Soumya Sarkar was picked in the squad for the first T20I against New Zealand despite patchy form in 2016 © Associated Press
Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha defended the selections of Soumya Sarkar and Shuvagata Hom in the squad for the first T20I against New Zealand, which will be played on January 3. He also backed the decision to play Tanbir Hayder in the ODIs, saying the side was looking for a legspinner before the Champions Trophy in England later this year.
Tanbir played the second and third ODIs, finishing wicketless in both matches and scoring five runs. Hathurusingha said it was harsh to judge a player on the basis of two matches.
“Tanbir bowled well in [the training camp in] Sydney and then here also in the nets, and we were probably looking at the bigger picture,” Hathurusingha said. “We wanted to see a legspinner going for the Champions Trophy and the World Cup in England. So that’s another reason to play him as well. If you are expecting someone to come in and do well in two matches and establish himself, it won’t happen.
“Tanbir bowled well in the first game, and then in the second game he didn’t bowl as well as we would have liked and neither did the other spinners in our team. So, in that case we are disappointed. But I don’t judge a player in one or two games because we picked him seeing something in him and he has done well in practice.”
While Tanbir was not included for the first T20, the selectors showed faith with Soumya Sarkar despite his poor form in 2016. In 16 T20Is, he scored 287 runs at an average of 14.35 with a top score of 48. He scored 1 in the first ODI against New Zealand and was subsequently dropped from the remaining matches. Hathurusingha said Soumya was a proven match-winner and hence it was important to be patient with him.
“When he [Soumya] scores runs we win matches. That’s why we are still banking on him,” Hathurusingha said. “Someone who has got a batting average of 40-odd and strike-rate over hundred, we don’t have many in Bangladesh or even in world cricket.
“That kid can play international cricket. If you look at history, every good player – [Steven] Smith, [Joe] Root – all these guys got on to the international stage and then had a blip and then came back. I’m hoping that he will come back sooner than later.”
Shuvagata took two wickets for Khulna Titans and averaged 9.58 with the bat in this season’s Bangladesh Premier League. Hathurusingha said that Shuvagata was picked to maintain consistency in selection process, since he played in Bangladesh’s last outing in the format, the World T20 in March 2016.
“If you remember in the last T20, he played. We have to be very consistent in our selection,” he said. “We just can’t go by hearsay selection. What I am trying to do is bring stability to the team. The only way we can bring stability to the team is by how we act.
“He played the World T20 and he bowled well in the last two games. He is in the squad because of that. The other person, I think, competing with him is Mosaddek [Hossain], who is a similar player as well.”
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo