Tigers looking beyond mere parity
Is BCB's chief curator Gamini Silva under pressure?
Immediately after the home brigade turned up at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday, ahead of Friday's second and final Test against England, almost everyone walked to the middle of the ground to have a look at the pitch.
Selectors Minhajul Abedin, Habibul Bashar and Sajjad Ahmed, head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, captain Mushfiqur Rahim, vice-captain Tamim Iqbal, senior players like Shakib Al Hasan and even Bangladesh ODI and T20I skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza were all examining the surface to gauge whether the Sri Lankan will be able to fulfil the desire of the home side like Zahid Reza did in Chittagong.
It is only natural that the pitch in Mirpur will garner more interest than usual as in the absorbing drama that was the Chittagong Test the pitch was one of the major actors. The question however remained whether it would be possible for Mirpur to offer something other than the bouncy wicket it usually provides; an even more important question is whether the Tigers will be able to continue their renaissance in the second Test regardless of the pitch.
If someone takes the words from vice-captain Tamim, one can understand the real sentiment and motive of the home side. Tamim made it clear that they will utilise the home advantage but when he added that they lost the Test in Chittagong despite the wicket being in their favour, it hinted at what they were actually looking for in the Mirpur Test.
While everybody was praising the Tigers' brilliant effort in the first Test on their return to the five-day game after a 15-month break, the left-hander let the air out of that sentiment by saying that: "In the end we lost the match."
After spending 16 years in Test cricket, this generation of cricketers seemed unwilling to pat themselves on their backs for merely playing good or competitive cricket; instead they want to win the next Test.
"Everyone is saying that we played well, but we have discussed as a team that we cannot be so happy with so little. We should have won the game. We can take positives from the first Test, like competing for five days. We will try to win the next game and definitely we will go for the win, which is a belief that is held by each and every cricketer who plays for Bangladesh," said a confident Tamim.
"I think the less we talk about the last game, the better. It was a good Test match, but we lost in the end. Five years from now, it will read that we lost the game. We should stick to the processes and planning that we have," he continued.
The experienced campaigner also hinted that a good team cannot just look to the pitch for favours; instead they have to adapt to different conditions like they did in the Chittagong Test. He was also not happy to hear much discussion about the home advantage by saying: "What I find amusing is that there's a lot of talk about the wicket when we are playing here. We cannot expect a spinner-friendly wicket in England. We know that there will be seaming conditions. I think we should get home advantage, but it is something that I don't want to elaborate on."
"We have to utilise the wicket, by playing well. We have to reduce our mistakes, and bowl according to the wicket. I think we are doing it that way, and we know that the wicket is out of our control. We are discussing more on what we can do with bat and ball, not on the wicket or the toss," he said.
Tamim also said that the long break from Test cricket will not be an issue for the second Test after they had played a very competitive match in Chittagong, which will help them be better prepared and more confident for the second game.
Bangladesh found their groove in the Chittagong Test and are now looking forward to carry it in the coming assignments. "We have a number of Tests in the next six months, so we want to use the rhythm from the Chittagong Test for the future," added Tamim.
Yesterday was all about the discussion of the pitch and the first Test batting blunder of Shakib, but some did not forget to point out the hovering clouds brought about by the depression in the Bay of Bengal.