A more nuanced WC squad this time
Concerns remain regarding Bangladesh's quality of preparation for the upcoming T20 World Cup after winning recent encounters on spin-friendly series in Mirpur but despite these concerns, the Tigers' team management can gather hope from how they transitioned to a more stable team combination over the years, especially in the time since the previous edition of the T20 World Cup in 2016.
No eyebrows were raised yesterday when the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) selection panel of Minhajul Abedin, Habibul Bashar and Abdur Razzak announced a 15-member squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup, to be held in Oman and the UAE from October 17.
The squad that was expected was named during the press conference at the BCB headquarters in Mirpur, but that was not the case five years ago during the announcement of the squad for the previous edition of the T20 extravaganza.
That squad had a few surprise inclusions, exclusions and even players taken based on performances in a few practice games. Mohammad Mithun's inclusion at the time was a prime example of a snap judgment from the BCB's end.
In that sense, things have changed over the years and the BCB now has a clearer vision, at least in wanting to form the best squad for the World Cup. That was evidenced by how the BCB put their trust in those players who have been regular performers over the last three series.
Eight players are set to play in their first T20 World Cup, including all-rounder Shamim and pacer Shoriful, who were members of the World Cup winning Under-19 side last year.
However, none of their inclusions could be termed a surprise. In fact, it was expected given their performances in the Tigers' recent series successes, including a tour of Zimbabwe in July, T20Is against Australia last month and the ongoing New Zealand series.
In 2016, Bangladesh were still finding their feet in the T20I format and had not yet familiarised themselves with how to win games on a regular basis.
The way the Tigers faltered in a one-run defeat against India -- arguably the most agonising defeat that Bangladesh have endured till date -- despite having the game in their grasp at Bangalore in the Super 10 stage of the World Cup only reflected the importance of being familiar with the idea of winning T20Is.
It is not that the Tigers have made themselves familiar with winning T20Is away from home, but at least now Bangladesh go to the mega-event after having registered their most successful run in the format by winning nine of 15 T20Is played this year, the most number of wins for the Tigers in a calendar year and including three series wins on the trot.
Although most of those wins came in favourable conditions in Mirpur, winning momentum, as the selectors mentioned, could indeed give the Tigers the edge and confidence that they missed last time around. Also, Bangladesh are expected to have a preparation camp in Oman, where they will play a couple of practice matches ahead of the showpiece event.
The T20 format still remains Bangladesh cricket's Achilles heel and those wins certainly do not change that fact, but now the Tigers will know how to line up a commendable T20 side. The only thing that remains to be seen, and which will probably be the greatest challenge in the coming World Cup, is whether this group of cricketers can carry on with their winning form when playing in conditions away from home.