After some good performances and beating England and Australia at home, Bangladesh have been given a reality check in South Africa. Given the recent performance of the Tigers and all the things happening off the field, its evident that things has to be changed and it should be a wake up call for the BCB. Right now we are not far away from the World Cup and that complicates things a fair bit.
We are in a situation where we are more than halfway till the World Cup. The dilemma is whether it is too late to change with World Cup in sight? Or should things still be changed in order to avoid further damage to what looks like the strongest unit in our history?
Lets start with coaching. As a coach, there are things that should be liked but there are things too which are completely unaccceptable. Hathurusinghe was good in working with the set of players he was given and work tirelessly to develop those players. Then with more power, he went out of his role and started acquiring players that he thought would succeed. He started playing tic tac toe with the seniors and gave unlimited life lines to the players he fancies.
One of the leading sports reporter brought up a point I have been saying all along. How can you be the leading voice in the selection process when you dont know anything about the minor level? This needs to be changed immediately. Either ask our coach to watch a fair portion of the NCL, BCL, DPL games and continue to be the decision maker or step aside from the chief selection role and get BCB to hire someone to be the domestic talent scout and make them a key voice in the selection role.
There are players that deserves an opportunity in the national setup based on their form alone. None and I mean none of the coach’s gambles have paid of. Soumya-Shabbir-Jubair-Hom-Tanbir, basically a list of “never performed in the domestics but may perform in international” players are being thrown in and given unlimited chances to make the coaching look like a Houdini. Our cores have brought in the results we cherish and it’s high time the experiments stop.
We need to give the best possible players in combination of experience and talent to aid our cores for some consistent results and team stability.
Regarding captaincy, I hope that any doubt on Mashrafe’s captaincy is vanished for now and the management actively convinces and motivates Mashrafe to continue until the World Cup even if it means a reduced world load. The last thing we need right now, is to lose the only credible leader we have.
We can already see the effect of an incapable leader like Mushfiqur Rahim. I know some of you guys are going to be alarmed at me raising Mashrafe’s issue but I strongly believe, our coach is actively trying to replace Mashrafe with someone because Mashrafe operates independently which our coach probably doesn’t appreciate and he doubts Mashrafe will make it till 2019. I believe Mashrafe is on his fittest phase of his life and I believe if he is supported, he will easily make the 19′ World Cup as a player alone. He is still our most consistent seamer and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.
Regarding Mushfiqur Rahim, his poor toss decisions and no plan B have costed the team a lot in this tour. It’s not even about the results. Winning was never on the cards and nor was drawing in South African conditions. But to get destroyed against a severely depleted South African bowling attack on two friendly tracks is out right pathetic. South Africa did not have AB de Villiers, Duminy, Steyn, Morkel, Philander, Morris. The batting collapses aren’t Mushfiq’s fault but every time our batsmen came in, they were chasing a mammoth total and that’s Mushy’s fault. Our bowlers looked clueless and Mushy was no help.
A captain is supposed to direct the bowlers in tough situations! Mushy was left crying about not having the gloves in his hand the entire time. He has never bothered to take risks and none of these mentioned deficiency should exist within a leader. Like the BCB chief Papon said, the remarks he made about the staff, about his players aren’t just insulting to those individuals but it was a national embarrassment and we can’t have that. Mushfiqur has been a captain this long not due to his success but due to lack of alternative. But it’s clear that he has destroyed any chemistry with his players (specially his bowlers) and that’s the last straw.
In an interview yesterday, Imrul Kayes said, “Whenever Mashrafe bhai is with us, everything changes. He motivates us and it’s a different environment in the dressing room.” That tells you that he is indirectly implying that things aren’t working the same way when Mushfiq is the leader. BCB have to take a note of that. There are two options in Shakib and Tamim and either one of them would be better than Mushfiqur. Giving captaincy would effectively force Shakib to take any further breaks and Tamim is also a lot more mature player who will at least be more professional.
Lastly, time to have a second look at our seamers. BCB can go ahead and fire Courtney Walsh, but the mistakes our bowlers are making isn’t a coaching error. These bowlers can bowl bouncers, these bowlers can hit the deck hard, these bowlers can bowl the reverse swing, these bowlers bowl more accurate in ODIs. When you know they are capable of performing, you can’t blame the coach anymore. It’s all in their head. I would suggest bringing Mashrafe Bin Mortaza as a mentor for the Test games to communicate with the bowlers in the dressing room and from the side boards.
Our bowlers performed much better under Mashrafe and it’s evident in ODIs. Mashrafe can communicate better with the bowlers better and can actually help Walsh in getting the message through. Mashrafe with his situation cannot play tests. But he can be a mentor and communicator. Guys like Taskin, Mustafiz, Rubel, Roy highly respects Mashrafe and has a great relationship. They understand him just as much as he understands them. That level of understanding can never be reached by a foreign coach.
Guys like Courtney Walsh can work on their skills but when it comes to execution, Mash will be a better “executioner”. Walsh has improved the players fitness and I think that will yield long terms dividends. Hopefully BCB takes a more analytical approach to fix these issue and ensure our success curve continues to grow upwards.