Shanto wants Mahmudullah and Shakib to ‘spread their experience’ around the team

Litton’s T20I form had dipped so much that he lost his place in the side after scoring 1, 23 and 12 in the first three T20Is of the five-match series against Zimbabwe. His last innings ended when he missed with three consecutive attempts at scooping Blessing Muzarabani, dragging the ball on to the stumps off the last one.

Chandika Hathurusinghe: “Taskin is a very important member for us. He’s a leader”AFP via Getty Images

‘Taskin is our leader of the pack in fast bowling’

Bangladesh are also hoping that their new vice-captain, Taskin Ahmed, gets fit in time to have an impact – Taskin was included in the squad despite a side strain.

“Taskin is our leader of the pack in fast bowling,” Hathurusinghe said. “The rules of the tournament allow us to carry someone [reserve players], and then we can make a decision. We are giving him the best chance to be fit to play.

“Taskin is a very important member for us. He’s a leader. That’s why he’s the vice-captain as well. We have the best medical and recovery procedures in America so we are going to use those resources and then give him the best chance of be fit for the first game.”

Despite the question mark over Taskin, Shanto believes the bowling attack can win them games at the T20 World Cup.

“We have a much improved fast-bowling department,” he said. “There’s a higher possibility of winning a T20 match if the bowling unit does well. We are also likely to play in conditions that may aid spin, so given our variation, they should also do well. Bowling is our strength.”

At the 2022 T20 World Cup, then captain Shakib and the coaching staff led by S Sriram had overseen a new, fearless approach from the players, which gave Bangladesh two wins. They have struggled at global tournaments on the whole, though, but Hathurusinghe is being quietly optimistic.

“I understand that we have high aspirations as a country. We have been playing good cricket generally out of the ICC events,” Hathurusinghe said. “As players and coaches, we also have high expectation. The first step is to get through this difficult group stage. We are in a very strong group so getting out of it is the main target.”

Bangladesh are in Group D, with Nepal, Netherlands, South Africa and Sri Lanka, and start their World Cup on June 8 with a fixture against Sri Lanka at Dallas’ Grand Prairie stadium.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84