• Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019
  • Last Update : 11:36 am

Time for self reflection after SL debacle

  • Published at 09:01 pm August 1st, 2019
Mahmudullah
Bangladesh's Mahmudullah walks back to the dressing room following his dismissal against Sri Lanka in the third ODI in Colombo Wednesday AFP

A good fraction of the cricket fraternity believes the break is much needed as it will allow the cricketers to get rid of the fatigue and more importantly, think of a way out of the lean patch

Bangladesh cricket team finished a hectic schedule hitting one of their greatest lows in recent times, and leaving a big list of concerns to be taken care of. 

The Tigers started on a high winning their first multi-nation title in May, reigning over the West Indies and host Ireland.

They then got off to a flying start in the World Cup 2019 in England and Wales, but finished eighth giving birth to concerns. 

With vision of a revival, they had arrived in Sri Lanka for a three-match ODI series, only for their issues to worsen as they conceded a 3-0 whitewash and find the host celebrate an ODI series win at home for the first time in almost four years.

Bangladesh have been dealing with inconsistency in all three departments, it was there in majority of the games in the World Cup, and the pressure to get rid of those had been placed on the shoulders of an interim coach and temporary captain. 

The BCB had ended its association with Steve Rhodes right after the ICC flagship event, and handed over the responsibility to Khaled Mahmud before the tour of the island.

As for the captain, Mashrafe bin Mortaza getting ruled out from injury in the last minute saw the charge fall on Tamim Iqbal, who was having his own difficulties of overcoming a pale patch. 

It is understood that the left-handed batsman was given no option but to take the responsibility of the team. 

The Bangladesh squad also missed the services of ace all-rounder Shakib al Hasan and middle-order batter Liton Das, both on leave for personal reasons.

Among the three departments, it was perhaps the batting that was at the center of most discussions and scrutiny. 

The Bangladesh top-order was off color in most parts of the World Cup and it had remained the same in the first two games against Sri Lanka.

With no Shakib around, the side missed out on some stability at No 3.

Mushfiqur Rahim was somewhat key to Bangladesh’s recovery in the first two games, but both knocks went in vain with the side conceding defeats.

The wicketkeeper-batsman finished as the top-scorer for Bangladesh with 175 runs in the series, backed by a 67 and unbeaten 98 in the first two matches. 

In the third, Mushfiq had arrived to the middle in a dire situation once again but this time, he failed to contribute in Bangladesh’s bid to avoid the series sweep. 

Soumya Sarkar had got back to runs, scoring his first half-century in the format in 10 innings as he made 69, but concerns over two senior men Tamim and Mahmudullah persisted. 

Tamim in the series managed only 21 runs to stretch his difficult times, while Mahmudullah totaled just 18.  

With the ball, Shafiul Islam topped the series with six wickets, while left-arm spinner Taijul Islam was the most economical for the Tigers, playing two matches.

Both the bowlers made a comeback to the national fold through the series. 

Pacer Shafiul played his first ODI since October, 2016, while Taijul played his first since September, 2016. 

But the troubles of taking early and timely breakthroughs and dealing with the death overs remained. 

In the third ODI, Bangladesh had Sri Lanka cornered below 200 runs going into the last 10 overs of the innings. 

But as it happened, the opposition batters had a shift in gear, milking 106 runs in the final part of the innings, leaving the Bangladesh bowlers in tatters.    

Fielding bloopers have been a concern the Tigers had to deal with throughout the series.

Leaking easy runs and dropping catches, at least 15 in the three matches, have only added to the side’s worries. 

Even the best of the fielders in the shape of Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain and Mahmudullah juggling the ball was a regular sight for Bangladesh in the series.

Following the series, Bangladesh will now go into a long break before regrouping for the Afghanistan series at home in September. 

The series, which was initially supposed to be a tri-nation series also involving Zimbabwe took a makeover with the African nation’s ICC membership being seized. 

A good fraction of the cricket fraternity believes the break is much needed as it will allow the cricketers to get rid of the fatigue and more importantly, think of a way out of the lean patch.

Also, the window is big enough for the BCB to rope in a permanent head coach for the side and allow the cricketers to gel before the country host Afghanistan.