Tigers’ success -- to sustain or not, that is the question
Bangladesh cricket team completed a highly fruitful tour by scooping all three trophies against hosts Zimbabwe. The scenario could not have been any better for a team as they return home with such tremendous success on the backdrop of a series of failures.
Everything had seemed gloomy surrounding Bangladesh cricket prior to the Zimbabwe trip. Most of the senior players had been struggling, and young players could not find their feet in taking responsibility to support the senior players, especially when it was required the most.
Now, from a stupendous 150-run knock from Mahmudullah Riyad, following a top-order collapse in the one-off Test, to youngster Shamim Hossain's brilliant finish in the last and final T20I, there were plenty of things to cheer for from Bangladesh's perspective.
However, has everything settled and turned all rosy after an impressive performance against a comparatively weak opponent?
"See, performance always matters. We have to understand that during the tour, we have got a good hint about our future prospects but only time will tell whether our issues are resolved or not," responded selector Habibul Bashar.
"If we start from our Test performance, our perennial problem of losing too many early wickets was resurfaced but the team made a brilliant comeback, given that we didn't make this kind of comeback on too many occasions before.
"And we cannot deny the positive impact of collecting 30 Super League points from the ODI series," added the former national skipper.
"Now if we come to the T20I series, just hypothetically, consider that had we lost the series then everybody would just have forgotten what we achieved earlier in Test and ODIs. What impressed me the most was the way a young boy [20-year-old Shamim] finished the job to ensure the team returned with all three trophies," added Bashar.
"It's fantastic that our young players provided us with ample glimpses of hope during the tour. There had been a major and recurring problem with the number 6-7 batting position but now we got some direction. [Nurul Hasan] Sohan and Shamim's performances, especially Shamim's mental strength, seem like they have got the ability to excel in international cricket. And I want to give special attention to one area -- our pace bowling department. It seems we now have a good variety of options in pace bowling," he continued.
Bashar's only disappointment was the overall poor fielding performance in the tour.
"I think our fielding is still a big concern.
"I have mentioned quite a few positive outcomes and you cannot underestimate all of those by raising your finger towards Zimbabwe being a weak opponent as they are always a tough team in their own backyard. But still, having said all those positive things, we cannot claim that all of our problems are solved, but rather we have to see how the team perform in the next 10 to 12 matches after such a good series," Bashar cautioned.
"On the other hand we must show patience towards players like Shamim. If Shamim fails in the next series and we start saying that he is only good against a team like Zimbabwe, then we will not achieve anything," he added.
Consistency was the biggest question before the tour. But such a dominating performance against Zimbabwe has somewhat mitigated the problem. However, now the pertinent question is, will the Tigers, especially the youngsters, be able to stay consistent from here on, or will they hit a nadir as it has always been the case for the country's cricket.