World Cup analysis: Where did it go wrong for Bangladesh?
Bangladesh had a great start to their world cup campaign. They beat South Africa at Oval and ran New Zealand close. They also chased 322 against West Indies and beat Afghanistan comfortably. If you purely go by the numbers, Shakib Al Hasan probably had the best all-round performance in the history of the World Cups.
Shakib scored more than 600 runs and took 11 wickets. Mustafizur Rahman was the second-highest wicket-taker of the tournament. Saifuddin, Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das also had a more or less satisfying tournament. But still, Bangladesh finished at 8th with their best World Cup squad ever captained by Mashrafe Bin Mortaza. Where did it go wrong for Bangladesh? Let us have a look.
The saga started with the squad selection for the World Cup. Speed star Taskin Ahmed was in contention for the World Cup after a brilliant BPL but failed to make the preliminary team because of fitness issues. The later team managed specifically asked for Taskin considering the conditions in England and Wales. Despite having an opportunity to change the squad before the final submission day, selectors declined team management’s request. Whole tournament Bangladesh struggled for a strike bowler early on and was the worst bowling attack during the 1st power play in the competition.
Bangladesh also had a lot of fitness issues. Captain Mashrafe Mortaza played the whole tournament with a grade 2 hamstring tear and picked up only one wicket in 8 matches. The team suffered a lot because of his dismal performance and failure to complete his bowling quota throughout the tournament.
Designated finisher of the team Mahmudullah Riyad had a shoulder injury which affected his batting performance, and the team missed his bowling contribution as well. Saifuddin had to face a lot of controversies in the middle of the tournament as he refused to take pain killer injections twice within three weeks.
Mushfiqur Rahim and Mustafizur Rahman also played with niggles. All in all, team fitness was far from what is required at this level. It reflected in their performance, especially during bowling and fielding.
Mashrafe Mortaza, undisputedly the best shorter format captain for Bangladesh, had a horrible tournament not only with the ball but also as a captain. His performance affected his captaincy as his usual flair and charisma were missing. Bangladesh was on the back foot right from the team selection to field set up. They played only one strike bowler, and a batting heavy eleven made sure Bangladesh was always going to struggle in the field during the bowling innings. Mashrafe set a defensive field from ball one, and a toothless bowling attack meant opponent top order made a run feast more often than not.
Lack of dedication and accountability was also apparent in the team. Bangladesh fielded horrendously throughout the World Cup. They were lazy and sloppy in the field to give away easy runs. Bangladeshi fielders also dropped crucial catches every other match. David Warner was dropped in his twenties by Sabbir Rahman and went onto make 166. Rohit Sharma was dropped early in his innings and made Bangladesh pay by scoring a century. Tamim Iqbal, who dropped Sharma, was later quoted saying he could
have chosen to field in a safer area next match and no one could say anything to him, indicating that he is above accountability.
The coach Steve Rhodes has been sacked after the World Cup, but that is about it. No apologies from any player, captain Mashrafe cared to take up the responsibility for the bad results at the team’s arrival from England but no official press release from BCB. Everything was swept swiftly under the rug as if we did not even participate in World Cup 2019. This culture of stardom and lack of accountability is a bad omen for our cricket and may have long term effects on the team’s performance. We will have to wait for that but if I were to describe Bangladesh’s World Cup performance in a single word my choice of word would be ‘Disappointing’.
Saadat Ullah Kawser