Bangladesh news March 3, 2014

Bangladesh's 'disinterested' players under scrutiny

In the aftermath of Bangladesh's defeat to Afghanistan in the Asia Cup, the BCB's top brass has held separate meetings with the captain Mushfiqur Rahim, coach Shane Jurgensen and the national selection committee to identify problem areas within the team. The meetings took place following Mushfiqur's comments after the loss, when he questioned the motivation of some of his team-mates.

ESPNcricinfo has learned that Mushfiqur and Jurgensen identified four players for "looking disinterested during recent matches." Mushfiqur called for changes to the team but that may not be possible because the World Twenty20 squad has been finalised and replacements can be named only for injured players.

BCB president Nazmul Hassan and a couple of board directors attended the meetings but the players' identities were concealed.

"When we discussed the problems within the team, we asked the captain and coach about some players and they talked about how frustrating their body language has been," a BCB official said. "They looked like they were not in the field, the management told us. Both parties agreed on this at the meeting. There will however be no action taken by the board but the team management will decide on what to do with them."

Earlier in the day, each member of the Bangladesh team was called for one-on-one meetings with the management to understand why plans were not being executed properly. Several batsman are out of form, no bowler has inspired confidence and fielding standards have slumped.

After returning to the team for the Sri Lanka series, Anamul Haque has struggled for consistency, often following one impressive performance with poor ones. He made 77 against India in the Asia Cup, but only 1 against Afghanistan.

Shamsur Rahman has made only one fifty in seven innings since his Test hundred against Sri Lanka, and looked out of place against pace and bounce. Mominul Haque made 50 and 60 in his last three innings but Bangladesh needed him to push on. Nasir Hossain has been woefully out of form.

Nasir gave four chances in the last game but the Afghanistan fielders let them slip. He repeatedly tried to drive legspinner Samiullah Shenwari through mid-on, never quite middling it or finding the gap.

Abdur Razzak has experience but his bowling is without edge, and Rubel Hossain hasn't been able to lead the pace attack without a steady new-ball partner. The fielding has been poor too, with Bangladesh dropping at least one catch in the four of their last five games.

Mushfiqur's captaincy has seen better days. On two occasions, he released pressure just when Bangladesh needed wickets. Sri Lanka were 67 for 8 and Afghanistan 90 for 5 but Bangladesh allowed big partnerships on both occasions.

Some of the selection decisions have been difficult to understand. Mahmudullah was picked to replace the injured offspinner Sohag Gazi, despite having scored just six runs in three games. He had one 12-wicket haul in first-class cricket before the Sri Lanka series, but Mahmudullah remains a batting allrounder. Such changes can confuse players about their role and future in the team.

Bangladesh have matches against Sri Lanka and Pakistan left in the Asia Cup and only a short gap before the World Twenty20. They will be a nervous unit, particularly since the captain made it clear that a culling is afoot.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments