Bangladesh v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Mirpur December 1, 2011

Pitch not offering us home advantage, says Mushfiqur


Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bangladesh captain, has said the Mirpur pitch on which his team lost by five wickets to Pakistan was not what he expected and therefore did not offer home advantage. Bangladesh were bowled out for just 91 runs and while the game lost its competitive edge after the first two hours Pakistan too found it difficult to bat and took their time getting to the low target.

"I have not experienced what home advantage is in the last two series, to be honest with you," Mushfiqur said. "When you talk about home advantage, you expect to be playing on pitches you are familiar with so you know what a good total would be, be it 240 or 150.

"But if you don't know that then you don't know how to approach the innings. I don't think we are getting what we are expecting from the track, plus there is a lack of application."

Bangladesh were hustled into a corner by Shahid Afridi's five-wicket haul after Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik did the early damage. The ever-improving Hafeez took the new ball and straightaway trapped Tamim Iqbal lbw, while Malik beat Mushfiqur with extra bounce, getting him to edge behind an attempted cut.

Afridi too got two wickets with extra bounce, including that of Shakib Al Hasan, who sliced to Umar Akmal at backward point. Mahmudullah edged a genuine legbreak from Afridi before Farhad Reza and Shafiul Islam gave him his fourth and fifth. Afridi, who also top-scored for Pakistan, said the pitch was not that hard to bat on. "If the batsmen want they can survive," he said. "You can take singles, rotate the strike and play yourself in. Maybe because of Twenty20 cricket now batsmen don't have the temperament.

Another collapse left Mushfiqur looking for answers, many of which will have to be answered by his batsmen. He was adamant that the batsmen must pick the gaps rather than wait to play the big shots - a recurring theme in his press meets since he has been in charge.

"We need to work on our basics and try to hit the ball into the gaps," Mushfiqur said. "I had a chat with the rest of the batsmen after we were all out for 91, so hopefully we can see more application from the next match onwards. Our top order has not been performing consistently for the last couple of series. The batsmen are under a lot of pressure and they cannot play their natural game, probably because they're facing up to the best bowling attack in the world.

"When you're not among the runs, there is pressure, and then when you lose a couple of early wickets the pressure increases. Our top-order batsmen need to play with a bit more responsibility; even if we had scored 150 today it could have been a different game."

Mushfiqur said there was a marked difference in the abilities of the two sets of players, but he wanted to fight on. "Obviously there is a difference in the skill-level between the two teams. If we had some players of their skill level and four or five matchwinners then things would obviously have been different. But we need to fight with whatever resources are available to us."

Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mashrur on December 2, 2011, 19:04 GMT

    I agree with salman_0902 100%, I've been praying for years that they stop referring to the team as tigers. Its the media period. Whenever there is a win, rare it may be, phrases like "Tiger's roar" really do a huge disservice, it makes the players start thinking they really are what Tiger's represent. They're cubs now and will be for the next 15 years, even if they win a few here and there, the sooner they accept that, the better they will do, and the faster mushfiq will stop making excuses for cub-like performances.

  • Sameer on December 2, 2011, 18:19 GMT

    @gagguv: Please don't compare Tamin to Andy Flower. Flower in his prime was the best batsman in the world.Tamim is a nobody - a Sehwag wannabe. Only reason he is playing is because he is from Bangladesh. He would struggle to get into the West Indies team.

  • Sameer on December 2, 2011, 17:58 GMT

    The only way Bangladesh can be given home advantage is if the pitch is dug up and play is called off.

  • Waheed on December 2, 2011, 17:29 GMT

    Grapes are sour.....

    Moral of the story is u cant beat any world class team ... keep crying keep crying

  • Zia on December 2, 2011, 17:21 GMT

    To those who are asking BD to not play the major teams, its all about MONEY. As long as BD can pay the teams to play there they will come. And ICC is looking to expand the game, not shrink it back to the old six. Those days are long. That is not to say BD and Zim don't need to improve, which they must a la Sri Lanka.

  • Barnsley on December 2, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    What home advantage? What difference does it make? Bangladesh are a joke, and should'nt be allowed to play against the top teams, neither should Zimbabwe, and no one else for that matter until they are worthy of competing with the best.

  • Rahul on December 2, 2011, 9:45 GMT

    The main thing what is missing is application. Like someone mentioned BD started playing ODIs in 1986. Zimbabwae started in 1983, not much difference. But still Zimbabwae were able to field better teams at many points. They had Heath Streak BD have Mortaza. They had Andy Flower, BD has Shakib/Tamim. There are numerous examples but generally Zimbabwae teams were better because of their temperament and application. They were not boastful. A batsman of Andy Flower's stature could say anything because he could walk to talk not unlike Tamim. He is one of BD's premier batsman, the kind of restraint he is now a days showing with bat, she should show the same with his mouth also.I dont know why Mortaza is being continuously ignored? He has been there for long. If not for his bowling he should be there for mentoring. Similarly for Bashar.The past heroes should not be ridiculed or dumped because experience has no alternative. Those who had been there and done it know far more better than others

  • Vipul on December 2, 2011, 8:29 GMT

    Continue in the same vein and Mushfiqur Rahim would be asking Afridi not to bowl flippers, Gul not to bowl out-swingers, and Hafeez not to bowl at all. Further, any contact of ball with bat be declared a single and any hit in the gap between the fielders be declared a two. Pitch not offering help indeed!

  • TMoney on December 2, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    Cmon Mushfiq just admit tht the batsmen cant play spin and we will all be ok with it and also say tht there are lots of improvement needed. Thats all we want from u and now ur telling everyone that the pitch wasnt done for the hosts advantage...

  • Rohit on December 2, 2011, 8:18 GMT

    This is just deplorable, blaming the pitch. The pitch was exactly what suited Bangladesh's strength, spin bowling. They made Pak struggle for the runs. But what did Mushfiqr expect? That the pitch that assisted his bowlers would act dead and flat for the current best spin attack in the world? The fact is that no matter how they prepare the pitch, Pak is a more talented team in every department. If Bangladesh wants to win, they have to stop making excuses, and try win the mind game. Mushfiqur should stop making excuses, take the positives from this match (they made the Pakistani batsmen struggle) and fight on, with the belief they can win. After all Bangladesh has beaten Australia, India, England and West Indies, and some of those were on away games. They should believe in themselves, and know that with a bit more application, discipline and mental strength, they can beat anyone. And the first step towards that is to stop making excuses.

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