Soumya the answer to opening issues once again?
With the opening position still the major area of concern for the Bangladesh team management ahead of the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup next month, chances are that the selectors may once again bank on Soumya Sarkar to fill the void.
Soumya was left out of the squad following a poor showing in the previous T20 World Cup in the UAE last year.
Soumya's inclusion, which seems likely, will be along the same line as the return of Sabbir Rahman to the Tigers' squad for the Asia Cup – both players making it back to the national set-up not as a reward for their exceptional performance in the domestic circuit but due to the lack of players in the pipeline.
Like Sabbir, Soumya's performance in the domestic tournaments since being axed from the national squad hasn't been noteworthy.
Soumya, once hailed as a key component for the Tigers in white-ball cricket, last played for Bangladesh in the shortest format against Australia during the T20 World Cup's group stage match in November.
The team management opted for a makeshift opening pair in the form of Sabbir and Mehedi Hasan Miraz against Sri Lanka after specialist openers Mohammad Naim and Anamul Haque Bijoy failed to make an impact in the first group-stage game against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup.
According to selector Habibul Bashar, the team management is yet to decide whether they would go for yet another stopgap solution or rely on specialist openers for the T20 World Cup keeping the seam-friendly Australian condition in mind.
"We are still working on this aspect [opening pair]. We tried a different combination in the Asia Cup. But we are yet to discuss whether we will go with yet another makeshift option or bank on specialist openers since we will be playing in Australia. We still have some time in our hands and we will be able to decide on this opening issue," Bashar told the media at the BCB headquarters in Mirpur today.
The selectors exhausted all the options – trying the likes of Munim Shahriar, Naim, Anamul Haque, and young Parvez Hossain Emon in T20Is lately. Emon played only a solitary T20I, against Zimbabwe last month, and the 20-year-old is still not considered the first-choice opener in the format – at least not for a major tournament like the T20 World Cup.
If given the opportunity, it will be interesting to see if Soumya will be able to rediscover himself and live up to the billing of being the natural free-flowing stroke maker that he is.
"We have quite a few players in mind and it's not just about any specific individual. We have few options for openers in our shortlist. Since this is a very important tournament, we want to take the decision after giving it a thought as this is the position in which we are yet to make anyone settle in the T20 format.
"We don't want drastic changes as our success in the World Cup mostly relies on the success of our openers. So, we have to make the decision wisely. There is a lot of work to be done in this aspect," he said.
The former Bangladesh captain also added that the selectors are not willing to experiment in the tri-nation series in New Zealand just before the World Cup and informed that they are keener to have the same squad that will take part in the mega event.