For the second T20I series in a row, Bangladesh's selectors submitted to the team management's demand to include Soumya Sarkar in the squad. On Wednesday, chief selector Minhajul Abedin said that their plans to keep Soumya in the Bangladesh A setup ahead of the Ireland tour next month had to be changed because of his inclusion in the senior team.
Soumya, who along with Ariful Haque left Dhaka on Tuesday to join the Bangladesh squad in Guyana, scored only 129 runs in six innings, across both first-class and List A games, against Sri Lanka A during the recent home series. This was an attempt to bring him into contention for Tests and ODIs after he was being predominantly called up for T20Is this year. He has scored only 119 runs in nine T20Is since February, finishing with 18 runs in two matches against Afghanistan in June.
When Soumya was selected for the T20I series against Afghanistan, Minhajul had also said that his selection was the team management's choice. At the time, the management consisted of captain Shakib Al Hasan and interim coach Courtney Walsh. This time, the management includes new coach Steve Rhodes and manager Rabeed Imam.
"We have already sent Soumya Sarkar and Ariful for the T20 series," Minhajul said. "We, the selectors, had backed Ariful, but we were in two minds about Soumya because of his recent form. The team management really wanted Soumya, and since we allocate one spot for the team management's choice, Soumya was picked. We had other plans for Soumya. Bangladesh A has plenty of matches. He played against Sri Lanka A. We are still hopeful that he will do well [in the T20Is against West Indies]."
Minhajul, who didn't confirm which players will return once the ODI series is over, said that the team management is of the view that Soumya does well on pitches that offer pace and bounce. He averages 31.58 in 11 international games in Australia and New Zealand, and also had a couple of fifties in Ireland last year. However, he managed only 34 runs in four Champions Trophy matches in England in 2017, and averaged 22.20 in five innings in South Africa later in the year.
"He has played well abroad. He plays well square of the wicket on bouncy wickets. He hasn't been among the runs in the last eight months, for which we have suffered a lot. But since the wickets in the West Indies and Florida are slightly quicker, the management wanted him."
Soumya has shown flair while attacking short balls, but too often, he has got himself out after a quick start. He hasn't scored an international hundred since 2015, and hasn't held a regular place in all three formats since 2016.