Soumya joins Tigers for fifth ODI

All-rounder Soumya Sarker was added to the Bangladesh squad for the fifth one-day international against Zimbabwe, said the Bangladesh Cricket Board on Saturday. Hard-hitting Soumya, who opens the innings for Prime Bank Cricketers in the Dhaka Premier League, can also bowl medium-pace. Soumya has been included as the management is desperately looking for a seaming all-rounder ahead of the ICC World Cup to be staged in Australia and New Zealand in February-March next year. Taking the wickets and conditions of the World Cup co-hosts into consideration, the team management said they are keen to see their all options and Monday’s fifth ODI is their last chance to try a newcomer. ‘In the World Cup we may need a seaming all-rounder as the condition may suit our spinners,’ said selector Minhajul Abedin. ‘As a result we had included Soumya [Sarker] who has been in our radar for quite some time,’ said Minhajul.

‘We can go with four pace bowlers as the wickets will be more favourable for pace bowling. Among the seamers if someone can bat well it will give the team the right kind of balance,’ he said. Bangladesh had earlier tried Ziaur Rahman and Farhad Reza in the spot on different occasions but they failed to live up to their expectations making the door open for Soumya. Selectors had only other option in the position in Alauddin Babu, Soumya, a BKSP product who is considered more talented despite his ordinary first-class record. In his 32-match first-class career, Soumya scored 1568 runs at an average of 27.50 with 12 fifties with the highest score of 96. He grabbed just 18 wickets which, according to selectors, is a wrong indication of his all-round talent. Coach Chandika Hathurusinghe is so impressed with his talent that it was earlier reported that he insisted the selectors about picking him in the Test series as well.

His talent was spotted long ago when he was included in the Bangladesh side for a Twenty20 match against West Indies in 2012, though he did not play in the end. One major criticism about his batting is his inability to prolong his innings, which Soumya said also left him concerned. ‘It is true that I am yet to score a first-class hundred,’ Soumya said after his inclusion in the side. ‘It is an area I am really concerned about because now it is regarded as one of my biggest shortcomings,’ said Soumya. However, he is not ready to burden himself with the load of expectations. ‘I am not thinking too far because it will only complicate things,’ he said ‘Rather I am concentrating on my immediate assignment [against Zimbabwe] and if I am given a chance I would like to contribute.’

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