A reluctant captain and a doomed campaign
One of the many features that makes cricket stand out from other major team sports is the significance of the captain.
While in sports like football, hockey and rugby the captain's role is more ceremonial as it's the coach who dictates the tactics, in cricket, the skipper calls the shots when the team is fielding, much like a war general on a battlefield, marshalling his troops for victory.
Now imagine right before heading to war, a general publicly announces his initial reluctance to lead the troops and says that he will step down from his position after the battle, no matter the outcome.
The battle would be lost before it even begins.
The man in command of the Bangladesh brigade in the ODI World Cup, Shakib Al Hasan, did exactly that right before the tournament, and the ramifications of his actions are now for all to see.
The day the Bangladesh team landed in India for the showpiece event, a pre-recorded interview of Shakib was released on a local sports channel.
In that interview, Shakib revealed that he had no intention of leading the team in the World Cup and that he would step down immediately after the tournament, no matter where Bangladesh finish in the competition.
Interestingly enough, Shakib is not the first Bangladesh captain to announce he would step down immediately after the World Cup before the campaign.
In 2003, skipper Khaled Mashud announced in the final press conference before the team left for South Africa for the World Cup that that would be his final assignment as the leader of the Tigers.
The campaign in 2003 is widely regarded as the team's worst ever outing in World Cups, as they went winless in the entire tournament and even lost to associate nation Canada.
Shakib's Bangladesh at least ensured they won't go winless with a win against Afghanistan in their opening fixture.
But since then, the Tigers have been playing more like scaredy-cats, suffering five defeats on the trot where they put up little to no resistance.
The worst of the defeats came on Saturday against the only associate nation in the tournament, the Netherlands -- a defeat that has forced the usually defiant Shakib to accept in the post-match press conference that his pre-tournament actions might have affected the team's performance.
Although Shakib looked devastated by the defeat against the Dutch, his pre-tournament actions indicate that he had premonitions of a disaster in the making.
In that same pre-tournament interview, the all-rounder had said he had nothing left to achieve as the leader of the ODI team and also indirectly revealed this would be his final appearance in the showpiece event when he said he plans to retire after the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy
Greats of the past like Pakistan's Imran Khan and India's Sachin Tendulkar have marked their World Cup swansong with the coveted trophy in hand.
Shakib is not part of a team which has the calibre to go all the way but as the greatest player this country has ever produced, Shakib could have aimed to end his World Cup journey by becoming the captain that led Bangladesh to their first ever World Cup semifinal.
Instead, the 36-year-old had already resigned to the impending disaster while Australia's David Warner and South Africa's Quinton de Kock are looking hellbent on making the final World Cup a special one.
After the defeat to the Dutch, Shakib talked about finishing the tournament on a high but provided no explanation on how his team would go about achieving that.
Shakib's attitude pre-tournament has mirrored the lack of ambition that exists overall in Bangladesh cricket, and had doomed the team's campaign before it even began.