“The plan is to split wicketkeeping duties in this series, make it two games each and make a decision in the fifth game.”
Rahim has kept in all but four matches in the 86 T20Is of his career, including last year’s Zimbabwe series. Liton Das kept wickets in his absence in the T20Is in New Zealand this year, before Nurul took over against Zimbabwe and Australia. The general feeling among many in Bangladesh is that Nurul is the country’s best wicketkeeper, and given his recent batting form, the team management had to make this call.
“(Nurul Hasan) Sohan will keep wicket in the first two games,” Domingo said. “The plan is to split wicketkeeping duties in this particular series, make it two games each and make a decision in the fifth game. I think it is important to have those options covered.”
But there’s no questioning Rahim’s importance as a middle-order batter. He will bridge the top and middle order from his No 4 spot, with the expectation that he can bat deep into the slog overs where he often opens up with the big hits.
“I see Mushfiq probably starting at No. 4. He is successful there. He can hold the innings together for us. He can also rotate strike in the middle overs. He can finish well for us. It is good to have him back in the squad,” Domingo said.
Bangladesh have developed other types of T20 talents like Mahedi Hasan, who is used as a shock factor both with the ball and bat. Mahedi is often tasked to bowl his brand of loopy and at times slingy offspin in the powerplay. He is also considered a pinch-hitter although his domestic numbers say he is more than a capable batter in the top three in T20s.
Domingo seems to enjoy having Mahedi in the mix, particularly in a batting line-up that can sometimes slow down. “He is almost a free player for us. A 20 off 12 balls from him is a big contribution for the team. He has played some important little cameos for us in certain stages.
“We will use him up the order when we feel we need a little bit of aggression or explosiveness to get ahead of the run-rate, but it is not going to be a regular occurrence. He has done really well in domestic T20s, but it is a big step-up to international cricket.”
Mahedi even opened the batting against Australia in the last game, and actually delivered their best opening partnership with Mohammad Naim in the series. Domingo said that the opening partnership isn’t a worry, pointing out that Naim, if he raises his game further, has the potential for a long white-ball career.
“(Naim) will be a fantastic player for Bangladesh in white ball cricket. He is still finding his feet. Regarding his technique and ability, his work ethic has been fantastic. He has played some good innings for us. He has some work against spin, when trying to rotate strike. I am very pleased with his progress,” he said.
The New Zealand series will also be Bangladesh’s last T20Is before the T20 World Cup, for which they have to announce the squad before September 10. Domingo said ideally, he would have liked the squad being announced before the New Zealand series.
“I think the squad needs to be announced a day or two before the New Zelaand series is complete. I think we have a pretty good idea who will be in the squad. It would be great to announce the World Cup squad before we play the New Zealand series, to put players’ minds at ease.
“They can go out there and play, without the fear of WC selection just around the corner. But I don’t think we can do that yet,” he said.
Domingo said that Bangladesh would like to continue to dominate visiting teams, even though batting conditions may be difficult given the types of pitches that can be prepared at this time of the year in Dhaka.
“Winning the series is important. We are playing at home, so we want to continue gaining confidence before the World Cup. In terms of areas of improvement, batting conditions have been really difficult. It would be great if we got some bigger scores, but that depends on what conditions allow you to do.
“I think bowling confidence and getting into a winning habit is also very important, so we must make sure we continue to do that,” he said.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84