Bangladesh’s difficulty in finding big-hitters forced them to send Soumya Sarkar down the order, according to coach Russell Domingo. So far neither has the left-hander made an impact in the slog overs, nor has Bangladesh capitalised on their batting heavy line-up, having already gone down 2-0 in the three-match T20I series.
Bangladesh has scored only 41 and 48 in the last five overs in the two T20Is so far, despite having opener Tamim Iqbal settled at one end in case of the latter. Soumya came to bat after 17.4 overs in both games, having faced exactly five balls on both occasions. Domingo said that they had some interest in seeing Soumya’s ability to clear the ropes, although he had settled into a top-order role during the BPL this season, where he played for the BCB-managed Cumilla Warriors.
“Soumya had a lot of opportunities in the top of the order,” Domingo said. “I think he is a fantastic player. But we are definitely trying to find some guys who can hit the ball out of the ground in the back end of the innings. Bangladesh always seem to be short of some power-hitters at the back end. Liton normally opens the batting, but he is batting at No. 4 here. Probably out of his position and it showed a little bit.
“Soumya usually opens or bats at No. 3, but we have a whole host of openers. So we are looking at different combinations to see if they can take up those roles. A guy like Soumya, fantastically talented batter, we wanted to see if he can do it in the back end of an innings and hit the ball out of the ground.”
Domingo acknowledged that while some big players were missing from the usual T20I line-up, particularly Mushfiqur Rahim, who opted out of the tour due to security concerns, it remains an opportunity for the other players who have taken their place.
“We are probably missing three first-choice players. Saifuddin takes the new ball and bats at No 8. Shakib and Mushfiqur are also not here. But it is a great opportunity for these younger players, and to test the depth. Those players won’t be around forever. It hasn’t worked out but a guy like Naim showed in the first game and with that 81 against India, that he has the potential to be a good international batter.
“If those guys played, we might not have unearthed a player like Naim. Whilst the result hasn’t been great, it has been great learning for all of us, and especially those young players. How far they still need to go to get to the likes of Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez,” he said.
Domingo said that Pakistan’s bowling strength influenced them to bat first in both games. “It doesn’t look like an easy wicket. It showed in the first game. We got 141, and they got it with one or two balls to spare. We know how good Pakistan is when they defend a score, particularly their death bowling.
“We have an inexperienced batting line-up so we tried to get some runs on the board, and squeeze them with the ball in the second innings. It hasn’t worked out,” he said.
Domingo said that the difference two sides was too stark, and Bangladesh still has some way to reach Pakistan’s standards. “I am disappointed with today. I thought we challenged them much more in the first game. It wasn’t an easy wicket to bat on. I think the average game was 155. In the first game we were 15 runs short, and maybe we were 25 runs short today.
“That’s why they are ranked No 1, and we are No 9. At the moment there’s a big difference in terms of experience and skill. We have a long way to go, to catch up to them,” he said.