Over the last few years, the Tigers have been putting up wins against all opposition and reaching the latter stages in multi nation tournaments. However, a quick glance at the rankings and the win-loss ratio will show that we’re still not a top 5 ODI, Test or T20 team. Maybe we do have the potential to be a top 5 team, especially in ODI’s, but an India, South Africa or England, on their best day will be too good for the Tigers to overcome in any format.
Here are the glaring issues that are hurting our progress.
We’re constantly relying on promising talent to make the switch from the U-19 team to the national team without proper first-class experience. Even though the team has evolved, the quality of first-class cricket remains the same. Players regularly taking wickets and scoring big runs are often ignored and do not break into the national setup. The umpiring is also heavily influenced by club politics. Players like Nasir Hossain and Anamul Haque have made promising starts to their careers but once they hit a rough patch and lost regular first team opportunities, they’ve not been able to utilize the first class structure to work on their weaknesses and develop their game.
We have a battery of pacers who can do the job in T20’s and ODI’s but the numbers are much worse for Tests. Rubel Hossain is a prime example. Mustafizur Rahman is good enough for all three formats but the team is still lacking a pace spearhead; somewhat like how Kagiso Rabada is for South Africa. Our pace attack was miserably exposed in the Tests in South Africa and we’re in dire need of a partner for Mustafizur Rahman in the longer format to get early wickets and to finish off the tail-enders quickly.
The top wicket-takers in ODI’s since the 2015 World Cup have been Rashid Khan, Adil Rashid and Imran Tahir. They’re super important to get wickets in the middle overs where batsmen are looking to rotate the strike and keep a healthy run rate to prepare for the death overs onslaught. We’ve seen teams chase big runs against us because we don’t have bowlers who can get regular wickets during the middle overs. Finding a proper leg spinner who can do the job is extremely important given how much we rely on our spinners in home conditions and how our bowling has suffered when Shakib hasn’t been at his best with the ball.
Our batting is quite well-equipped for Tests but where we fall flat is often at the death overs when you need to hit big shots. We have batsmen that can play the deft cuts and reverse sweeps, but someone like Hardik Pandya is still missing. We need someone that can muscle it for the big shots. Our lack of big-hitters have often led to good starts being wasted in ODI’s and has been a constant weakness in T20s.
We’re not a top team yet, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that the way some of our fans act. It’s as if we’re the dominant force in world cricket. The board has over Tk 500 crore in the bank and they’re not doing enough to build our cricket infrastructure. You only see the players in the national team getting all the limelight. Some of the upcoming players like Taskin, Soumya and Sabbir have had bright starts to their careers but now they’re starting to stall with the money and the fame. There is a sense of achievement and accomplishment, and a lack of will to take their game to the next level.
We need to develop the hunger to do better and be better or else this is the best that we’ll be getting.
Shahnoor Rabbani is a radio show host and cricket commentator at Radio Shadhin 92.4FM