Mominul hints at long-term plan
Compared to other cricketing nations, Bangladesh have probably given the least emphasis to improving in the Test format after joining cricket's elite format more than 20 years ago. There has never been long-term planning or specific targets to work towards, which is why Bangladesh continue to struggle to become a better Test unit.
Following a disappointing performance in the first cycle of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC), which saw the Tigers end at bottom of the table after losing six games and managing to draw one, skipper Mominul Haque will begin the second cycle with the aim to improve their fortunes.
Bangladesh will be up against a spirited Pakistan side when they start the second cycle with the first game of the two-match Test series starting today at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram.
There have been many past instances when the focus has been on short-term glories, secured with tailor-made home surfaces that can undo opponents. In some cases, the Tigers even managed to get favourable results but in the long run it had a negative impact on their overall approach towards the Test format.
Mominul is aware that his team's approach in the longest format has always been result-oriented, but he added that they were now heading in a new direction and that process would begin with the Pakistan Tests.
"You all want results, isn't it? Obviously, we have long-term thinking on our minds, especially when we play Test cricket. It's important not to think about the result from the beginning. Instead, we should move slowly and gradually and head in that direction. You all will get to realise once we play one or two series and you can see where we are heading in Test cricket," Mominul said yesterday.
Since Mahmudullah Riyad has officially announced his retirement from Tests and Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal have been sidelined by injury, it is high time for Mominul and the team management to accept the reality that they cannot rely on seniors and to start moving forward with a new set of players.
Interestingly, this will be only the third instance when the Tiger will be without Shakib and Tamim in a home Test and it is a challenge Mominul is ready to accept.
"Pakistan are arguably one of the best and strongest Test teams in world cricket so it will be challenging for us. We don't have our senior players and that is disappointing for us. But having said that we can't sit back, instead those who are new and young need to take responsibility. It's a great opportunity for them to get exposure and for us to assess their game," he said.
The new cycle of the WTC will see Bangladesh play Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka at home while also travelling to South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand for away series.
When asked where he wants to see Bangladesh in the rankings when the second cycle ends, Mominul replied: "I will be happy if we can move two or three steps ahead."