ROSEAU, Dominica: Comprehensively beaten in both Test matches by the West Indies, Bangladesh’s cricketers are hoping the clouds of uncertainty ahead of their three-match T20 International series will blow away in time for Saturday’s opening encounter at Windsor Park in Dominica.
While it is expected the visitors will be much more competitive in both the T20I’s and then the three-match One-Day International series which rounds off their tour, question marks over the availability of key players could have an unsettling effect on a squad in dire need of stability and direction.
Even after he endorsed Bangladesh’s greater affinity to the white ball formats of the game, and especially the 50 overs-per-side version, information coming out of Dhaka suggests Test captain Shakib al Hasan will miss the ODI leg of the campaign.
This is apparently because these matches do not form part of the ODI Super League where points are earned towards qualification for next year’s World Cup in India.
“I expect us to be a lot more competitive in the white ball formats,” said Shakib in the immediate aftermath of his team’s ten-wicket defeat in the second Test in St Lucia on Monday which gave the West Indies a 2-0 sweep of the series.
“The One-Day format is something we always do well in and we are not far behind in the T20 format either so I believe we will put on a show and be very competitive against the West Indies.”
Recent history bears out that confidence as Bangladesh won both the ODI and T20I series on their last visit to the region in 2018.
At last year’s World T20 in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, West Indies just managed to hold on for a three-run victory over the Bangladeshis, the only victory for the then title-holders at the main group stage of a massively disappointing campaign.
Apart from Shakib’s anticipated absence for the ODI’s, there is also speculation that three players originally selected in the T20I squad — Mohammad Saifuddin, Shohidul Islam and Yasir Ali — will not be involved in the two matches in Dominica at the weekend and the finale in Guyana on July 7.
Bangladesh on Thursday called up fast bowler Taskin Ahmed and off-spinner Mehidy Hasan for the three-match Twenty20 international series against the West Indies in Dominica from July 2. Taskin picked up eight wickets in three matches against South Africa in April until he aggravated an old shoulder injury.
He was already named in the squad for the one-day series in the West Indies starting July 10, but the Bangladesh Cricket Board said he will return earlier.
Mehidy has not played a T20 international since December 2018 but has been a regular in Tests and ODIs for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has been hit hard by injuries in the West Indies, missing pacer Shohidul Islam, batsman Yasir Ali and all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin.
The first two T20Is will be held in Dominica on July 2 and 3 while the third will be held in Guyana on July 7.
Guyana will host all three ODIs, respectively on July 10, 13 and 16.
T20 Squad: Mahmudullah Riyad (capt), Munim Shahriar, Liton Das, Anamul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan, Mahedi Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Nasum Ahmed.
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