, scoring just 169 runs in 11 games with a highest score of 38 runs in the recently concluded Bangladesh Premier League.