With the uncertainty surrounding the possibility of Bangladesh touring Pakistan now put to rest after the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) decided to send the team in three short visits, the cricketers started training for the assignment under head coach Russell Domingo at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
The Tigers are scheduled to travel to Pakistan for the first leg on January 22 and reach Lahore on January 23. The players are expected to practise on the same day before taking part in the first match of the three-match T20I series in Lahore on January 24.
The three-match T20I series will also be the start of the Tigers’ road to the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia in October. The selectors have tried quite a few new faces especially in the shortest format of the game over the past few years but head coach Domingo is now looking for continuity in the T20 squad with the flagship event in mind.
“Depending on how they do [continuity for the players]. If a player is out of his depth, we can’t keep going with him. If a player has potential to develop, you have to run with those players. After this series, we have to keep our squad as small as possible. I think we can play with a maximum of 16 or 17 players in the next couple of series,” Domingo told reporters yesterday.
Young pacer Hasan Mahmud is the newest face in the Tigers’ ranks while the likes of Mahedi Hasan, Afif Hossain, Aminul Islam and Mohammad Naim will also look to establish themselves in the side.
“It will be the first time I will be working with Hasan Mahmud. I have seen some of his performances in the matches and nets of the Emerging Team. It is a young group of players and shows depth within our system. Hopefully some of these players can make a big play to get into the World Cup squad. It is not finalised yet.
The 45-year-old South African also hinted at some tactical changes in the batting order for the Pakistan tour and informed that it would be the responsibility of the players to adapt to new conditions and positions in the coming days.
“The best players can play under any condition, in any position. If you bat Eion Morgan at number 3 or 6, he is successful. If you bat Kane Williamson at number 3 or 5, he will find a way to do that role. It is a great opportunity for the young players to find new strings to their game. I am excited by it.
“If a guy like Liton [Das] has to bat at number 4 for a game or two, that’s fine. If [Mohammad] Mithun has to bat at number 3, that’s okay. If Afif [Hossain] has to go from number 6 to opening, he has to learn to do those things. A guy like Soumya [Sarkar], who batted number 3 in India, may end up batting at number 6 in Pakistan. [Mahmudullah] Riyad may bat at number 5. Afif might come up to 3 or 4. [Nazmul Hossain] Shanto has finished his [BPL] campaign well,” he said.
Talking about continuity, Domingo was also banking on Mahmudullah to lead the Tigers in the upcoming T20 World Cup, “I am hoping he leads us in the T20 World Cup. He has my full support. I thought he did a great job in India. I have enjoyed working with him. I think he is a good professional. He has respect in the change room and is a world-class player. He is my captain,” he added.
The South African also said that it was not a tough decision for him to travel to Pakistan and also added that playing under tight security will not affect the focus of the players.