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Mahmud positive about Shafiul, Mithun impact

  • Published at 03:33 pm July 24th, 2019
Khaled Mahmud

The Tigers have travelled to Sri Lanka without the services of two experienced bowlers in the shape of Mashrafe bin Mortaza and Shakib al Hasan

The last time right-arm pacer Shafiul Islam played for Bangladesh in an ODI, the side were taking its stride in world cricket, especially in 50-overs. 

Since the 2015 World Cup, the Tigers have been rising and along came a big change in the look of the squad with Shafiul one of the changes.

The fast bowler played his last ODI in 2016 but was never out of reckoning though. 

His regular performances had put him in focus but was never considered good enough to be in the ODI team. 

The last time he was included was during the tour of New Zealand this year for the ODIs, but he had remained without a game.

Now as the Tigers are touring Sri Lanka for a three-game ODI series, he’s finally back in national reckoning.

Shafiul Tuesday was included as the 15th member of the squad on an emergency basis.

He travelled to Colombo and joined the team with a day to spare to the first game.

Bangladesh head coach for the series, Khaled Mahmud explained the management’s worries with the bowling department and the reason behind the decision to include Shafiul in the last minute. 

The Tigers have travelled to Sri Lanka without the services of two experienced bowlers in the shape of Mashrafe bin Mortaza and Shakib al Hasan.

“It is the weather that we are a bit concerned of and the games are to be played with only a day’s difference. We had a place left in the squad so we thought of including a fast bowler. I feel the wicket and conditions here will see Shafiul do well here, given his experience. We are honestly concerned with our death bowling,” said Mahmud to the media in Colombo Wednesday.

“So we thought Shafiul will be a good inclusion, considering that he does well in the death overs in the BPL. If he is fit, we will have a good option in him. I am not worried at all with the batting department. The boys have been doing well since the World Cup. But with bowling there is a bit of a concern, we don’t have experienced bowlers like Shakib and Mashrafe. Those we have are capable but it is good to have an extra fast bowler in the squad,” the former Bangladesh captain added.

The last competitive game Shafiul played was against Afghanistan A Sunday where he finished with two wickets conceding 59 runs.

The Bangladesh think tank has for a long time looked into a bowling option in Soumya Sarkar since the cricketer’s inception in international cricket ahead of the 2015 World Cup.

However, it has only been very recently that the right-arm medium pacer is being used as a bowling option.

“I want him to bowl honestly. He is capable but at the end of the day it’s the captain’s call. We are preparing him in a way that he can bowl if he is needed in the game. And he has responded well, he was good in the practice game. We always think him as one of our bowling options,” Mahmud elucidated.

Bangladesh in the series also has to deal with absence of Shakib, who has been pivotal for the side batting at No 3. 

The left-handed batsman enjoyed a wonderful World Cup 2019 in England and Wales, having scored a staggering 606 runs in eight matches. 

With Shakib rested in the series, the team management are looking into Mohammad Mithun, who so far has responded well.

The right-handed batsman scored 91 in the practice game against SL president’s XI and made an 80-odd innings against Afghanistan A at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong before travelling to the island nation.

“He (Mithun) can be a very good option at No 3 as he has the experience as an opener. It is very important that we get someone who is stable and can bat for long at No 3, Mithun is one of them. I knew Shakib won’t come to this series so I have been talking to Mithun about this for long. This is a positive thing. Hope the game [Tuesday] will help him in the matches, and him batting well will keep the team comfortable as we had Shakib playing a starring role at No 3,” said Mahmud.

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