After Bangladesh lost the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle by a big margin in March 2017, they famously came back in the next Test to seal a rare away win in their 100th Test match. The players then revealed that they had instituted a policy of holding a players-only team meeting on the eve of each match so that they can talk through problems and find solutions on their own.
A year and a half later, that attitude surfaced again when Mashrafe Bin Mortaza took the decision to send Tamim Iqbal out to bat even though the batsman was sitting with his fractured left wrist in a sling in Saturday's Asia Cup opener against Sri Lanka. It changed the complexion of the match as it allowed Mushfiqur Rahim to add 32 priceless runs, and Bangladesh ended up winning by 137 runs.
That clarity of thought, lamentably, has not been found in the machinations of the team management. They needlessly dragged their feet about whether Tamim would remain a part of the Asia Cup when the whole world saw him sitting on the dressing room balcony with his left hand heavily bandaged. It was only yesterday that the team management announced, after Tamim had visited a German specialist, that Tamim would be out of the Asia Cup. Tamim will be flying home today and the reports from yesterday's scans will be sent to finger specialists in Australia.
"Tamim will be out for three-four weeks," team manager Khaled Mahmud told The Daily Star yesterday. "He will not need an operation, but the specialist in Australia will recommend the next course of action."
News had done the rounds that the secrecy about Tamim's status was to keep Afghanistan, Bangladesh's opponents on September 20, on their toes about the status of the team's most important batsman.
"Not at all, it was only to keep Sri Lanka guessing about whether Tamim would go out to bat," said Mahmud. If that was the case, it was brilliant because it did severely wrong-foot the Sri Lankans. But talking to Tamim and other players, and Mahmud himself, a picture emerged that although the idea was mooted by Mashrafe with 20 overs to go -- around the same time that Mahmud had announced that Tamim would not bat again in the match -- the final decision was a last-second one that Tamim made on a whim.
Also, while the management were asked repeatedly why they were delaying the announcement of Tamim's exit on Sunday, they could not come up with the reason Mahmud gave yesterday. If it was indeed to wrong-foot Afghanistan, then Tamim walking around with a sling in the same hotel certainly put paid to that. Whatever was the reason, there seems to be a lack of coordination in the management setup, and in that they can learn from the team.