Best-laid plans not a guarantee
There is a big difference between the Under-19 side and the national team. There are a lot of changes. In fact, everything is different such as the crowd, fans -- all are different. I will be playing against the top players around the globe in the World Cup and I take it as a huge challenge.
A proper monsoon drencher welcomed those who made their way to the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur yesterday for the announcement of Bangladesh's squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) made quite an arrangement in setting up a staging area for the press conference in front of the media centre entrance, but the downpour foiled those plans and media personnel were forced to head down to the actual press conference room, which had not been used since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over the years, the walls of the press conference room have borne witness to plenty of tough talk, especially after World Cup squad announcements. But as the selectors announced the squad, there were no big surprises nor much room for drama. As the names rolled off chief selector Minhajul Abedin's tongue, the reason for the mundanity of the scene became apparent. The big event had already unfolded much earlier when Tamim Iqbal had opted out of the upcoming World Cup.
The veteran left-hander had played all T20 World Cups to date and was the Tigers' top-scorer in the 2016 edition of the tournament with 295 runs.
If there was some room for contention, it came in the inclusion of leg-spinner Aminul Islam Biplob among the reserves outside of the 15-member squad.
While every other team had a leg-spinning option, Bangladesh felt their planning did not require serious consideration for a leggie. Leg-spinners are not usually used in checking runs, but for picking up wickets.
Despite the fact that Aminul has not established himself solely as a specialist leggie, he has also shown the knack of picking up the odd wicket in the seven T20Is he has played so far. His last game came in March 2020 when he picked up three for 34 in three overs against touring Zimbabwe at Dhaka.
Since then, Bangladesh have played New Zealand and Zimbabwe away before playing Australia and the Kiwis at home and Aminul failed to make the team in any of those series. He picked up two for 22 at Delhi in 2019 in what was Bangladesh's maiden T20I win over India, but such instances did not help his cause.
"He was ill for a long time and has returned but still we are taking him with us. Unfortunately, he doesn't fit the way we are planning to play, so he wasn't kept in the main team," Minhajul said about Aminul. Along with Biplob, pacer Rubel Hossain was included as a reserve too but with him not being in contention for a long time, it was an easy decision to make.
It remains to be seen how batsmen adjust to scoring at eight or nine per-over after playing at Mirpur, but selectors opined World Cup preparations were yet to begin.
"Whatever format you play, wins are important. That winning run helped build confidence. Our preparation for the World Cup will begin in Oman. Until we get there, it is difficult to say what our plans will be," the chief selector said.
Meanwhile, the selectors also said that it would be up to the team management to pick the wicketkeeper from among the three that feature. Coach Russell Domingo has insisted previously that Mushfiqur Rahim wanted to skip wicketkeeping duties in T20Is.
The squad features a few players who will be playing their first T20 World Cup but there is a good mix of experience too. It all went peacefully at Mirpur yesterday but it remains to be seen whether the selectors' combination reaps rewards or if the party is foiled at the World Cup, much like the BCB's staging area was.