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BAN vs AUS | Shakib Al Hasan could open in case Sarkar is ruled out, asserts Russell Domingo

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Russell hints at Shakib opening in Sarkar's absence

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BAN vs AUS | Shakib Al Hasan could open in case Sarkar is ruled out, asserts Russell Domingo

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SportsCafe Desk

08/01/2021

Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo has hinted that senior player Shakib Al Hasan is likely to open the batting order for the team in the upcoming T20I series against Australia. Domingo backed his batters to play with a clear mind while facing Australia's duo of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

Bangladesh are set to host Australia for the five-match T20I series scheduled to begin on August 3 (Tuesday) in Dhaka. The hosts are coming fresh from their 2-1 T20I series win in Zimbabwe and will aim to beat Australia in their first T20 bilateral series. 

Bangladesh won’t have the services of veteran opener Tamim Iqbal who is recuperating with his knee injury, with Soumya Sarkar who made his comeback in the Zimbabwe T20Is uncertain to play. Bangladesh's head coach Russell Domingo showed confidence in the left-handed batsman to gain complete fitness for the first match. However, if Sarkar remains absent, he stated that senior all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan could be seen opening the innings. 

"Firstly there is no major injury concern. Soumya Sarkar is recovering from a mild strain that is carrying from Zimbabwe but I am pretty confident that he will be fit. We have got a long batting order. Obviously, Shakib is there and he could move into the opening spot while Mithun is a middle-order batsman and he can bat at the top as well,” Domingo said in a press conference. 

Australia has enjoyed the history of winning five World Cups and the country boasts many big names who have created a massive impact in world cricket. Domingo said Australia’s squad is missing their top-class players and he has confidence in his team to beat the Kangaroos at home. 

"We know that Australia has a rich history of cricket but the history that has been created by the group of Australians are not here at the moment. For us to compete and win the series we have to be at the top of our game. As a coach, I am confident that if we can do the basics really well, we can push Australia and beat them here. I don't think psychologically it's a massive issue," Domingo said. 

Bangladesh wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim was ruled out of the T20I series for failing to report for the 10-day mandatory quarantine period, which was an agreement between the two cricket boards. Domingo expressed his displeasure over the management of Rahim’s case but said the senior player’s absence will provide the opportunity for some of the young players to step up and play at their best. 

"I can't understand the stringent rules Australia placed on Mushfiqur's bubble. I think 10 days would have surely been enough. It's very disappointing the way they went about it," Domingo said. 

"But look, we want to play against the best team in the world and it's an opportunity for one or two younger players or fringe players to come and play, and I am sure they are capable of it. No Mushfiqur is surely a loss for us but we have got a big squad and some quality players to replace him,” he added. 

Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood rattled the West Indies batters in the ODI series where Australia won 2-1. Starc, with 11 scalps, was the leading wicket-taker among both sides. Domingo backed his batters to play with a clear mindset while facing Australia’s new-ball pair and bank on their bad deliveries. 

“Mitchell Starc and Hazlewood are quality bowlers and we have looked at some of their footage. But at the end of the day, you will play the ball not the man. End of the day they are humans and will bowl some bad balls. We got to play with a clear mind and absolute clarity that we have got to put away the bad balls," Domingo concluded. 

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