Tigers need a show of faith
Following defeat one after another across the formats, the confidence levels of the Bangladesh cricket team approach a nadir ahead of the third and final game of the T20I series against the West Indies in Guyana tonight.
Questions regarding the approach from the cricketers have been persistent regardless of whether it is in Tests or in the shortest format of the game. It seems that the Tigers are onboard a ship without a radar, unaware of their destination much less how to get there.
Bangladesh's batting was the biggest concern in the first two T20Is as the Tigers lost early wickets and were unable to utilise the Powerplay.
Prominent coach Mohammad Salahuddin believes it will be important for the Tigers to come up with a better approach in the opening position. He also believed they needed to utilise the last five overs to put up a fight.
"We all know what we are lacking. We have a big gap in the opening slot and we have very few players who can finish the game with the bat in the latter stages of an innings. These two areas are very important in the T20 format and I think the players need to improve their skills and undergo proper training. But other than that I don't see any solution at the moment," Salahuddin told The Daily Star yesterday.
"I think very few in the team have the ability to use the first Powerplay to dominate opposing bowers. So I think it will be better if they can improve their skills. I think, since we have experienced players in the middle, they can lay the platform for the last five overs."
Bangladesh fielded three seamers in the second T20I, dropping left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed. But Salahuddin felt it would be better if the Tigers used two spinners and two left-arm spinners in the third game.
"I think there is very little chances of us winning against the West Indies through our pace attack. Given our strengths, I think it would be better if we played with an extra left-arm spinner. You can't undo them by bowling 140kmph unless the bowlers have skills and variations. So it's better if we play with an extra spinner since we may be able to trouble them more," he said.
All eyes will be on skipper Mahmudullah Riyad after the previous T20 World Cup campaign ended in disaster last year, prompting lingering questions about his leadership qualities and whether he can come up with the aggressive attitude required from a captain, especially in the shortest format.
"If we follow the pattern of captaincy, we have to understand that what we do at home won't work abroad. At times you need to think outside the box. I think it is because of the mentality we have in our domestic cricket and I think we need come out of it," Salahuddin added.
According to Shakib Al Hasan's mentor, only time can change the Tigers' T20 fortunes and he advised against frequently chopping and changing the team.
"You have to work with the resources you have because there aren't other options. How long will you keep changing the team? If you make so many changes, the players get confused and the team also loses confidence. You can fail initially, but you have to place trust in them," he said.