Being one of the most optimistic ardent followers of Bangladesh cricket, this writer got shocked and awed from the comprehensive series white wash that team Tigers received by South Africa in the two matches series just concluded.
Given the relative strength of the two teams, climate, conditions and environment of venues no one dreamt of Tigers turning the table on clear favorites. But the manners in which team Tigers got disintegrated and dismantled in both the Tests leaves lot for soul searching.
Bangladesh definitely a far better team than their abysmal performance. The wickets did not have the venom and the bite that should have made Bangladesh batting crumbling like cookies against not the front line proteas bowling in the second innings of the first Test and both the innings of the second Test.
Yet they did and they did in very unprofessional manner which disgraced Bangladesh cricket. True with ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan skipping the Test series it was more difficult challenge. Moreover challenge got tougher after Tamim missing the second Test for reported injury.
But rest of the team yet had enough quality and class to perform far better. The fact they failed raised many doubts and confusion. There are allegations about team management being too nosey and dictating. Captain Mushfiqur allegedly had little or no freedom.
He was dictated about decision of opting to field after winning the toss, field setting and other areas that belongs exclusively to captain. He too appeared confused and bewildered… Lot of questions are being asked about his leadership and few suggestions are there for stripping him of the leadership. But why?
There can be no doubt about extremely poor performance of the team. Entire team failed in all departments bowling, batting and fielding. All lacked commitment. Even Mushfiqur was not in his true element with the bat.
But was the team prepared well for playing against hostile proteas pace attack in their backyard?
Were our bowlers tuned to bowl consistently on the right channel? The manner Bangladeshi batsmen played like novice against short lifting deliveries aimed at rib cage did not say anything positive about pre series mentoring and coaching.
Smart Shakib knew it all and dodged the series. Few others would have done it if circumstances favored. Who masterminded the decision of letting South Africans batting first and getting buried under run mountains? Mushfiqur along cannot be held responsible.
Bangladesh yet has to play 3 ODIs and 2 T20Is where the intensity and nature of the contest will be very different.
Mushfiqur will be a key player in both. He is our most successful captain. You cannot expect some one winning a swimming contest clipping his hands and legs and dropping him in the pool.
Please let the team play without stress and tension there. But there must be an independent probe about extremely poor performance in the Test series.