Bangladesh need to get out of the Asia Cup euphoria soon and think about finding the right combination…..

Bangladesh featured in the finals of the Asia Cup for the third time, but yet again, they failed to break the hoodoo of finals. In 2009 they reached the finals of a multi-national tournament at international level for the first time and were left stunned by a Murali-magic with the bat. Since then, Bangladesh have played four finals in a multi-national tournament, but winning a trophy despite playing one-day international cricket for the last 32 years remains a dream.

Bangladesh’s advance to the finals of this year’s Asia Cup had not been rosy. They had to fight against a harsh reality, which melts down even the best. Previously, Bangladesh used to lose the battle mentally after the loss of one of their star performers. But in this tournament, each adversity made the boys stronger and motivated them to perform even better. Such an attitude was something new for the fans and their never-say-die spirit sustained till the last ball of Asia Cup Final, where they put the best batting line-up in the world under pressure.

India might have lifted the trophy, but Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and his boys have earned the accolades more than the champions from the intellects of international cricket. None of them thought, Bangladesh’s display was just another surprise package, but this time around, they gave Bangladesh their due credit.

The Asia Cup has ended, in Bangladesh, the euphoria still exists. The Bangladeshis, still, are enjoying by keeping themselves busy in analyzing the Liton-dismissal and the Mashrafe-craze has crossed the threshold level – an expected scenario. But, someone like me, always fails to engage myself either with a conspiracy theory or worshipping a human-being.

I am just asking myself, what next for the Tigers?

For me, the Asia Cup is past now and what I firmly believe, this Asia Cup euphoria should not last long enough to stop us thinking about the loopholes in our team, which still exists.

Frankly speaking, the Bangladesh top order is still in a shaky state. The search for Tamim Iqbal’s partner is still on and somehow, the think tank might be relieved by the graceful hundred of Liton Kumar Das in the final. But, yes, one must not be mistaken by the Miraz-gamble played in the final. The Miraz-gamble might have worked in the final, but definitely, he is not a long-term solution and still now, the young man is ideal lower down the order.

So, at present, Liton seems to be the ideal partner for Tamim. Now, what about the number 3 position? Bangladesh gambled with Shakib Al Hasan in this position this year, but I would still say, he is not suited to that position and number 5 would be appropriate for him. The number 3 slot, somehow, hampers Shakib’s natural game. His free-flowing nature gets diminished.

Who could be the best options at number 3?

At present, Mohammad Mithun can be tried in that slot. In the Asia Cup, he displayed the right temperament – assessed the situation well and his ability to ease the pressure by rotating the strike. His ability to occupy the crease can be beneficial for the Tigers if he is utilsed at number 3. The more he will get the opportunity to bat on, the more he will flourish. For Mithun’s backup, Nazmul Hossian Shanto and Mominul Haque can be considered. Shanto had a very torrid Asia Cup, but he has plenty to offer and deserves time and support. While Mominul Haque needs to reassess his game if he wishes to prolong his ODI career. Mind you, you can’t blame Chandika Hathrusingha now.

Soumya Sarkar can be very productive either at number 6 or 7 as because, while batting lower down the order in the final, Soumya showed enough sense and sensibility – an indication, he could play in a more cultured manner if used in positions other than opening. Even, I think, he could be an option at number 3 as well. Moreover, his gentle medium-pacers can prove handy on any surface. Especially in England, they can be the weapon to break partnerships and dry-up the runs in the middle overs

Tamim and Liton to open, Mithun at 3, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib, Soumya and Mahmudullah at number 4, 5, 6 and 7 while Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Rubel Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman come at number 8, 9, 10 and 11.

This can be the best combination for the future if utilised properly. The World Cup is still eight months away and before the World Cup, Bangladesh will play plenty of cricket to prepare themselves. The biggest challenge for Bangladesh would be to find the right combination and maintain the fitness. The loss of major players due to fitness issues in a big tournament cannot be fulfilled every time like this year’s Asia Cup.

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