Captain looks foolish if bowlers can't execute plans - Mushfiqur
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim has admitted it was difficult to set fields for his undisciplined bowling attack, and said that as a captain, he was made to look "foolish" when the bowlers struggled to bowl in one area continuously. Mushfiqur also felt that there was much to learn from the Indian bowlers who bowled according to the fields set by their captain Virat Kohli.
"A bowler needs to bowl in one particular area and be consistent so that we can plan a field for the batsmen," Mushfiqur said. "If we set a field for deliveries that are bowled in front of the batsmen and in good areas and then you see the bowler bowling a short pitched delivery, then the captain may look foolish. It depends upon the bowler and what they are executing. If our plan clicks everyone would have said positive things. If it doesn't people will criticize."
India consistently scored more than four runs an over on the truncated first and third day of the Fatullah Test, eventually declaring on 462 for 6 on the fourth morning. None of Bangladesh's front-line bowlers, on the other hand, went at less than three an over. Shakib Al Hasan finished with 4 for 105 at 4.28 runs per over while Jubair Hossain gave away 113 runs in 19 overs for his two wickets. Taijul Islam and the lone paceman Mohammad Shahid went wicketless, while the entire bowling attack could muster just four maidens.
Combined, the bowlers gave away more boundaries on the legside (28 to 26) than the offside, and there were a noticeable number of rank long-hops from both the spinners and Shahid. Shakib admitted that he needed help from his old coach Nazmul Abedeen to correct his bowling action, while Jubair had been short of match practice having last played a first-class game in February. Shahid understandably struggled for 22 overs and even Taijul had an uncharacteristically poor Test match. Since taking 60 wickets from three Tests against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh have bowled their opponents out in an innings only once, against Pakistan in Khulna.
"The captaincy depends upon the entire team and captaincy is a big issue," Mushfiqur said. "But at this level a bowler comes and tells the captain how he is going to set a batsman up and accordingly a captain sets a field. But in our level there is a big gap here.
"If our bowlers bowl one ball here and the other there, then the field setup will never look good. The way Harbhajan and Aswhin bowled, you could always use an attacking field against any side. So hopefully we can learn from this Test and work more on our bowling. It will help our Test cricket."
Mushfiqur admitted that picking just one pace bowler was a strategy they needed to revisit. Mushfiqur is the only captain who has used a single pace bowler in a Test match. The first time was in January last year when he used Al-Amin Hossain as the single seamer. Kumar Sangakkara scored a triple-century in that game and the bowling attack looked just as lopsided here as well. It was particularly unfair on Shahid, who was only playing his third Test match and at times, looked out of ideas.
"Maybe had we taken another pacer it could have been good. There might have been a mistake from our side. We take a decision together with logic.
"Maybe if we would have won the toss, things would have been different and our four spinners could have attacked their batsmen more. So maybe we can learn from this experience and know what are the positives and negatives of playing with a single pacer."
Mushfiqur also said that Shuvagata Hom may perhaps have been given one too many chances to prove his worth. From seven Tests, Hom averages 21.30 with the bat and 59.12 with the ball taking just eight wickets. After going wicketless in the first innings, Hom had a chance to redeem himself with the bat, but even in his 43-run seventh-wicket stand with Litton Das, it was the debutant Litton who looked far more comfortable. Shuvagata made just 9 off 25 balls.
"Maybe it is a point that we need to think about. The way we gave him chances, maybe he hasn't lived up to the expectations," Mushfiqur said. "He did well in the last domestic competition, so we thought he could be good in the team. So we have seen him in this Test. If there's a better option for the next Test series, then maybe someone better will be picked up, not just Shuvagata but any player."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84