‘Shakib, Mushfiqur might open if needed’
As there are only two specialist openers in Bangladesh's 17-member squad for the Asia Cup squad, the Tigers' team management, according to Bangladesh team director Khaled Mahmud Sujon, may even opt for Mushfiqur Rahim or skipper Shakib Al Hasan in the opening slot in case of injuries and emergencies.
Anamul Haque Bijoy, who made a return to the T20I side after over six years during the West Indies tour in July, and young Parvez Hossain Emon, who made his T20I debut in the last Zimbabwe tour, are the two specialists openers in the Tigers' Asia Cup squad.
Bangladesh will start their Asia Cup campaign against Afghanistan on August 30 and Mahmud said that the players for the opening slot will be decided keeping the opposition's bowling attack in mind.
"We have two specialist openers in [Anamul Haque] Bijoy and [Parvez Hossain] Emon. However, apart from these two, there are quite a few players who have got the experience to open the innings in domestic cricket. Keeping in mind Afghanistan's bowling attack, we need to fix who will open the innings for us," Mahmud told the media at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.
"It can be Mushfiqur Rahim. Or, you never know, even Shakib can open the innings. Mehedi Hasan Miraz, and Sheikh Mahedi can also open the innings. We have got a lot of options but we need to think about the team combination," Mahmud added.
Both Mushfiqur and Shakib opened the innings for the Tigers in T20Is just once in their career. Mushfiqur opened the innings against Afghanistan back in 2019 in Mirpur, scoring just five, while Shakib scored nine against West Indies during the ICC T20 World Cup last year when he opened the innings.
The opening slot has remained an area of concern for the team management, and since the retirement of Tamim Iqbal from the shortest format, the Tigers are desperately looking for a settled opening pair.
"None of our openers are unable to perform and we need to keep that in mind and in some cases, we need to change the positions. We might change the combination considering the pitch and conditions. But at the moment, I am not willing to disclose the names," he said.