Taskin Ahmed’s suspension will be a particularly heavy blow to Bangladesh’s chances © AFP
Mashrafe Mortaza has voiced substantial disappointment and disbelief at the suspension of two key bowlers in the midst of Bangladesh’s World T20 campaign. On Saturday, the team had been hit by the news that the bowling actions of left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny and left-arm paceman Taskin Ahmed were found to be illegal.
Mashrafe described the news as a “big blow” and said he found the ruling on Taskin – in particular – hard to swallow.
“We are very upset with the decision,” he said. “It’s very disappointing. We still believe that Taskin is alright. The system – I don’t know. We can’t do anything at the moment. We have to go through the process.”
Taskin had been particularly crucial to Bangladesh’s limited-overs sides. He had taken the new ball in each of the team’s World T20 games so far, and had also been effective during the Asia Cup, where he maintained an economy rate of 5.75 across 16 overs.
“These two bowlers have done very well for us,” Mashrafe said. “Taskin – in the last eight matches – has been outstanding. He has been outstanding all over the world. His economy rate is less than 6. It is a big blow. Sunny has been bowling well also.
“The team is very disappointed, and Taskin and Sunny are obviously disappointed. The whole team is behind them. At the moment it’s very difficult to understand, and tell them that everything will be alright. As a group, the coaching staff and players are helping them cope. All that we can wish and pray is that they fight it out and come back and play for Bangladesh.”
Discussions are understood to have taken place at the BCB on whether the results of the ICC test – conducted in Chennai – can be challenged. There is no firm word from the board yet, but it is almost certain Taskin cannot be cleared before the end of the World T20. He and Sunny were still with the team on Sunday.
“Whatever we want to say, we will talk to BCB,” Mashrafe said. “BCB will decide what to do, and talk to the ICC or whoever. But we still believe that Taskin – at least – is alright, and that Taskin can bowl.”
The suspensions, which were announced two days before Bangladesh’s match against Australia, have also left the Bangladesh squad short of bowling options. Mustafizur Rahman had been doubtful for the game, as he continues to recover from a side strain, but now has no choice but to play on Monday, Mashrafe said.
“Even if Mustafizur is at 20 per cent fitness, he has to play. We don’t have any players. He is getting better, but coming off that injury is not easy. He could play a supporting role to the main bowler.”
Bangladesh have sent for replacements, with left-arm spinner Saqlain Sajib and offspinner Shuvagata Hom due to land in Bangalore on Sunday evening. They will have to overcome travel fatigue in order to be available for selection against Australia, Mashrafe said.
“The two replacements are very much capable. But the point is that someone who is in form in international cricket, and someone who is coming into international cricket – these are two different things. I think both Taskin and Sunny have been brilliant; Hom and Sajib will surely do their best. They will not have slept all night, so they have to sleep all day. We have to make our plans and then decide.”
Having lost their first Super 10s match, Bangladesh will not technically be knocked out if they lose to Australia but a second defeat will make progression to the semi-finals very difficult. Mashrafe urged his team, and his batsmen in particular, to maintain focus on their matches in the face of distractions.
“We can’t just keep thinking about the suspensions. We all know that this Bangalore wicket is a high-scoring strip, so we have to work as a unit to be successful.”
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo