Bangladesh opening batter Tamim Iqbal feels that the team should have included senior players like Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah in their T20 World Cup 2022 squad. The Shakib Al Hasan-led side, who are placed in Group B of the Super 12 stage, are currently playing a tri-series in New Zealand.
Mushfiqur was dropped following a dismal 2021 T20 World Cup campaign in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
He was recalled to the squad for the 2022 Asia Cup but announced his retirement from T20Is following a poor campaign. The veteran keeper-batter managed to reach double figures in just one out of his last six T20I innings.
Meanwhile, senior all-rounder Mahmudullah, who led the side in the previous T20 World Cup, found himself axed due to poor form. He was largely used as a batter in 2022 but failed to make an impression. The selectors instead opted to go for Yasir Ali as an option in the middle order.
Stating that he failed to understand the management's decision to drop senior members for the marquee tournament, Tamim told reporters:
"I told you earlier if Mushfiqur (Rahim), Riyad (Mahmudullah) were there in this big stage like the World Cup, then I think it would have been better. Since you carried such senior cricketers for the whole year, then why (exclude) them just before the World Cup."
"At the same time, I will say that who are replacing them like Yasir Rabbi, is one whom I rate very highly... Afif is playing extremely well. The only request I can make, because that is the only thing I can do, and that is, we may have different opinions on who may or may not be in the side, but no one forces their way into the side and we should not write off someone before they even play a game."
Bangladesh are in the midst of a transition with a younger generation constituting the bulk of the squad. With senior players like Mashrafe Mortaza, Tamim, Mushfiqur, and Mahmudullah fading off the scene, the onus is on Shakib, the most experienced member, to leave the team in good hands after he steps aside in the future.
"Rohit Sharma, one of the greatest openers in the history of the game, used to bat at five or six" - Tamim Iqbal backs Mehidy Hasan and Sabbir Rahman at the top of the order
Bangladesh are on the lookout for a credible opening pair with Tamim and Soumya Sarkar not part of their first-team plans anymore.
While they have tried out the likes of Mohammad Naim, Anamul Haque and Liton Das, an unorthodox opening combination of Mehidy Hasan and Sabbir Rahman is in the works.
The team deployed the duo at the top of the order in the Asia Cup, and the early signs were deemed positive for it to continue in the upcoming T20 World Cup as well.
Sharing his thoughts on Bangladesh's new opening pair, Tamim said while citing Indian skipper Rohit Sharma as an example:
"I feel someone who opens should come out opening, but if there is any definite plan about it I cannot say that it is wrong. Rohit Sharma, one of the greatest openers in the history of the game, used to bat at five or six."
"Someone must have planned for him and he opened and now he has around 25 centuries to his name. So I cannot say that he won't be able to make it, neither Miraj nor Sabbir, and we need to give them time."
Bangladesh's preparations for the upcoming World Cup will continue with a contest against New Zealand on Sunday, October 9. They faced a 21-run loss in the tri-series opener against Pakistan.
Should the selectors have considered Mahmudullah for the T20 World Cup? Let us know what you think.