Chance for batsmen to level up | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 18, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:12 AM, January 18, 2021

Chance for batsmen to level up

The onus will probably be the most on batsmen to adapt to international cricket after a gap of more than 10 months when Bangladesh will take on West Indies in the upcoming three-match ODI series starting from January 20.

Bangladesh played their last ODI back in March 6, 2020 against Zimbabwe and since then their participation in international cricket was halted due to the pandemic.

After a majority of West Indies' top cricketers opted to skip the tour, it has generally been thought that the Tigers' return to international cricket would be a comfortable one as there is a gulf of experience between the two sides.

Russell Domingo took up the Bangladesh head coach's role with the intention to create a better cricket culture after the Bangladesh Cricket Board parted ways with Steve Rhodes following an eighth-placed finishing in the 10-team 2019 ICC World Cup.

Increasing the comfort factor for Bangladesh is the fact that they will be making their return in their most favoured format -- fifty-overs cricket.

Under new skipper Tamim Iqbal, the focus will be on a positive approach especially from the batsmen to become a better unit in the ODIs, much like England did after their disappointing exit from the group stages of the 2015 ICC World Cup and then becoming champions in 2019.

It will be important for the Tigers' think tank to form a settled batting order and have a long-term plan for the 2023 ICC World Cup, which the selectors mentioned ahead of the series.

The presence of four experienced batsman in the form of Tamim, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, and Mahmudullah Riyad will be an obvious advantage but it is also the best time for players who have been playing for four or five years like Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar and Mohammad Mithun to step up their games.

It will also be a huge opportunity for youngsters like Nazmul Hossain Shanto and Afif Hossain to showcase their talent and give the team management the luxury of having a strong reserve bench.

Tamim is the most successful batsman for Bangladesh and of course there will be the added pressure of captaincy, but the other side of the coin is that when a leader performs well it encourages the entire team to give their best.

Tamim will be opening the innings alongside Liton Das who has been in terrific touch in the recent past and the elegant right-hander has all the attributes to run away with the game on any given day.

With the vast experience of Tamim and the pyrotechnics of Liton, the Tigers would really want to cash in and form an invincible opening pair that could lay the foundation of the innings in the limited-overs format.

The return of star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan after completing his one-year ban from cricket will allow the team management to add an extra batsman or a bowler to form a balanced eleven.

Shakib had the time of his life with the bat in the 2019 ICC World Cup coming in at number three and scoring 606 runs in eight games at an average of 86.57, including two hundreds and five fifties.

The champion cricketer will be hungrier than ever on his comeback, which will only help the Tigers and his experience will certainly help skipper Tamim get off on the right foot in his captaincy career.

The dependable Mushfiqur Rahim has always provided assurance in the middle order in any situation over the years. He has been one of the most consistent batsmen for Bangladesh across formats and the team management would really expect him to continue in the coming days.

Last but not least among the veterans, Mahmudullah Riyad has played many match-winning knocks for the Tigers over the years in various situations and positions.

The likes of all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin and the uncapped Mahedi Hasan can also provide valuable support with the ability to score some quick runs in the latter stages of the innings.

The ingredients are there for a strong future, and the Tigers should look to begin that path with the West Indies series.

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