Monday, September 20US News

NZC to send weakened side, BCB must play smart

New Zealand Cricket has decided to send the weakest side for the Bangladesh tour as none of the members from their World T20I squad will feature in the series

New Zealand Cricket Monday named a 15-man squad for the World T20I 2021, alongside squads for upcoming limited-overs tours of Bangladesh and Pakistan.

They also named the squad for the tour of India that will take place following the World T20I.

However, NZC has decided to send the weakest side for the Bangladesh tour as none of the members from their World T20I squad will feature in the series.

And, upon receiving the news, New Zealand cricket has been at the center of social trolls among the Bangladesh cricket fanatics.

Their squad is scheduled to reach Dhaka on August 24 for a five-match T20I series.

The squads were declared while Bangladesh were busy taking a toll of the Australia cricket team at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in the last game of the five-T20I series.

Hosts Bangladesh dominated the visitors throughout the series, winning 4-1, and majority of the credit goes to the slow, low and turning tracks on the black surface in Mirpur.

The home team bowlers made the best use of the condition, while batters of both the teams struggled to put runs on the board.

There was however, no lack of excitement.

Bangladesh would now look to keep the spirit of the winning run against New Zealand, but it has now been marred by the New Zealand squad that is set to now visit.

The social media soon was flooded with trolling New Zealand.

A group claimed New Zealand are afraid to play Bangladesh and thus, sending a second-string team.

Many claimed that this is a strategy to make Bangladesh look low.

But the claims have absolutely no relevance if one looks at the New Zealand cricket’s engineering that has been done keeping their lengthy stint in Asia in mind.

On the contrary, NZC keeps player and staff welfare at the forefront of its minds and proved it by naming different squads for the tours of Bangladesh and Pakistan compared to their World T20I squad.

In total, 32 players have been involved through the tours, including a couple of first-timers.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Latham has been put in charge to lead New Zealand on tours of Bangladesh and Pakistan, along with coaching staff grouped particularly for these tours.

They kept regular skipper Kane Williamson, head coach Gary Stead and the World T20I squad at home.

They will only resume duties at the world event.

Wellington coach Glenn Pocknall will lead the tours to Bangladesh and Pakistan, alongside experienced manager Mike Sandle, before regular Black Caps bowling coach Shane Jurgensen joins as head coach for the Pakistan T20I series.

A good part of the Bangladesh cricket fraternity is in praise of NZC for the level of strategy that they have put to draw their long tour of Asia.

The five T20Is in Bangladesh were supposed to be part of the preparation for both Bangladesh and New Zealand building up to the World T20I.

So was the just concluded series against Australia.

But as it happened, Bangladesh against the Aussies took the option of winning by cornering the visitors on dreadful wickets, when it comes to playing T20 cricket.

Bangladesh hasn’t been wrong here, they do not get to meet Australia often so they chose to win making best use of the home advantage.

But while Bangladesh was achieving the rare, one cannot simply rule out NZC playing smart observing to what happened in Dhaka.

It can simply be the case that they found no point in playing in Mirpur, which has no resemblance to the country, the United Arab Emirates, where they are set to play the World T20I.

There is also wide discussions that playing in Mirpur, NZC do not want to frustrate their cricketers who are part of the World T20I squad.

Now the choice remains on Bangladesh Cricket Board.

It is understood that the board and the national team management are in discussion over what options they are going to take against New Zealand.

The discussion is that they want their players to play on good wickets, near similar to those which will be in Oman and UAE.

There is also the point that Bangladesh need to have their batsmen score some runs and boost morale ahead of the big tourney.

In the five games against Australia, Mahmudullah’s 52 off 53 deliveries has been the best score in an innings by a Bangladesh batsmen, while Shakib al Hasan finished scoring the most runs in the series, 114, followed by Afif Hossain’s 109.

The two openers, Mohammad Naim and Soumya Sarkar, perhaps suffered the most.

Naim scored 92 runs with the most runs, 30, coming in the first game of the series, while Soumya was able to total only 28 in the five matches.

Soumya had come to play against Australia having finished as the Man of the Series in previous series – against Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe.

With the scheduled home series against England getting postponed to 2023, the series against New Zealand is likely to be the last that Bangladesh play ahead of the World T20I, scheduled to take place in October-November.

New Zealand squad for Bangladesh

Tom Latham (c & wk), Finn Allen, Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell (wk), Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Jacob Duffy, Scott Kuggeleijn, Cole McConchie, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra, Ben Sears, Blair Tickner, Will Young

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