Bangladesh Must Bounce Back
After the disastrous performance in Sylhet Test, Bangladesh must bounce back at the Shere Bangla National Cricket Stadium to avoid getting white washed by lower ranked Zimbabwe.
Reviewing the batting of Bangladesh over the past 8 innings of four successive Test matches it will require complete change of mind set which is not to see easy achieving.
Starting against Sri Lanka at home Bangladesh lost two Tests miserably against West Indies on tour and now against Zimbabwe in Sylhet. Believe it or not in all these innings Bangladesh failed to score 200.
It creates mind boggling puzzles when the same players against same opposition bat freely smashing the same bowlers all over the park. Bangladesh team management has to work out what goes wrong in the psyche of the batsmen? It is not that Bangladesh has just started playing Test cricket.
Bangladesh enjoy better playing facilities and players are higher paid than few full member Test countries. It will trigger complete disaster if Bangladesh lose again and concede white wash to Zimbabwe which do not play Test cricket too often these days. In fact this is the first Test series they have played in 2018.
We are sure team management and coaching staff had team talks where they tried to review what went wrong? Why plans could not be implemented?
The new head coach must have seen two sides of the coin already. He witnessed how Bangladesh batsmen were bruised, battered and humiliated in the pace friendly wickets in West Indies. He had also seen how almost the same batting unit played superbly in ODI and T20I series against West Indies in West Indies and USA, Asia Cup and against Zimbabwe at home.
Ironically Mushfiqur who is very consistent in all formats with the bat and Mominul who is a Test specialist not only batted poorly but got out playing irresponsible strokes in both innings in Sylhet. Imrul Kayes and Litton could not also reproduce their form in other formats. Mahmudullah who usually plays responsibly also looked panicked with the bat.
We would not like to talk about Nazmul Hossain Shanto who in our opinion was rushed to international cricket. The only player who tried to apply were debutant Ariful Haque and Miraz. But their best was not enough for changing the course of the match. Miserably batting cost Bangladesh losing the match by huge margin though bowlers did their best in restricting Zimbabweans in both innings.
Looking back in retrospect, Bangladesh top order looked very ordinary while batting against Kyle Jarvis and Tendai Chatara. They were not express fast. The wicket had very little horizontal movement, or movement in the air. All they did was bowling consistently in off stump line. Bangladeshi batsmen gifted their wickets.
After Bangladesh got reduced to 19/4 in the first Innings responding to Zimbabwean innings of 282, the mental scar created panic in the camp. The batsmen did not apply and looked shocked and awed. There was no venom at the wicket and Zimbabwean bowlers were not demons. Yet Bangladesh lost the match scoring only 169 all out in the second innings chasing a victory target of 321.
This time rookie leg spinners Mavuta and veteran Sikandar Raza doing the damage. How the team can get out of the brain freeze?
But Bangladesh have to. Another dismal performance, another loss will not create humiliation, it will create huge mental scar. Bangladesh will have to compete against much stronger West Indies in not too distant future.
I do not find any reason why Imrul and Litton cannot continue opening the innings unless off course Tamim is match fit again. I do not find any reason to drop Mominul also. One good innings of little bird would change him. Mushfiqur under any circumstance must bat at four and take responsibility. Why not Tushar Imran given opportunity to show his quality? Fitness must not be a concern for an experienced quality batsman scoring tons of runs in local cricket.
Zimbabwean bowling is not that extraordinary. Mahmudullah, Ariful and Mehedi Miraz should bat at six, seven and eight. I would like Mustafiz back in the team alongside Abu Jayed and play Taijul as the second specialist spinner. Soumya can be under consideration but definitely Mominul deserves another opportunity. He only plays Test. We must not lose a top quality batsman for lack of mentoring and care.
We hope Bangladeshi batsmen won’t repeat the mistakes. They will learn leaving more balls than playing in Test. They must also learn rotating the strikes playing with soft hand in the gap instead of trying to blast deliveries. Any batsmen will be ashamed viewing the footage of the ways they got out in the recent past in Tests. No commitment, no patience, no applications.
Blaming the players won’t be correct also. What the hell the team management do? Why players cannot be mentored. Big boys cannot be told how to bat? But they must be told and guided to change attitudes.
Hope all will change, a different Bangladesh would appear on Sunday in Dhaka. Batsmen would put price on their wickets. Scoring 350 -400 against this bowling attack is not beyond the reach of Bangladeshi batsmen. If they can do that Bangladesh can return the compliment to Zimbabwe.