After a 1-1 Test series draw at home against Australia, Bangladesh will be heading towards South Africa for two Tests, three ODIs and two T20I matches. Ahead of the tour, Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim wants some pressure off Imrul Kayes, Sabbir Rahman and Soumya Sarkar.
During the Australia tour, Imrul and Soumya had a tough time with the bat, as they were not able to score big in the entire series. Only Rahman went beyond the 50-run mark, with 66 in the first innings of the second Test.
Expressing his views on his batsmen’s form, Rahim said, “Every player wants to do well. There has been a lot of talk about Imrul, Sabbir and Soumya. While criticism is acceptable, please don’t do it unnecessarily. If they can’t perform, Bangladesh will lose more.”
He added: “It will take a lot of time to replace these players. It is hard to perform consistently so please don’t question them repeatedly. If they do badly, at least they will know that people around them are supportive.”
Bangladesh struggled with their batting in the second Test as they faced a hard time in searching for the opening combination and also being unable to decide Haque and Rahim’s right place in the batting line-up.
Bangladesh’s biggest concern would be finding a replacement for Shakib, who is being rested for the Test series. Although a solid all-rounder, Mahmudullah has been included in the side, as Shakib’s replacement.
Mushfiqur feels that players replacing Shakib have a great opportunity against South Africa. He said that he knew only about Shakib’s request for the break, when he informed the president of Bangladesh Cricket board.
“We need two players to replace Shakib. It is a bad news for a captain that the No. 1 player is missing. But those who will play in his place have a great opportunity in front of them. We played without Shakib against West Indies, Zimbabwe and New Zealand and we won, but we will still miss him. I hope he can use the break to recover fully.”, said Rahim.
“I heard about it when he spoke to the board president. I prepared mentally, but you cannot replace him. Cricket is a team game. If we can play as a team, we can do well,” he added.
On being asked whether Mushfiqur would also like to consider a break, he said, “I haven’t become such a big player that I will need a break.”