What went wrong with Bangladeshi batsmen?
Yes, Bangladesh lost to Zimbabwe by a massive 151-run margin in the first Test match, which is very shameful. But what is even more alarming is Bangladesh’s batting. If things continue to go at current pace and no solution is found, Bangladesh’s batting misery will go beyond imagination.
Runs came like a cyclone in Bangladesh’s Test against Sri Lanka in Chattogram at the very beginning of the year. After scoring 513 runs in their first trial, Tigers declared their innings on 307 for five. Mominul Haque got centuries in both the innings. There were big knocks from Mushfiqur Rahim (92), Mahmudullah Riyad (83*) and Liton Das (94), while Tamim Iqbal too reached a half century (52).
But since then, Bangladesh have so far played four Test matches, and in eight innings, only two players — Shakib Al Hasan and Nurul Hasan could surpass fifty. Bangladesh’s team total stopped at 110, 123, 43, 144, 149, 168, 143 and 169 respectively. In the first innings of Chattogram Test against the Lankans, Mominul got 176. Bangladesh, overall in their last eight innings, could not go past that.
You simply can not blame just one batsman for such misery. Rather it is a collective failure. Let’s start the evaluation from the opening slot.
Imrul Kayes was not in the playing XI of West Indies series. He played in the second Test against Sri Lanka, and now in the first Test against Zimbabwe. In the four innings of these two matches, he scored 19, 17, 5 and 43. A total of 84 runs at an average of 21.
Imrul’s opening partner in the Sylhet Test, Liton Das played in all four Tests. He played as a middle-order batsman in the Sri Lanka Test, before getting promoted to an opener in the last three outings. But no matter wherever he batted, his bat just could not produce results. He has scores of 25, 12, 25, 2, 12, 33, 9 and 23. You see, at least in four innings, he got a good start but failed to capitalize on that.
Number three Mominul’s off-form is even more disappointing. After striking two magnificent innings of 176 and 105 against Sri Lanka in the Chattogram Test, his combined score in last eight innings was not even three-fourth of a century. After having knocks like 0, 33, 1, 0, 0 and 15, he made 11 and 9 against Zimbabwe. And hence, he has a ‘grand total’ of 69. The batsman, who was once in the race to have the best batting average against Sir Don Bradman, has an average of 8.62 in his last eight innings!
Mahmudullah Riyad also forgot the art of scoring runs. In his last eight innings, he scored 11 less than Mominul. His numbers are as follow — 17, 6, 0, 15, 0, 4, 0, 16. Getting out on single digits five times, without opening the account twice, having a total of 58 at 7.25 are already reasons to be ashamed of. And the fact that this man skippered Bangladesh in the first and last Test of the aforementioned four is even more disturbing.
Mushfiqur Rahim is widely regarded as the best Test batsman of Bangladesh. But his performance is also not any big exception. He struggled to score as his last eight innings are 1, 25, 0, 8, 24, 31, 31 and 13. Just like Liton, Mushfiqur too has been unable to hold on to promising starts. 133 runs at an average of 16.62 does not reflect the marvel that Mushfiqur in general is.
The other specialist batsman to have played in the Sylhet Test is Nazmul Hossain. After making a surprising Test debut against New Zealand last year thanks to the injuries of other teammates, Nazmul made a return to the white uniform after quite some time. But he could not make the occasion a memorable one, as 5 and 13 in two innings was all he could contribute to the team’s cause. The team management seemed to have a lot of faith in him, but he, for the time being, was a failure to uphold that faith.
Tamim and Shakib are not playing in the Zimbabwe series. But not that they did any different either. Shakib indeed hit a half century against West Indies, but still his total in four innings was two short of a ton. He scored 98 runs at 24.50. On the other hand, Tamim played one more Test than Shakib, but scored 28 less. With numbers of 4, 2, 4, 13, 47 and 0, Tamim scored 70 runs in six innings at 11.66. And apart from them, Sabbir Rahman too played as a specialist batsman against Sri Lanka. He scored 1 in one innings, and 0 in the other.
So now, this is a serious question that needs to be addressed without any further delay: what went wrong with the Bangladeshi batsman?