Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Mirpur March 6, 2014

Bangladesh devoid of form, balance and confidence

Bangladesh's struggle to strike a balance between ball and bat has hurt the team badly, contributing to them losing seven ODIs in a row

Bangladesh's loss to Sri Lanka in their last Asia Cup game was their seventh consecutive ODI defeat. Given their impressive form in the home series against New Zealand, this slump is a drastic downturn in form. Worryingly for Bangladesh there has been a massive drop in confidence among the players.

The last time they suffered this long a losing streak was between March and August 2011, beginning from their last World Cup game. After being bowled out for 78 against South Africa, Bangladesh were crushed 0-3 by Australia and then Zimbabwe took a 3-0 lead in a five-match series. This time they lost 3-0 to Sri Lanka and were blanked in all four Asia Cup matches.

Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim did not consider this the worst phase of his career. Instead, he lauded his team for bouncing back from the defeat against Afghanistan, even though they lost the following games narrowly to Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

"As per the results, we are not doing well and not playing up to our strength," Mushfiqur said. "We have played well in the [last] two matches. Hats off to boys for the way we have come back after the debacle against Afghanistan. There were ifs and buts. It is not an excuse but we have put on an improved show. As a team we have more capability. In the series against Sri Lanka, we could have won the first match. We have been unlucky in some aspects."

Between the end of the last slump to the start of this one, Bangladesh had developed faster in one-day cricket than in Tests and Twenty20s. Mushfiqur was made captain two games into this period, and won 10 out of 24 matches. His highlights included a place in the 2012 Asia Cup final, bilateral series wins over West Indies and New Zealand, and a 1-1 draw in Sri Lanka.

Bangladesh have also suffered crippling injuries in the last 17 days. Already without Tamim Iqbal, they used 17 players in seven ODIs, and had Shakib Al Hasan for just four games due to a suspension. Nasir Hossain and Shamsur Rahman losing form did not help, neither did the bowlers and fielders struggling.

Nasir and Tamim were Bangladesh's top batsmen during their successful period. Over that time, the average of bowlers who had taken more than 20 wickets was between 24 and 30. During this slump, only Arafat Sunny averages less than 35 for his six wickets.

During the previous poor run too, Tamim batted at an average of 22.14, which affected the team's balance at the top of the order. Shamsur's batting form has also dipped and despite Anamul Haque batting well, it has still not worked for Bangladesh.

Their biggest difficulty has been coordinating the three disciplines. When Bangladesh bowled well, their batsmen failed. Similarly, when the batsmen scored Bangladesh's highest ODI total, against Pakistan in the Asia Cup, the bowlers were poor.

After Bangladesh had reduced Sri Lanka to 8 for 3 in this game, there was hope the streak would be broken with an efficient bowling performance. But Sri Lanka put together partnerships and then Al-Amin dropped a simple catch after five wickets were down. It took away the momentum once again, and Sri Lanka walked away with a win. This has been Bangladesh's story over the last 17 days. They have put themselves in some winning positions but given it away.

Mushfiqur said after the Sri Lanka game that one win would fix everything. If it comes against Afghanistan in the opening game of the World T20, it will keep Bangladesh in the tournament till the end of March. For the short-term that would be appeasing, but it will be nothing compared to long-term progress.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 8, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    @Abedin11, you have to also give credit to the opponent players to pull of these games as well. It is not like test that BAN could not enforce a win and settled for a draw. They opponent worked for the runs. All I am saying is BAN need to know where our strength and weakness is and stop bragging about we can beat any team. For example, Sri Lanka got ODI status in 1982. In next 15 years, they have 62 ODI wins of which against AUS (11), INDIA(13), PAK(15), SA(4), WI(7) and won the World cup in the 14th year. The example and role model is there in front of us. Look how they evolved and how their players have always been nice, no bragging before tournaments or away series.

  • Nasim on March 8, 2014, 5:36 GMT

    One/two wins won't fix everything as they're saying. Actually it has been the opposite all along. Remember the Shakib-Siddons era and how that ended? One/two loses shouldn't have torn everything apart then because Bangladesh was on the right path. Remember those wise former players on the TV talk-shows? Remember Ashraful tragedy? Some good-willing fans are suggesting Jargensen being removed, Mushy being replaced as a captain, but I'm asking why they are there at the first place? BCB just wanted a sitting on the fence kind of coach, which Stuart Law or Richard Pybass couldn't possibly be so they've got one in Jargensen. Mushy was the forced captain as BCB desperately removed Shakib, the captain with a vision. Once again the team is at the verge of destruction and those wise former players, now enjoying more power, along with the political board are sitting happily and doing whatever they're doing...

  • Dummy4 on March 8, 2014, 2:59 GMT

    Abedin is correct when he says that BD was on the verge of winning many a times. So the overall statistics is not a true reflection of the team's actual ability. But then again this also sounds like making excuses for a team that just chokes in the final phase. BD is now the biggest choker of all. True strength means how strongly you finish the game. That's the true test of character. Herein lies BD's actual weakness. Part of it also a lack of will and determination to win. The body language is pathetic. When BD had Afghanistan cornered, Mushy just didn't go for the jugular. He was like Dhoni, timid and defensive. When your opponent is wilting, you pass him enough rope to hang himself with. Mushy decided to bail them out, instead. The players were smiling away and moving about as if they had already won. Boy! did they get the surprise of their lives from the lion-hearted Afghans. The Afghans showed how the game should be played. No quarters given; none asked for!

  • Mehdi on March 8, 2014, 0:23 GMT

    Mushfiq should use more mominul as a bowling alrounder. Mominul can be next Jadeja. He has more control than Razzak. Players like Razzak and Mahmudullah had given lots of opportunities but still a below average performance/ Mushfiq was always favoring them. In t20 format BD's bowling is in a haphazard position. Gazi was never a t20 bowler. Mashrafee can do little in t20 format. Razzak is off form and very casual bowler in this particular format. Selectors should go for special performer like Arafat in this particular format. Even Nasir and Mominul can have better control as a bowler. Shakib was the main armory in BD's bowling department. Forhad Reza might be okay as per his experience in domestic T20. BCB please bring a quality spin coach from Sub continent before the tournament. Coach should focus more on bowling and fielding .

  • ESPN on March 7, 2014, 23:41 GMT

    Bangladesh need to change batting line up and should drop some crazy cricketer who throw their wicket at crucial time Ndz give to chance taskin ahmed as a impressive bowler

  • Mehdi on March 7, 2014, 17:29 GMT

    It is a good sign that BD is fighting in every match. But problem is you have to come out from your down to spirited win. Every team does/ Every brave captain does . Make some results in any way. What i see Mushfiq was defensive in his captaincy in this matches. He was more active and inspiring while he was with his gloves. i see he was down and his body language was defensive as well. Each match specially when BD was bowling, some point of time they create pressure then the pressure released. After some point of time he become defensive and just go with usual bowlers. A good attacking captain is always thinking and going for wickets and tries all his resources. Last match for some unknown reason he did not use mominul but he used Zia. Match against pakistan he did not use Zia . So when taking wicket is so important then why not try carefully with all of your resources, create pressure with close fielders, changing bowlers frequently so batsman did not get opportunity to settle.

  • Md. Fakhrul on March 7, 2014, 17:23 GMT

    @Al Dave, first thing,yes you are right that statistics need to improve But I want to say that Bangladeshis deserved to win more than they have done, it is due to mental strength or not to finish off the game. if you see against afganistan , Pakistan and srilanka, Bangladesh was on top, they could not just finish off the game. they need couple of wins under their belt. And one thing, New Zealand beat West indies in the recent series, it does not mean that New Zealand are better than West Indies. It was because of poor cricket from West Indies which led to New Zealand's victory, and also west indies did not have a strong side because of injuries. It is just the mental strength of the west indies and Bangladeshi players require and they need to believe themselves that they can win.

  • Dummy4 on March 7, 2014, 16:54 GMT

    BCB should consider to make three changes. First change to let go head coach Shane Jurgensen. BD is playing hard but not playing smart. Losing more than few close games mean a team doesn't have a good game plan or a good strategy. And it should be head coaches responsibility. Second change should be replace chief select with current selector Bashar who has good understanding about players and games since he retired recently. Last but not least change should be replace captain Mushi with someone else. Mushi's game management style is very poor, picking wrong squad, asking wrong bowlers to bowl at the wrong time, incorrect batting order are evident in past and recent games. BD has right combination of players but without making changes, they will not be successful in future.

  • rahman on March 7, 2014, 15:42 GMT

    is bangladesh the biggest victim of umpire errors in the history of the game of cricket.i have been watching cricket for the last 30 years,all formats and a load of different teams,but never seen decisions continuesly go against one team.i know umpires are only humans.but to see them making simple errors against bangladesh contiuesly,as a cricket fan it breaks morale,something has to be done about this.a long suffering tigers fan!

  • Cricket on March 7, 2014, 14:14 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster, and how do you consider NZ, ENG in Tier-1, NZ recently lost 2-0 to Bangladesh in Bangladesh which are rated last. India could have won 2-0 in NZ with some basic adjustments and better team selection decisions. SA, ENG and NZ are only good in their own backyard. I can see only AUS that too only recent series improving outside Aus. THey got thrashed 4-0 by India as well. If you are a good side, you have to perform in ALL conditions right now no country can claim that. Aus did for a few years during McGrath, Warne time frame. Outside India probably India has done best baring last 2 tours of Aus and England when big 4 (Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag) were in fading part of career.

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