Let the noise subside
Ahead of the two white-ball series against England, all the noise in the media related to the captains of the two respective formats, ODI skipper Tamim Iqbal and T20I counterpart Shakib Al Hasan, not being on talking terms.
The information presented to the media was that there was an unhealthy environment in the dressing room. But although the ODI series was lost 2-1, the team blocked out the noise and staged a comeback in the T20Is with a 3-0 whitewash.
The difference in all four wins was a change in body language, especially against an England side that have been enjoying a purple patch, not just from a results perspective but also in terms of their brand of cricket. Their aggressive mentality has seamlessly translated across formats and left an impact that has proven difficult to contain in any condition.
Although the Tigers were expected to perform better in the ODIs, it was in the T20Is that they showed a new energy. That change was facilitated by some new cricketers in the line-up, those who did not appear to carry the fear or baggage of failure and emboldened by how Shakib communicated with them.
Mehedi Hasan Miraz yesterday said that all the cricketers were playing their best cricket.
"We didn't care about the results. We tried to figure out how to implement the process and stay with the process," he said. Overall, the team combination was good and we won because everyone played their best cricket," he added.
The batting, bowling and fielding all left an impression in the T20Is, a change from the ODIs where the batting and especially fielding accentuated the need for major improvement.
It was all the more unexpected since the T20I team was full of faces who are yet to settle into the international arena.
The likes of Towhid Hridoy and Rony Talukdar showed their mettle, having performed in the domestic circuit for a number of years, while Najmul Hossain Shanto and Hasan Mahmud continued to gain a foothold. After the game, it could be surmised that Shakib had kept things simple in the dressing room. There were no expectations from the three departments, only plans.
"We didn't dream of it, but we also didn't put ourselves under pressure before the series. We didn't talk about winning games. We just wanted to play good cricket," he had remarked.
Thus, Hridoy and Rony played their shots, Hasan got a yorker in during an important stage of the second T20I to go with stellar death-bowling in the first game and Shanto struck runs in all three T20Is. The important thing for Shakib was peformances in the recent BPL, where good wickets challenged bowlers and batters carried confidence into national set-up.
"Everyone in this [T20I] team performed in this year's BPL. It wasn't too long before the England tour. The top five-six batters in this series were also the top run-getters in the BPL. It is the same for the highest wicket-takers. The confidence did carry over," Shakib had said on Tuesday.
The importance was placed in players expressing themselves and the management counted on them. However, Chandika Hathurusingha had started his first spell with success in 2014. If Bangladesh are to continue in this vein, the noise from the BCB hierarchy regarding players needs to subside so they do not carry fear of failure into series.
Ahead of every series, there is talk of lack of leg-spin options, batting-order deficiencies and not being able to put up 180-plus scores in T20Is. If providing good pitches in the BPL can lead to a 3-0 sweep of England in a format where the Tigers have often been found wanting, it indeed is time to focus on domestic cricket and fixing such issues instead of talking about individuals.
Let the noise subside, so performance in international cricket does not become the issue.