Tactically flexible spinners to play key role
Many may point out Bangladesh's weaknesses in the T20 format to be the lack of power hitting ability alongside their fragile top order, but one should also not forget that the Tigers spin-bowling department could prove to be decisive behind their success in the ongoing Asia Cup.
The Tigers, however, will surely miss a leg-spinner in the squad. Among the five teams -- Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan -- who directly qualified for the continental tournament, only Bangladesh do not possess a leggie in their ranks.
Both Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, who are pitted with Bangladesh in the same group, have world-class leggies in Rashid Khan and Wanindu Hasaranga, respectively, in their squads.
Shakib Al Hasan and his troop will have to be on top of their game to pass the first hurdle in Group B, so that they have one foot in the top four when Bangladesh, in their opening game, take on Afghanistan on August 30 in Sharjah.
The Tigers will have to rely on the left-arm spin of Shakib, who is expected to lead the spin department, while the likes of Mahedi Hasan, Nasum Ahmed and Mehedi Hasan Miraz are the other specialist spinning options in the squad.
According to Bangladesh batter Shamsur Rahman, who played nine T20Is for the Tigers, it will be important for the Bangladeshi spinners to remain confident even if things don't go in their favour during the game.
"Look, we know leg spinners play a huge role in modern day T20s and we will certainly miss a leg spinner on our side," Shamsur told The Daily Star during its multimedia show titled 'Non Striker's End' yesterday.
"But it is important for our existing spinners to be able to execute their plans in the middle, and I believe they have the ability.
"You have to be confident to be able to change the plan instantly and Shakib knows it very well. So it will be important for the other spinners like Nasum or Mahedi to contribute and create pressure on the opponent batters," Shamsur added.
Skipper Shakib also has some part-time off-spinning options in Mosaddek Hossain, Afif Hossain and Mahmudullah Riyad, who are expected to chip in with crucial overs and breakthroughs.
However, the small Sharjah ground, where the Tigers have never been able to win a game in the past, could test the Bangladeshi spinners, reckons Shamsur.
"It is important that every single member in the team plays their part. Suppose Afif gets the opportunity to bowl, he should make it count. Riyad Bhai and Mosaddek have the ability to give breakthroughs in crucial phases of an innings, Shamsur said.
"And since we will be facing Afghanistan in the opening game in the small Sharjah ground, it will be important for our spinners to have the plan B in store as the batters would try to utilise the short boundary and come hard right from the start."