• Friday, March 06, 2015

Sahara CUP 2014

Time to confront hard questions

Bishwajit Roy

Bangladesh have probably already taken all the possible steps to demoralise themselves in this series. Rarely has so many close contests been played in a row with the same team repeatedly squandering the chances.
This team has a record of bouncing back from poor showings and one does not need to go too far back to find examples; a case in point is their performance in the second Test against Sri Lanka, where lots of issues were addressed in the drawn match after a below-par showing in the first Test at Mirpur.
Even so, it seems a tough ask for Mushfiqur Rahim's men to finish the series with some solace when they play the last two ODIs, especially after the shocking defeat in the first match.
Many have been searching for an answer about how a team could lose a match from such an advantageous position. But the team think-thank must find the answer.
If there is a question of lack of responsibility then the team management must come down hard on the players and momentarily abandon the policy of showing respect to 'international players'. If there was a problem with the captaincy then they must make it clear to the little man that he has to show courage and cricketing intelligence when the initiative is there to be seized.
The team management has to impress upon the players how important every match is in the current free-market cricketing climate where Bangladesh have to constantly prove themselves for long-term prosperity. No one will remember if the match was lost by 13 or 130 runs -- all that will register is a defeat, which will hurt the legitimacy of the country's claim for more international cricket.   
Bad luck may be an excuse -- although a poor one -- for the two close defeats in the T20I matches but how can one accept the defeat in the first ODI? Was there a semblance of a plan?

Just a look at one incident suggests that there was not. Sri Lanka suddenly brought a short leg fielder as Mahmudullah Riyad came in to bat, knowing his tendency of playing the ball with the turn to the leg side and the batsman generously obliged.
Whereas Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur made one mistake after another when rotating his bowlers, thus allowing Sri Lanka to recover from 67 for eight to post 180, the batting effort that followed was simply pathetic including the captain himself, who is considered a technically sound and cool customer in the middle.
But in the first place, was there any plan to shape a proper playing eleven? Why was Naeem Islam left out after a very impressive show in just the previous series?  Bangladesh must grow out of the mindless policy of considering a player focusing only on his recent form -- whatever the format. Surely the little recovery act that Riyad performed in the T20 series was not enough to snatch Naeem's place.
So there have been a lot of issues the home management need to address boldly and it would be foolish to blame luck only for failures, especially ahead of the approaching big assignments.

Published: 12:00 am Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Last modified: 12:04 am Wednesday, February 19, 2014

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