Testing bench strength likely in final ODI
With the series already in the bag and no stakes in the ICC ODI Super League standings for this series, Bangladesh have the perfect opportunity to test their bench strength going into the third and final ODI against West Indies at the Providence Stadium in Guyana tonight.
Bangladesh ODI skipper Tamim Iqbal stressed the importance of assessing the depth of the squad after their convincing win in the second ODI last Wednesday, so much so that the left-hander said, if needed, he would rest himself to try out different combinations and test the squad depth.
With Tamim's eyes set on forming the best possible squad for the 50-over World Cup next year in India, today's game could be deemed as the perfect opportunity for trials. That being said, on a tour in which the Tigers have been battered in the preceding Test and T20I series, Bangladesh will also be desperate to wrap up the series with a win in the final game of the tour.
However, given how Bangladesh would want to extend their winning streak to 11 ODIs in a row against the Windies and also ensure a whitewash of the Caribbean side in the process, a wholesale change in the playing eleven is unlikely.
Anamul Haque, who was called into the national side after over six years on the back of excellent performance in the 50-over format in the latest domestic season, has been unlucky to have not gotten a nod in the first two ODIs. Captain Tamim had preferred for Najmul Hossain Shanto instead in the first two matches, mentioning it would have been 'unfair' towards Shanto had he not been given a chance in the format.
But with a prospect of shuffling the playing eleven, Anamul could fancy his chances of starting the game. But that would require the team management to make a tough call, especially after Shanto had gotten starts in the first two ODIs.
Meanwhile, the team management could also rest ace left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman -- who only got a solitary wicket in the first two matches -- to make room for Taskin Ahmed, who was dropped after the first ODI, back in the eleven.
Spinner Taijul Islam and Ebadot Hossain are the two other available options for the Tigers' team management if they would want to make a few more tweaks in the lineup.
Apart from the prospect of making changes, one other thing the Tigers' think-tank might be considering before the third ODI is how their batting lineup is yet to face a challenge in this series. Bangladesh have had batting meltdowns in the Test and T20I series. And the fact the batting unit have not yet been truly tested in the ODI series, given that Bangladesh were set feeble targets in both ODIs so far, will definitely play a role in the team management's mind while setting the playing eleven.
While Bangladesh will be pondering over potential changes and combinations for the game, West Indies will be desperate to bounce back and avoid a whitewash in their own backyard.