Sunday, May 19, 2024

Afif sidelined ‘not because of his face but performance’

Sports Desk : dhakamirror.com

Afif Hossain became a regular face in Bangladesh’s playing XI for the past two years in the shortest format of the game. He actually set a record of playing 61 straight matches before getting dropped from the lineup in the final T20I against England in Dhaka. Later in the Ireland ODI series, Afif sat on the bench for the first two matches and then got dropped from the final ODI squad as the team management wanted to ‘reduce squad members’.

Now, Afif is out of the T20 squad against Ireland as well. And, the sole reason behind that is his performance, ensured by Tigers’ head coach Chandika Hathurusingha.

“Of course (he is out of the team for poor performance), not because of his face. Anyone getting dropped is for performance,” said Hathurusingha on Sunday.

“Sometimes if you want to do something tactically different, that’s also a reason sometimes,” he added.

Hathurusingha also showed the way for Afif to get back to the team – score more and more runs.

“He has to do what anyone else has to do – go and score runs. I have spoken to him about which areas he needs to improve. If he does that, and he is available, he will be treated as everyone else on the team,” he concluded.

Afif made his T20I debut against Sri Lanka in February 2018. He did not score any runs in his debut match. After a long time, he played the second T20I on September 13, 2019. He scored 52 off 26 balls in his returning match against Zimbabwe. After that, he played 61 consecutive matches until the last T20I of the last series against England.

He scored three fifties in a career of 62 matches. He bagged 1020 runs at an average of 21.25. However, the strike rate of 120.28 was a big question. It did not quite satisfy the demand for a late blitz which was expected from him in the latter part of the innings.

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