Neither experimentation nor solidity
The present uncertainty in Bangladesh's T20I setup and the overall drama surrounding it took a new turn as team director Khaled Mahmud felt that the team had failed in the execution of their plans.
The team rested three of the senior stars in an attempt to see how a young team would find their feet. The team director had previously stated that their attempts at an overhaul of the T20I outfit was not based on a need to experiment, but rather on finding players who would be given the freedom to play their own game.
However, the playing eleven selections following the return of Mahmudullah Riyad in the third T20I pointed to BCB's squad overhaul being neither here nor there.
The question that arose in the face of the overhaul was whether players were playing for themselves or the team. The lack of aggression baffled the team director during the third T20I at Harare, where the Tigers fell short by 10 runs in chase of a middling T20I score of 156.
Mahmud called the loss a 'disgrace' for the team. "It's important for the boys to play fearless cricket and without that motto, it's tough to play in this format," he said.
"We needed 10 to 12 an over but didn't see anyone trying to hit sixes. Everyone is taking singles and doubles. I don't know if it's a matter of scoring some runs to keep their position in the side. It's difficult if you don't have the confidence to pull a short delivery for six," he added.
He clarified again that they wanted to see how players would perform in absence of the senior stars like Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah Riyad and Mushfiqur Rahim.
"We wanted to see how the new players perform. Shakib did not play, Tamim [Iqbal] will not be playing the format and Mushfiqur has been rested so that we can see what others can do. You can't play with these four players forever. In the World Cup, the players will come across stronger bowling attacks so they [players in the current squad] have to find a way out of this situation themselves," he said.
If the squad in the Zimbabwe T20Is was an actual attempt at finding players, Mahmudullah's inclusion did not make sense. More worrying is the fact that if BCB seems to know what senior stars are capable of, why did they bring in someone whose own lack of form had seen him rested and shorn of captaincy just before the series?
If there had been a prevailing culture of playing for one's own place, what has the BCB's selection policy done to prevent that from happening?
It appears that arguments and prevailing logic are anybody's game in the BCB hierarchy now and logic is tailored to fit decisions, not the other way around.
"Players that were tried know they will be given optimum chances. They should be playing freely but I haven't seen them play with such intent," Mahmud said.
Ahead of the Asia Cup, Pakistan yesterday announced their team knowing the direction they want to take ahead of the World Cup. Meanwhile, the BCB is left pondering what is going wrong.
In this scenario, the younger stars are not certain of their positions either while it unsettles senior stars who are not in the best of form ahead of a major tournament. The situation only breeds more uncertainty with no room left to be surprised.