Can Emon express himself?
There are whispers in the cricketing arena that Mushfiqur Rahim is not happy about the fact that he was rested for the T20I series team on the upcoming tour of Zimbabwe, but the move came as the Bangladesh think-tank aim to empower youngsters, expecting them to come out of the shadows and instill their own identity in the shortest format of the game.
Intending to provide a platform where they could express themselves freely in a format in which Bangladesh have long been struggling, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) took the bold step of forming a young T20I team led by 28-year-old Nurul Hasan Sohan for the upcoming Zimbabwe series.
The board opted to rest regular T20I skipper Mahmudullah Riyad and Mushfiqur for the T20Is, although both seniors will feature in the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe. Replacing them in the T20Is will young left-handed opener Parvez Hossain Emon and pacer Hasan Mahmud.
Emon burst onto the scene as he became the youngest Bangladeshi to score a T20 hundred, doing so off just 42 balls for Fortune Barishal in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup in 2020. And although he was included in the Tigers T20I squad for the third and final match against Pakistan last year, the left-hander is yet to make his international debut.
"We want someone like Emon, who is a natural stroke-player, to play freely and express himself fearlessly. There is no pressure on them even if they don't score runs. All we want to see is that they play freely."
The lack of opportunities afforded to youngsters has been regularly questioned, especially as a lack of consistency in the selection magnifies the pressure on players to perform during those sparing opportunities. Now, they want to give room for players like Emon to express themselves and play with their natural attacking approach.
"We want someone like Emon, who is a natural stroke-player, to play freely and express himself fearlessly. There is no pressure on them even if they don't score runs. All we want to see is that they play freely. Not only Emon, we are trying the likes of Munim Shahriar as well. The upcoming Zimbabwe series is a good platform for these players to showcase their talent," selector Habibul Bashar told The Daily Star yesterday.
Bangladesh have fielded five different opening pairs in eight matches since the last T20 World Cup. The likes of Liton Das, Naim Sheikh, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Saif Hasan, Anamul Haque and Munim Shahriar have been shuffled around, but no duo has shown promise.
There are also questions about the approach of the cricketers once they make it to the national team, where they appear to be shackled.
"We are looking for someone who can score runs at the top quickly and utilise the Powerplay. We want to come out of the conventional approach in the shortest format and try to play a fearless brand of cricket," Bashar said.
Emon has been nursed in the High Performance squad and the attacking left-hander has been in fine touch, scoring a hundred in the recent practise game against the A team.
"I think it's a great opportunity for me. If I get the chance to play, I will try to give a hundred per cent. Since I like to play my shots, I will try to continue doing that and apply myself in the middle. I am ready to play according to the demands of the team and willing to contribute to my team's victory," Emon said.