Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo conceded that the team is yet to play a “perfect game of cricket” in the T20I tri-series, adding that to pull it off, they might field a four-man pace attack for the final against Afghanistan on Tuesday, depending on the conditions at Shere Bangla National stadium.
In the last two matches, the three-man pace attack – Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Saifuddin and Shafiul Islam – have taken nine wickets at an average of 18.44 and a strike rate of 15.33. Both matches were held in Chattogram where pitches for limited-overs games are usually flatter compared to in Dhaka. The greenish pitch at Shere Bangla could tempt the home team to add another pacer against the spin-heavy Afghanistan side. But the forecast of rain could change the plans.
Domingo said that even if the conditions on Tuesday don’t let them play four pace bowlers, it is a strategy Bangladesh must get familiar with in T20Is, given the next World Cup is going to be held in Australia in 2020.
“I think we are going to add a fourth seamer to our 12 and make a decision tomorrow, looking at the wicket,” Domingo said. “It is an area we can exploit if there’s more pace and bounce. But [playing four pace bowlers] is definitely something that we can consider. It is not a Bangladesh way of doing things. My thinking is where we are going to play the World Cup in a year’s time. We are playing in Australia, and I can’t see us playing one or two seamers there. We have to play at least three or four fast bowlers in Australia.
“Winning now is important but we also have to think of what is in the best interest of the team going forward. It is a fine line to balance it. It is always good to have a fast-bowling attack but I understand the culture, and the fact that the strength of the team lies in spin bowlers. I am trying to find the balance as a coach.”
Domingo pointed out that Bangladesh batsmen have been falling in a heap in the first ten overs and that, ahead of the final, they have been looking at playing a better game, ideally going into the final five overs with seven or eight wickets in hand. So far in the tournament, they have had scores of 117 for 6, 97 for 6, 90 for 3 and 101 for 5 in the first 15 overs. They have averaged 9.21 per over in the last five overs in these matches.
“It is always good to have a fast-bowling attack but I understand the culture, and the that the strength of the team lie in spin bowlers. I am trying to find the balance as a coach.”
“We haven’t played the perfect game of cricket yet,” Domingo said. “We have been good in certain areas and average in certain areas. We are still trying to find the perfect game. So we haven’t got to the last five or six overs with only two or three wickets down.
“We lose too many wickets in the first ten overs. We have to get to the 15th over with two wickets down, maybe, so that we have a platform for the last five overs.
Domingo also backed opening batsman Najmul Hossain, who has made just 5 and 11 in his two appearances so far in the competition.
“We will have a look at the conditions tomorrow. He is a young player and I have been very impressed with what I have seen, the way he carries himself, the way he trains, fields and fitness. Sometimes it is more than just runs and wickets that you look at. He provides us with an unbelievable work ethic and attitude which is important,” he said.