Tigers can make 2023 a positive one
2023 is expected to be the year of hope for Bangladesh, especially with the ODI World Cup in the calendar.
Bangladesh have raised the bar with their performances in the 50-over format over the past few years so expectations are heightened ahead of the showpiece event in India, where familiar conditions are expected to aid the Tigers' cause.
That burgeoning belief in the ODI unit, coupled with the fact that it is expected to be the last ODI World Cup for stalwarts like Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad, means the Tigers will be dreaming of something truly exceptional.
According to prominent coach Nazmul Abedeen Fahim, the Tigers can play better cricket if they are able to keep applying themselves accordingly.
"I think it would be good for Bangladesh, not just because of the fact that it is going to be their (the four senior cricketers') last World Cup, but because this team now looks different to what we saw three months ago. I think a great positive will be Mehedi Hasan Miraz and the way he played in the India series, if he is able to continue that. Having all-rounders like Shakib and Miraz can help us have a balanced side.
"Our bowling department is reliable and although we did have some issues with our top order, I think Tamim's return to the team will add strength to the batting department. There are a lot of positives. It's important to play with a positive mindset, which was not the case previously because of the slightly better top-order batter," Fahim told The Daily Star yesterday.
On the contrary, Bangladesh's performances in the longest format have remained a huge concern. Bangladesh began 2022 with a bang, winning their first-ever Test in New Zealand.
And many believed the victory would lead the Tigers in the right direction, especially in terms of their approach in the longest format of the game.
Unfortunately, Bangladesh were unable to capitalise on that and lost their way, losing their next eight Tests while managing to draw one of 10 Tests in 2022.
According to the International Cricket Council's Future Tours Programme (FTP), Bangladesh will play five Tests in 2023. Interestingly, all of them will be at home.
"Unfortunately we are still searching for the players who can survive at this level after all these years. We have struggled over the past one-and-a-half-years and even experimented with new players, especially after the Zimbabwe tour when we tried to go in a new direction," he said.
He added that it would be important to note how the new coach handled the situation after Russell Domingo resigned his post and how the Tigers move forward under a new head coach.
"Players like Miraz had optimum performances and the year ended relatively well. But it will be interesting to see how this team moves forward under a new coach. I think it will be a challenge but the positive intent during the last Test series against India show the positive mental change in the team that wants to win in any situation and this positive intent can help this team to be brave," said Fahim.