The likes of Towhid Hridoy and Shakib too didn’t have fixed batting positions. Hridoy was groomed as an ODI No. 5 and had been playing in the position since his debut earlier this year, but he mostly batted at No. 7 in this World Cup. His best innings came against Australia, when he was sent in at No. 4.
The batting order shuffle was not the only reason for Bangladesh’s underwhelming World Cup campaign. Shanto pointed out their inability to convert starts into big scores, and their struggles adapting from the slow and low pitches back home to the ones in India where the pace and bounce was a little truer.
In the Pune match against Australia, Hridoy top-scored with 74, while rest of the other six specialist batters could not convert their starts. Shanto said that when the top-order doesn’t fire, it puts the rest of the batters under more pressure.
“I don’t want to talk about individual players,” Shanto said. “We didn’t do well as a team. The top-order batters had more opportunities. If we had big scores from the top, we could have been in better positions. We are hopeful they will get big scores in the future.
“Litton (Das) bhai, (Tanzid Hasan) Tamim and myself all got starts. We couldn’t capitalise on most of them. Our target in the future is to make use of these starts. We are saying it again and again, but we have to do it. We need to practice accordingly. Play on certain types of wickets. I am hopeful that this World Cup will help us in the future.”
Shanto himself has not had a great World Cup, especially compared to his pre-tournament form. He made 222 runs at 27.75 with just two fifties and bagged two first-ball ducks. However, in not sugarcoating either his own or his team’s performances, Shanto has shown the kind of straight talk that a good leader is known for. The BCB high-ups are considering him for Test captaincy later this month.
“We couldn’t win either of the matches that I captained,” he said. “There was pressure to handle against two big teams. I think there was a lot to learn, which will help me in the future. I have been leading teams for a while now. I think personally I am ready (for captaincy). If the opportunity presents itself, I will try to do it well.”