Bangladesh T20I vice captain Tamim Iqbal said it is the right time for the side to start preparing for the 2020 World T20 in Australia. Bangladesh have registered drastically improved performances in the past few years but lack development in the shortest format of the game.
The Tigers had often reasoned less T20Is in the calendar for their slow development. But with a busy schedule up ahead, Tamim said the team should set their target and prepare as quickly as possible for the world T20 event, which is almost two years away.
Bangladesh this year including the two-match T20I series against Sri Lanka starting Thursday are set to play around 12 T20Is, the most since the side first played the format in 2006.
“We usually play very little T20Is but I think it is now changing. In the next one year we will play at least 12 T20Is which is probably more than the one-day matches we will be playing. So I think the time is perfect for us to work on our team balance and planning. The earlier we can start the better for us given there is the World T20 in 2020,” said Tamim to the media in the sideline of their practice session at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka Tuesday.
“We still have lot of time to go. I believe we have a lot of room to improve in this format. We play in an international standard domestic competition like BPL so we should improve in this format,” the left-handed batsman added.
Bangladesh are heading to the T20I series against Sri Lanka backed by a bitter recent past. The Tigers started the year with great momentum, making it to the final of the tri-nation ODI series, involving the Lankans and Zimbabwe, with authority. However, a late hiccup saw the side crash down to earth due to batting failure in the final. The side’s failure with the willow was carried to the two-match Test series. Bangladesh ended the first Test, in Chittagong, riding on fine batting performances only to face a humiliating defeat in the series decider in Dhaka. The home side lost the game within two and a half days by 215 runs, owing to poor show with the bat.
The failures developed off-field issues and raised concerns if the team in the absence of a head coach are being run properly. Tamim admitted that the team are disappointed with the defeats, saying, “There is no doubt that we under-performed but I think going into a new series and a new format, we should concentrate on how we can turn things around.
“We all know that we did not play to our potential in the Test and ODI series. There was no team performance and we had failed individually too. These things are part of the game and we should not keep thinking about the bad experiences. We will be playing a different format now and I hope everyone will give their best to win for Bangladesh,” said the Bangladesh T20I vice-captain.
The 15-member squad for the first T20I has six uncapped cricketers in the shape of Ariful Haque, Zakir Hasan, Abu Jayed Rahi, Mehedi Hasan, Nazmul Islam Apu and Afif Hossain.
Tamim believes all the newcomers deserve their places but said they should not be judged after just one game.
“I hope whoever gets the opportunity will make it work and make a mark in the team. But we should give them time if it does not happen right in the first game. There is no guarantee that a good player will perform in his very first appearance. It can take three or four matches at times but it does not mean that the person is not a good player. The selectors took them because they deserve it and I hope they will be given enough chances to prove themselves,” said Tamim.
Tamim in particular mentioned a couple of names among the fresh blood in the dressing room – middle-order batsman Ariful and right-arm pacer Jayed.
“I want to mention three names, especially Rahi. He is well deserving of his place given his performances in the last two BPLs. Ariful has been playing equally well in the last two or three seasons of BPL. We have always talked of having a finisher, someone who can hit big and I think Ariful is very much capable. He is very well deserving,” said Tamim.