Bangladesh embark upon another tough tour of New Zealand and the ODI leg promises much action given that this is all part of preparation for the 2019 World Cup. Here we try to list down five undervalued picks for the series from a fantasy perspective.
Soumya Sarkar (8.5 credits)
Soumya Sarkar is an underrated top-order batsman but ridiculously mistreated by Bangladesh. A fine attacking batsman and a prolific player when on song, Sarkar could be a key player for Bangladesh on the hard and flat New Zealand wickets. He, along with Tamim Iqbal, should open the batting and look to give Bangladesh early momentum.
What is in favour of him? Soumya has 255 runs in the last 6 ODIs at an average of 42.50 but hasn’t been a regular in the side. His advantage is that he strikes at a rate of 104.50 and given the frenetic pace he could put the Kiwi bowlers under pressure.
Mitchell Santner (8.5 credits)
Santner was grossly underused in the series against India but a fine bowler in the middle overs, Santner can dictate terms in the middle overs against a Bangladesh side which does not have Shakib-al-Hasan owing to injury.
What is in favour of him? With the World Cup approaching and New Zealand undecided on their frontline spinner, Santner, who is still being tried after a lay off in the format, could be tested in more trying situations with bat and ball. He has just 9 wickets in 14 ODIs since 2018 at an average of 50.88 but as a holding bowler he revels as evident from his economy of 4.77. He would be looking to pick more wickets this series.
Mustafizur Rahman (8.5 credits)
A strike bowler in every right, Mustafizur Rahman’s change of pace and cutters could be handy on New Zealand surfaces and the short boundaries could tempt batsmen to take on Mustafizur. The Bangladesh seamer offers a left-arm variation and with swing and seam coupled with his variations, Mustafizur is a dangerous proposition.
What is in favour of him? 29 wickets in his last 18 matches (since 2018) at an average of 21.72 with an economy of 4.20 makes him one of the best seamers in this time period in ODI cricket.
Mohammad Saifuddin (8 credits)
Saifuddin could be tested a lot this series after a successful Bangladesh Premier League for Comilla Victorians. With the World Cup approaching, Saifuddin could be an X-factor pick for the World Cup and will be tried a lot this series.
What is in favour of him? 20 wickets in 13 BPL games at an average of 17.80 and a restrictive T20 economy of 7.73. His 6 ODIs for Bangladesh since 2018 have yielded just 6 wickets at an average of 32.0. In form now, he might be on the lookout to bring that average down.
Colin de Grandhomme (8 credits)
de Grandhomme is a dangerous bowler when the conditions are in favour of him and a pinch hitter who could be tested higher up the order this series. New Zealand are finalising on their World Cup spots and de Grandhomme will be in competition with guys like Jimmy Neesham, Doug Bracewell, Daryl Mitchell and Blair Tickner.
What is in favour of him? de Grandhomme has been in form in the T20I series against India, scoring at a rate of 172.91. Given additional responsibility, de Grandhomme has shown and an elevated role in the ODI side could be in the offing.