Parvez the latest entrant to opener merry-go-round
Bangladesh are all set to field a new opening pair as they tweak the team to eke out a consolation victory in the final game of the three-match T20I series against Pakistan at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.
It will be no easy task for the Tigers given the manner in which they lost the first two games at the same venue. Bangladesh will need to dig deep if they are to restore some pride in the final match after a barren run in the game's shortest format.
Unfortunately, it seems that the crisis with the Bangladesh team deepened after the two defeats to Pakistan. The think-tank, under the leadership of former national skipper Khaled Mahmud, drafted in some new faces to give them exposure after the T20 World Cup debacle, but after just two games they seem to have lost the plot.
In an interview with The Daily Star, Mahmud said: "You can think of it as an investment series for us." That gave rise to questions about whether they had chosen a good investment, to which he stated: "I feel the need for patience is vital for us at every level."
The last moment inclusion of young opener Parvez Hossain Emon in place of Saif Hasan for the third and final T20I hardly matches that line of thinking. Instead, it portrayed a lack of clarity within the Tigers think-tank and selection process.
Regardless of whether it is Parvez or another combination of openers today, it will be the Tigers' tenth different opening pair in 27 games this year in T20Is, reflecting a lack of consistency and patience towards players in the shortest format.
The inclusion of Saif as a T20 opener had surprised many and the manner in which the right-hander struggled to deal with quality bowlers and got exposed did not exactly come as a big surprise for many. But the exclusion of the batsman after two games shows how abruptly things have been going for the players.
"Saif failed to perform in two games, which is why we included Parvez for the third game. Saif will join the Test team in Chattogram. It's an opportunity for Parvez to showcase his talents. He has been in the set-up for some time now," chief selector Minhajul Abedin told The Daily Star. Will this game of inclusion and exclusion ultimately help these two young players?
Unfortunately, history suggests this kind of quick-fix selection policy only deters players' confidence. Players should take the responsibility for not delivering on the field, but it must be pondered whether this kind of practice actually hinders the development of a player.
The confusion over a stable opening pair started even before experienced Tamim Iqbal opted out if the ICC T20 World Cup, with the Tigers trying four different opening pairs ahead of the mega-event.
Despite being the only consistent scorer in the opening slots prior to the World Cup,
Naim was surprisingly dropped from the opening first-round game at the T20 World Cup, with Soumya Sarkar opening the innings with Liton Das as Bangladesh crashed to a shock six-run defeat against Scotland.
The team management then decided to tinker with the opening pair, returning Naim to his position alongside Liton. Following a dismal show in the mega-event, selectors then opted for a major overhaul for the three-match Pakistan series. Both Liton and Soumya lost their places for the Pakistan series but the experiment of including Saif did not work out, eventually forcing the selectors to make another change in the form of Parvez.
It may not be harsh to say that an unsettled team management cannot create a settled team at all.