Bangladesh went into the second Test match at Eden Gardens with 14 members, choosing not to replace batsmen Mosaddek Hossain -- who had gone back home following the T20I series that ended on November 10 -- or Saif Hassan, who was ruled out due to injury two days before the Test.
The team management had ample opportunity to replace at least Mosaddek given that they needed an improved performance in the second Test after falling inside three days at Indore. It was a simple case of management, but one that was ignored.
The team suffered -- the repercussions all too evident yesterday when the Indian seamers began to take control of the match. First Liton Das, batting on 24, had to go off the field after being struck on the head by Mohammad Shami. Nayeem Hasan would suffer the same fate shortly afterwards.
Liton, an established batsman, had to be replaced by Mehedi Hasan Miraz as the concussion substitute due to the unavailability of a like-for-like replacement. Off-spinner Nayeem was replaced by left-arm spinner Taijul Islam. It had nothing to do with the batting debacle but it revealed much about muddled management.
Coach Russell Domingo lamented the injuries after the day’s play. “It’s a very unusual situation, particularly for the two batters. Going forward in the second innings, there is not much we can do.”
Something that the management could have done was to replace one batsman with another according to the need of the hour. Young Saif was in Bangladesh’s plans, but a finger injury suffered in Indore spoiled a potential debut.
“We would have preferred Saif in this role [as Liton’s concussion substitute] but the stitch he put in two or three days ago hasn’t healed,” Domingo said. “We had two spare batsmen at the start of the tour. There was no discussion to bring in another batter.”
But why was there no discussion? Even if the relatively new concussion substitution rule was not considered, a freak injury could have happened to another batsman on the eve of the match. Plenty of BCB high-ups had travelled to Kolkata for the historic Test but no one asked for a replacement to shore up a squad that had basically shrunk to 14 members. They are now left with off-spinner Mehedi having to play as a batsman and not able to bowl, because Liton was in the team as a batsman.
A few days before the India tour, the BCB had plucked eight players out of ongoing National Cricket League (NCL) matches to take part in the national team’s pre-tour camp, but did not see it fit to replace two injured players ahead of an important international match.
When going into a Test against the best team in the world, the think tank has shown that it is not just the team but the management too that is below the expected level.