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'We are missing three first-choice players' - Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo
Bangladesh News

'We are missing three first-choice players' - Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo

Russell Domingo lamented the absence of three key players in the Bangladesh line-up resulting in their depleted squad facing a T20I series loss to Pakistan in Lahore.

The Bangladesh coach conceded the team was mired in problems of inexperience against a quality opposition like Pakistan but hoped the younger lot would soon step up to fill in the shoes of the veterans.

"We’re probably missing three first-choice players. You think of Saifuddin with the new ball and batting at No.8. Shakib and Mushfiqur are also not here," he told reporters in Lahore on Sunday.

"But it is a great opportunity for all of these younger players. You try and test the depth because those players are not going to be around forever."

Bangladesh's lack of depth in the batting department, in particular, has been a major worrying sign for the tourists after racking up two below-par totals while batting first.

All of the three players identified by Domingo as being important to the team have been forced to miss the tour owing to different reasons.

Seam-bowling all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin was a consistent performer for his side in the ICC World Cup but has been plagued with injury woes since the marquee event.

Shakib Al Hasan was embroiled in a much-publicised tussle with the Bangladesh Cricket Board over better pay and later copped a one-year suspension from the game in an unrelated incident for failing to report corrupt approaches.

Wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim pulled out of the Pakistan tour due to apprehensions of his family regarding his safety.

Amidst this backdrop, Domingo believes the rookie Bangladesh players are learning their lessons moving forward and are grabbing the chances to cement their position in the long-run.

"It hasn't worked out but a guy like Naim showed in the first game on Friday and 81 against India, that he has the potential to be an international batter. If those guys had played, we might not have unearthed a player like Naim."

"In today's lineup, we had Naim, who is playing his fifth T20I, Afif might have played nine or 10, Mahedi batted at No. 3, this is his second game. They played against a quality attack on a tough wicket so hopefully, they would have learned some lessons."

'Trying to find some guys who can hit the ball out of the ground'

The 45-year-old South African also said that Pakistan's dominance in the two games reflected their No. 1 ranking in the format.

"In the first game, we were probably 15 runs short and today we were 25 runs short."

"But that is why they are ranked number one and we are number nine in the format. There is a big difference between the two teams in terms of skills and experience."

When asked about Bangladesh's reshuffling of the batting order, Domingo maintained this was a strategy to find a solution to the team's issue of a dearth of power-hitters.

Soumya Sarkar and Liton Das were sent in lower down the order despite spending most of their playing career batting at the top.

"Soumya has had a lot of opportunities in the top-order and 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," he stated.

"Bangladesh seems 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."

This tactical move has not yet paid off but it outlines another area of concern troubling Bangladesh.

"We have a whole host of openers and are trying out different combinations. A guy like Soumya, fantastically talented batsman, we wanted to see if he can do it in the back end of an innings and hit the ball out of the ground so that is the reason for his demotion."