Will the BCB take responsibility?
Criticism has been so overflowing after a forgettable performance by Bangladesh in the ongoing T20 World Cup that the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is also feeling the heat along with players and officials.
While cricket fans turned to social media to crucify the players for their off-key performances, former cricketers refused to blame only the players and termed the debacle a collective failure that also includes the team management and the BCB.
To make the matter worse, former BCB president Saber Hossain Chowdhury termed incumbent board president Nazmul Hasan 'incompetent' and blamed him for Bangladesh's awful performance at the T20 World Cup.
The Tigers bowed out of the tournament after losing all of five of their Super 12 games after stumbling earlier to a chastening defeat against Scotland in the first round.
Although the Tigers' track record in the shortest version of the ICC's flagship event has always been disappointing, barring that stunning win against the West Indies in the inaugural edition in South Africa in 2007, this time around the team was a complete mess. Ever since their defeat to Scotland in the first round in Oman, the team management failed to keep the necessary discipline against a barrage of criticism, which board president Nazmul Hasan also injudiciously joined publicly.
Some senior players and captain Mahmudullah failed to keep their composure and unnecessarily opted to take the attack to their critics. Mushfiqur Rahim's already infamous mirror theory only boomeranged on him and perhaps also distracted the players from focusing on their game.
Although Bangladesh won their next two games against Oman and Papua New Guinea in the first round to qualify for the Super 12, they were hardly able to focus on their game. They lost matches against Sri Lanka and West Indies that they should have won.
They surrendered meekly against England, South Africa and Australia, appearing demoralised that they forgot to play their natural game.
This performance, on the back of the false confidence gained from series wins against under-strength Australia and New Zealand teams on low and slow wickets at Mirpur, reminded of a similar debacle in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.
In that 50-over World Cup, Bangladesh lost five of their Pool B games, starting with a crushing 60-run defeat against Canada. They avoided a sixth defeat in six total games against the West Indies due to inclement weather rendering it a no result. After that disastrous performance, the BCB decided to form an independent committee to unearth the reasons behind the debacle. It was truly a soul-searching effort and that in-depth report helped the board greatly afterwards.
We do not know what the current BCB set-up, which has recently been elected for a third term, is thinking about the latest debacle.
Many critics want the removal of the current coaching staff and the captain. Some of them are calling for wholesale changes to the board, saying that the current leadership has failed to improve the domestic structure, focused too little on the pipeline for future cricketers and has not prepared the sort of sporting wickets that can produce quality bowlers. Some of that criticism is logical and a few might be emotionally driven.
Four years ago, all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan appeared at the press centre after Bangladesh's semifinal defeat against India in the 2017 Champions Trophy in England. He was sitting alone, despondent, when yours truly asked him to comment on what went wrong and what things were needed for Bangladesh to be more competitive in the future.
He responded in a way we were not prepared for.
"We are all emotionally driven at the moment. I think it is not the right time to speak logically. Let the dust settle first," Shakib said, adding that he was ready to give his input if the board sought his opinion.
Shakib was pragmatic then but the board was not. There was no such discussion or engagement involving all the stakeholders to address key issues hindering growth.
Now the burning question is whether the board will act responsibly after the latest debacle.
Will the BCB do some soul-searching? Will it wait for the wave of criticism to die down and flick the age-old problem under the carpet once more? Or will it try to find a scapegoat as inspirational former captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza apprehended?