Soumya Sarkar became the toast of international media for his stunning catch against Pakistan at Eden Gardens on Wednesday, but that could not stop a debate whether Bangladesh should pick him for their next match against Australia or not.
Beaten in the first ball he faced and bowled in the second, Soumya was unable to provide Bangladesh the kind of start they were looking for after being set a target of 202 runs.
His dismissal sent Bangladesh onto the back foot immediately and they could not recover from this initial blow despite the best efforts of Sabbir Rahman and an in-form Tamim Iqbal.
It’s, however, not his lack of runs that has sparked the debate involving Soumya. Rather the mode of his dismissal and his struggles in the previous matches forced some of the former players raise questions about his form.
Soumya perhaps played the ugliest innings of his career in Bangladesh’s last qualifying match against Oman in Dharamsala, when with his struggle for timing, his shots was a pain for the eyes.
He even struggled in the rain-ruined match against Ireland when he made 20 off 13 balls but not before he survived two catches, including one off the first ball he faced.
Earlier against Netherlands he was dropped in the fourth ball before he was finally dismissed for 15 off 13 balls.
Former Bangladesh captain Gazi Ashraf Hossain in his popular column in a local newspaper on Thursday said his innings in the qualifying round provided a kind of message that Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusinghe should have read.
“I have said earlier Soumya needs a break,” said Ashraf. “Sometimes players give a message through their performance and body language, which is what Soumya is giving now.”
“Coaches need to understand that. For some reason, our coach cannot understand the message. He is pushing an out of form player to a more hapless situation.”
However, not everyone is in favour of Soumya’s omission from the starting lineup right now. Soumya played a match-winning knock against Pakistan in a difficult situation only two weeks ago and has been one of Bangladesh’s consistent performers in 2015.
On top of that he is a fine fielder, an aspect of game which is no less important.
In the Oman game, Soumya executed a run out with a direct throw from nowhere and then against Pakistan he claimed what could be easily the catch of ICC World Twenty20, 2016.
Also there is no suitable alternative for Soumya currently in the team. Mohammad Mithun could be one option. But he has also struggled to prove his credential so far in international cricket.
Mithun opened the innings with Soumya in some matches in the Asia Cup when Tamim Iqbal was absent. But apart from a flashy 47 against unheralded UAE, he could not play any sparkling innings.
The return of Tamim relegated Mithun to the middle-order but he failed in this there role too. He got out for a duck against Sri Lanka and made just two against Pakistan in his last two innings, making his own position in the team insecure.
It therefore remains to be seen if Bangladesh, especially coach Hathurusinghe, will consider him as a worthy replacement for Soumya at the top of the order.