A Mosaddek Hossain-Sabbir Rahman jostle for no. 7 spot

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Mosaddek Hossain was picked as a back-up, but is now in contention to be a first-choice starter at the World Cup © Getty

A stiff competition between Mosaddek Hossain and Sabbir Rahman has opened up a No.7 conundrum for Bangladesh ahead of the 2019 World Cup. Mossadek has stormed his way into contention for a starting spot via his heroics in the historic tri-series final victory for Bangladesh.

Sabbir has a good chance to impress the selectors and his captain in Tuesday’s warm-up fixture against India, but sources close to the team management claimed that Mossadek is likely to get preference over Sabbir in the first couple of games.

The inclusion of Mossadek in the 15-member squad was based upon a lot of permutation and combination as he was mainly picked as a back-up option. Mahmudullah’s shoulder injury though, played a big part in his selection as the team management was not sure when he will be able to bowl a couple of overs. Though Mahmudullah has begun bowling in the nets, it is still very early to say whether he will be able deliver from the beginning of the World Cup.

Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes remains confident of Mahmadullah’s availability from the beginning of the tournament, who is currently nursing a shoulder injury.

“Mahmudullah’s shoulder is coming along a little slowly. I don’t think it would have been possible for him to bowl against Pakistan. We’re very optimistic that we can get him up and running for the early stages of the World Cup. It may affect our balance slightly, but the good thing about Mahmudullah is that he doesn’t need a lot of practice to be good at bowling,” Rhodes said.

Mosaddek’s inclusion also comes with Bangladesh’s need to have a back-up option, should Mehidy Hasan fail to deliver. The off-spinner though bowled remarkably well during the recently-concluded tri-series. However, Sabbir too has looked an automatic choice in the playing XI at No. 7, following his solid return from the BCB-imposed ban.

The unexpected side-strain injury of Shakib Al Hasan that forced him to be ruled out from the tri-nation final against West Indies and opened the door for Mossadek, who seized the opportunity with both hands. While Mossadek seized the opportunity, Sabbir failed to do so, which could bring Shakib back at No. 5, where he has batted for most part of his career.

“I am not thinking that way [that he is my rival],” Mossadek told reporters. “I want everyone to play well. I don’t want someone to play badly so that I can get into the team. Bangladesh team is ahead of everything. I want Bangladesh to play well,” he said.

“In this condition, bowling is tough. For spinners, its more difficult. As there is no turn, ball comes onto the bat nicely. Its just not for us, it would be tough for all the spinners from every team. I will try to contain the batsman and give as less runs as possible. I want to contribute for the team as I did in the final match of tri-series. I want to give my all. I want to be fully fit for the World Cup by performing well against India,” he concluded.

“Practice match [against Pakistan] was very important for us, I didn’t get much time to bat in the tri-nation series, top order played really well, that’s why I didn’t get a chance. This practice match was very important for me, next match is also very important. I am bit disappointed that we couldn’t play,” Sabbir said.

“I always believe in practice. If I can do well in practice, my confidence builds up from there. Doing well in practice means I can also perform well in the match. As I didn’t play the match, I have to build up my confidence from practice,” he said adding that he is now more mature to handle pressure than before and looked to be more capable than what he was during his maiden appearances in World Cup in 2015.

“2015 World Cup was very exciting and emotional, as it was my first World Cup. But in this World Cup I am more mature now I have played in the national team for about four years now,” he said. “Those things that I have earned through my maturity and strength, I will try to give it all in this World Cup. I always played in tough and challenging situations, this time it would be no different, I will try to give my 100 percent and play my best cricket in the World Cup,” he said.

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