Tigers in need of different approach
Poor batting, puzzling tactics and an unreasonably defensive approach on the field; each of these limitations glared throughout the five days of Bangladesh's thumping Test defeat in the series opener.
And if the Tigers have any realistic plans of drawing the series—the second Test begins at St Lucia today-- they need major changes in all these departments.
Except for Mushfiqur Rahim, every other batsman in the side seemed like they were part of a limited-over contest, thoughtlessly going at anything pitched outside the off-stump.
The manner in which Shamsur Rahman got dismissed in the second innings – got caught at slips as he stood at his crease and swung his bat at a half-volley—perhaps best described the sordid affairs of the Bangladesh batsmen.
Tactical errors also played its part. Will the team management go in with just three specialist bowlers in the second Test and elect to field again? Or will they continue to depend upon the likes of part-timers Shuvagata Hom and Mahmudullah Riyad?
With Imrul Kayes out due to a skin infection, the Tigers will have to make a change. The left-hander is likely to be replaced by Anamul Haque. A change in the bowling is also on the cards after the toothless display in the first Test.
Robiul Islam, Shafiul Islam and Elias Sunny are the bowlers who were benched in the last Test. Of them Robiul has a high chance of making it to the eleven. The bowler has been Bangladesh's third highest wicket taker in the last two years and it was a surprise when Rubel Hossain was picked ahead of him in the last Test.
The management might even think of replacing Shuvagata, who although did bowl quite a handful number of overs, failed as a batsman. For the hosts, Chris Gayle won't be available who has been excused by the board for the player's 'personal reasons'.
Like St Vincent, St Lucia does not seem to have an apparent advantage for either the spinners or the pacers in Tests. Since 2003, 33 wickets were at this venue were taken by spinners and 38 went to pacers. In ODIs though, pacers have taken twice as many wickets as the spinners.
However, statistics won't make a difference as long as Bangladesh can't regain its form. It was an aspect that was witnessed in the last Test when the Tigers faltered twice on a flat track that barely had anything in it for the bowlers.
That is perhaps the reason why the team management stressed and discussed the mistakes of the first Test until Thursday evening, instead of chalking out their plans for the second Test.
There were a host of factors during the first Test which indicated Bangladesh's confused mindset—their bowling depended on part-timers; an impatient Mushfiqur made five changes in the first 16 overs; they elected to bowl first with eight batsmen in the side; while Mahmudullah did get a half-century in the last innings, promoting him to number five after he scored just 60-odd runs in the six innings prior to this series seems like an audacious approach.
One wonders if these surprising tactics will be put into use again when the teams meet at St Lucia today.