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Saifuddin's World Cup omission sparks heated debate

Sports Desk
15 May 2024 20:22:23 | Update: 15 May 2024 20:22:23
Saifuddin's World Cup omission sparks heated debate
— Courtesy Photo

All-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin's exclusion from Bangladesh's T20 World Cup squad has sparked heated debate within the cricketing community. Despite taking eight wickets in the recent T20I series against Zimbabwe after a year-long hiatus from the format, Saifuddin failed to secure a spot in the team.
The selection panel, instead, opted for right-arm pace bowler Tanzim Hasan Sakib, reports UNB.
“Based on Saifuddin's performance, we felt Tanzim was a better choice for fulfilling our expectations,” explained Gazi Ashraf Hossain, the BCB's chief selector, during a press conference on Tuesday. “However, it was a close decision,” he acknowledged.
Saifuddin's return to competitive cricket after recovering from a back injury was impressive, contributing significantly to Fortune Barishal's maiden Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) title.
He continued to perform well in the Zimbabwe series until the final match in Dhaka, where he conceded over 50 runs. This dip in form may have played a role in his omission.
“A conclusion cannot be drawn solely based on the number of wickets,” Gazi Ashraf said, referring to Saifuddin's three-wicket haul in the first match in Chattogram. “Especially in T20Is, you need to consider the timing, method, and context of wickets taken. In Chattogram, the top-order batters fell quickly.”
Gazi Ashraf also pointed out the inconsistency in Saifuddin's short-pitched deliveries during the series, with some landing too short and others flying over the batter's heads.
“We examined Saifuddin in the role where we thought he was needed,” Gazi Ashraf added. "In the last match, we fielded only two pacers, aiming to provide Saifuddin with the opportunity to bowl all four overs. Now, if he bowls poorly in two of them, that's a significant issue."
Before announcing the final squad for the World Cup, Bangladesh submitted a preliminary team to the ICC. Gazi Ashraf said the only change to that team is Saifuddin's exclusion.
The chief selector defended the decision to include Tanzim, saying the pacer has better focus in his game than Saifuddin. "We observed Sakib [Tanzim] in the series against Sri Lanka as well. His concentration and determination to perform at his best made him a better choice than Saifuddin," he added.
Bangladesh team is scheduled to depart for the USA early Wednesday for a three-match T20I series against the hosts in Houston, followed by a practice match against India in New York, before the World Cup commences.