‘Rebuilding team morale is key’
Bangladesh team will look to regain lost confidence in the upcoming series against Pakistan following a disastrous T20 World Cup campaign in UAE recently. The Tigers had notched series wins against Australia and New Zealand at home ahead of the World Cup but their preparations on slow, docile pitches left them with obvious deficiencies while their qualities proved not to be quite adequate for the challenges of a World Cup.
Nazmul Abedeen Fahim, mentor to many national team players, spoke to The Daily Star on the challenges facing the team for the Pakistan series and how the team morale can be rebuilt now.
"Given the team morale, I don't think they are in a position to do well in international cricket even though I don't know who will feature in the side. I have said before that the preparation we took at home, affected us negatively," Fahim said.
Questions would be asked as to why the players could not make up for bad preparation and adjust. The reality though cannot be escaped regarding the T20 abilities of the side.
"We're not that good a T20 team. People may say that Australia have done well after playing here, and even though Australia didn't bring everyone, had they played here for over a year they would forget their own game," Fahim opined.
The disaster got out of hand and the team did not show the ability to fight back after the Sri Lanka game. Fahim has great experience of handling national and upcoming stars. He had his say on the team's mental state at the World Cup.
"I would say the environment around the team was one of disrespect and mistrust with the players on one side and the management on the other. The players had to overcome the challenge but they did not find mental strength. The players were on separate islands of their own in regards to mental balance. If the environment was positive, they could have made a comeback.
"The batsmen had a lack of confidence after playing on such surfaces at home while the message we sent to the bowlers were that they were terrific. We didn't tell the bowlers that those surfaces were not the real world. Because the home series were connected to our World Cup preparations, it created problems."
Where do the team go from here?
"Right now, rebuilding team morale is key.We need someone to correct the individual trust and relationships. The skill at the moment is secondary," Fahim said. The conditions might once again be in focus but Fahim believes the focus should be on performing in adverse conditions. "Pakistan will have the upper hand even here. We're not in a position to take advantage but more importantly, dependence on conditions should be removed altogether from our cricket. We have to play to compete. We have seen good wickets in local tournaments (BCB president's Cup and Bangabandhu Premier League) during even the pandemic. We can't say good wickets aren't possible."
The series will be an opportunity to find good performers and rebuild the side. Setting things right is the first challenge but with talks of big changes, Fahim said things cannot be changed overnight.
"Change has to come slowly. It will be risky to change drastically. You have to understand that we sent these players to the World Cup because they were the best of the bunch. If you change half the team overnight, it means the vision was wrong heading to the World Cup. I don't think the vision was all wrong. Change has to be gradual because the replacement players aren't ready yet. You can lose a series but the thing is you have to face up to losses and rebuild for the longer term," Fahim concluded.