‘He can’t do what Shakib Al Hasan is doing’- Chandrika Hathurusingha backs Soumya Sarkar to fill in big shoes

Dec 19, 2023

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Soumya Sarkar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Chandika Hathurusingha, Bangladesh’s head coach, expressed the challenges of filling the void left by Shakib Al Hasan in the playing XI as they gear up for the second match of the three-game ODI series against New Zealand on December 20 in Nelson. In the rain-affected first game, Bangladesh lost the game by 44 runs and are now aiming to win the remaining games to clinch the series. 

Shakib’s absence, due to a finger injury sustained during the World Cup, poses a significant challenge in Bangladesh’s lineup. Earlier, stand-in skipper Najmul Hossain emphasised Soumya Sarkar could play a crucial role in compensating for Shakib’s absence. Meanwhile, Hathurusingha cautioned against expecting Soumya to replicate the number one ODI all-rounder’s multifaceted contributions to the team over the years.

“He (Soumya) can’t do what Shakib is doing, but we are expecting him to bowl and bat and basically we are looking at him as an all-rounder. Bangladesh teams for last 15 years were used to having Shakib and we are finding it hard to make a combination and that’s why he (Soumya) is very important for us as an all-rounder to make up our XI,” Hathurusingha told reporters ahead of the second game at Nelson.

Hathurusingha expressed uncertainty about the reasons behind Soumya’s struggle to score runs despite displaying good form at the domestic level. In the opening game, Soumya faced difficulties, contributing to his team’s challenges by dropping two catches. Moreover, he endured a challenging performance, being dismissed for a duck and conceding 63 runs without picking any wickets in the six overs he bowled.

“I just saw him for the first time this match, so I don’t know what his problem is; he has been scoring runs domestically and we need someone who can bowl and bat because you know Shakib al Hasan is not here,” the coach added.

Hathurusingha reveals possibility of leg-spinner Rishad Hossain securing a spot in the XI

Hathurusingha added that they anticipate leg-spinner Rishad Hossain, who excelled in a practice game against the New Zealand XI with 87 runs and three wickets, to join the playing XI in the near future.  

“We were very tempted to play him (Rishad) last game as well. As we know our record here, it’s challenging for us since we haven’t won a game. We are losing lot of wickets early on and that is one reason we had gone with an extra batsman but going forward, we are looking a leg spinner, so he is our one leg spinner we really want in the XI,” Hathurusingha said.

The 55-year-old coach addressed the impact of the rain interruption in the first game, noting that it significantly disrupted their planning. He also mentioned the anticipation of a high-scoring encounter in Nelson, while also expressing uncertainty about the wicket’s behaviour.

“This wicket looks very good. We have played couple of games here in 2017. The 2015 World Cup wicket was really good for batting. The outfield is fast so we’re expecting high scoring games. I think it will be a nice sunny day and good for cricket. We haven’t made up our mind yet because the groundsman said he just watered it so we don’t know how the wicket is and have to wait till tomorrow,” he concluded.

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