“If I don’t play well, I will be dropped too!” – Mehidy Hasan

All-rounder Mehidy Hasan of Bangladesh responded amicably to the decision made by the selection committee to bench Litton Das for the last match of the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) appointed a new selection panel last month, and this is undoubtedly one of the most audacious decisions the nation has ever made.

With just five fifty-score innings from 28 innings at an average of 26.04 in ODIs, Litton had a lackluster 2023. In 2024, he played two innings and both ended in ducks. The 29-year-old’s previous ODI hundred occurred in February 2022, just for the record. Mehidy gave a brutally honest evaluation of the development when he was questioned about the opener’s benching for the last ODI. He emphasized the value of performance consistency and expressed concern that the new selection committee would be harsh in their assessment of players’ abilities.

“Litton da has had several excellent innings of play. There are a few noteworthy innings. His being dropped isn’t really a big deal, in my opinion. I think he can return. He is capable of that. Litton’s type of player is well known to us. Not much has happened, although he has been dumped. Perhaps he’s a little off form right now. Mehidy told the media on the eve of the series decider, “I think he’ll join the Bangladesh team again.”

“You have to produce consistently in order to play for the national team. I’ll be dropped as well if I don’t do well. On the national team, you have to prove yourself by your performances. Look, Mushfiq [Mushfiqur Rahim] bhai has been here for a long time, consistently serving the Bangladesh squad. Riyad [Mahmudullah] bhai is still playing there. Everybody has highs and lows. It’s critical, in my opinion, to continue contributing to the team. Playing badly will not get you on the team. This applies to each and every player.

Gazi Ashraf Hossain, the recently appointed convenor of selectors for Bangladesh, had stated in February of this year that he wanted complete control over selection processes. In the past, bureaucratic or political noise from outside the country has frequently affected selection decisions in Bangladeshi cricket. Known for his candid style, Hossain had stated when he was appointed that he had been assured he would have complete authority while heading the selection committee.

Mehidy, nevertheless, doesn’t think the selectors’ comment about the Litton incident is unfavorable. “You see, each selection panel has a method of thinking. I can’t talk about it, in my opinion, since that’s how they think. I try not to talk to them too much. I believe the captain, coach, or team management will have a better way of putting it.

“Everyone thinks in different ways. Simply put, each player must give their best. You can’t play for the national team, much less elsewhere in the world, if you can’t perform. You have to play by giving steady performances. Each athlete should, in my opinion, take their performances even more seriously. They must put effort into the areas that require development.

In both of the ODI series’ games, the team chasing has easily crossed the finish line with a reasonably high scoring total. The toss will not be as important because it is a day game in the series finale, but the heavy dew in the evenings has made it so.

Living on the Chattogram pitches, Mehidy believed that these genuine wickets will aid Bangladesh in becoming a better white-ball team in every aspect. Although Chattogram is usually associated with producing run fests, the bowlers, particularly the pacers, have benefited from it in the current series.

“The fact that we are playing on solid wickets is a plus. It works to our favor. Whether we are winning or losing, we are constantly looking for results. We play on genuine wickets when we go to major competitions. Playing on such types of surfaces improves our habits and presents problems for pacers and spinners.

“We will have to try to defend 300 and chase down more than 300 runs (on this kind of wicket) and then we can get results at big tournaments like the World Cup and Asia Cup because we all know of our past experiences.”

Bangladesh was renowned to create spin-friendly pitches at home in the early days of their ascent as a white-ball team, allowing their pacers and slow bowlers to have plenty of game time. Over the years, the country has seen a gradual improvement in surface quality, with grassy decks becoming the norm. As a result, pace-bowling has increased across the nation and has aided hitters in developing their strokeplay. Mehidy is happy that Chattogram’s versatility in surfaces is yet another step in that direction.

“Playing matches on these wickets is, in my opinion, the perfect wicket. Batters who can score runs in large amounts and bowlers who can defend will become habits that will help us win major tournaments in the future.

We lost the previous game, you see. Since it’s a day match, we will undoubtedly have some advantage. Because the toss has a big impact on day-night matches. The side with the greater advantage is the one that wins the toss. Night wickets can be a little difficult for the spinners. In the opening game, the Sri Lankan spinners also had little assistance. Despite having good bowlers, they received little assistance. It was challenging for the spinners.

“Batters who get a start on good wickets should try to play extended innings; this is what [Najmul Hossain] Shanto and Mushfiq bhai did in the opening game. In the second game, Towhid Hridoy performed the same, but we were unable to assist him. When we lost early wickets in the first game, Riyad bhai carried out his attacking game plan, which made things easier for us.”

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