Can Tigers sort out opening pair in Zimbabwe?
With the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later this year in mind, the upcoming tour of Zimbabwe presents the ideal platform for selectors to try something different to change the Tigers' dwindling fortunes in the shortest format of the game.
The Bangladesh team is scheduled to fly for Zimbabwe on July 26, just days after completing their tour of the West Indies, to take part in three-match T20I and ODI series.
Selectors are expected to announce the squad today ahead of Bangladesh beginning their tour of Zimbabwe with the first of the three T20Is in Harare on July 30.
Bangladesh's performances have been disappointing in the shortest format since the T20 World Cup in Oman and the UAE last year, when Mahmudullah Riyad's side lost to Scotland in the qualifier stage before losing all their group stage matches in the event proper.
Batting has remained the biggest area of concern in the shortest format, especially when it comes to utilising the Powerplay, when teams look to score runs and lay the platform for big totals.
Interestingly, Bangladesh have fielded five different opening pairs in eight matches since the last 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.
Bangladesh were whitewashed in the three-match T20 series in West Indies, with the team management trying two different opening pairs featuring Munim Shahriar, Liton Das and Anamul Haque but none made an impact.
Although Tamim did not featured in the Tigers T20I side in the past year or so, his retirement from the format should give the selectors a clearer picture as they aim to form a settled opening pair before the T20 World Cup.
"Our opening pair has definitely not been doing well. We tried a few players, including the latest in the lot, Munim Shahriar. We have already finalised 12-13 players for the upcoming Zimbabwe tour and we are in discussions before finalising the full squad. I think we need to look forward, especially in regards to the opening pair, which is very important for us," chief selector Minhajul Abedin Nannu told The Daily Star yesterday.
The chief selector had previously said that they would give another opportunity to Anamul, who made a comeback to T20I format after seven years on the tour of the West Indies. However, he also hinted that they would experiment by including someone new in the opening position for the Zimbabwe tour.