Bangladesh’s unlikely heroes step up as race for World Cup spots heat up

The India-Bangladesh game in Colombo had all the tell-tale signs of a typical tour-ending affair for an eliminated team. Bangladesh are known for poor performances in the last games on tour. They made five changes in this inconsequential game. One was a forced change, but the rest seemed to be the team management testing their bench strength.

Tanzim Hasan Sakib removed Tilak Varma with a piercing in-dipper after sending Rohit Sharma packing for a second-ball duckAssociated Press

Hathurusinghe had special praise for Mahedi who was dropped after Bangladesh’s first game in the group stage against Sri Lanka. Long considered a genuine allrounder, Mahedi however hasn’t been able to nail down a spot in the XI.

“Overall as a cricketer, I was very impressed with his attitude and demeanour on the field. I didn’t see him much before, but he is so confident when he is bowling. He bowled some big overs in this game. He got us back into the game with Shubman Gill’s wicket,” Hathurusinghe said.

Tanzim’s performance surprised everyone including Hathurusinghe who felt the newcomer did his World Cup chances a world of good. “I don’t think he did his chances any harm. He actually put his hands up for the World Cup selection. Until now, we were thinking of trying to proceed without any injuries to our four fast bowlers.

“As you know Ebadot [Hossain] isn’t there for the World Cup. I think (Tanzim) showed us what he is capable of. I am pretty confident that if I had to rely on him, he has done well for his chances,” he said.

Though Bangladesh finished above Pakistan in the Asia Cup, not making the final will still rankle within the team. Hathurusinghe said that there are concerns in the batting department and although Hridoy continues to bat well, he has to take his innings deep.

“(Hridoy) is very clear about his role as well as his game at the moment,” he said. “He has been scoring runs since he made his ODI and T20I debut. Actually, I am a bit disappointed with him today. He got fifty and threw it away. He could have gone on to put in a more decent score. Overall, he understands his role and his game.”