Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Mirpur February 17, 2014

Mushfiqur defends bowling tactics

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Shakib Al Hasan was taken out of the attack when Sri Lanka were 63 for 6 after 18 overs. Shakib had bowled four tight overs, but was not brought back till the 34th, by when Thisara Perera's counterattack had lifted Sri Lanka to 143 for 8. The decision to keep Shakib out of the attack for so long will be considered a captaincy blunder, but the idea that a left-arm orthodox spinner cannot be used against a left-hand batsman is something that has persisted with successive Bangladesh team managements.

It has never rewarded them properly, and reflects how quickly they sink to a defensive mindset. The theory was often heard when Jamie Siddons was coach, and Mohammad Ashraful and Shakib were captains. Perhaps the theory will not be put to rest anytime soon, but this incident should serve as a warning.

Though Thisara was at the crease, Sri Lanka were tottering on 67 for 8, ready to be finished off. Thisara had nothing to lose from that position, and ball after ball, he was fed deliveries on his legs. He swung, got fours and sixes, had catches dropped, and Sri Lanka turned the game even from a seemingly hopeless position.

"There was killer instinct," Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim said. "If the catches would have been taken, they could have been bowled out within hundred. If you have noticed, Perera was taking chances when he was hitting Sunny bhai. Our plan was to use away-going deliveries, so that he edged something. We didn't want Perera to play according to his strengths. The plan was fine, unfortunately, we couldn't hold on to the catches."

If Mushfiqur rates Shakib as his best bowler, which he does, then the best bowler is supposed to be good enough to get the hitter out even if he is left-handed. If the plan was to give Perera away-going deliveries, then Mahmudullah's slow, timid off-spin is never going to dent the attacking batsman's confidence.

If a right-handed hitter was going for sixes in such a situation, Mushfiqur would almost certainly have used Shakib and Arafat Sunny even if they were bowling poorly and Sohag Gazi and Mahmudullah bowling well. That is how Mushfiqur, and many of his predecessors, have long used spinners.

There were chances created, for sure, like when Sohag Gazi and Nasir Hossain dropped simple chances at long-on, and Shakib off Al-Amin Hossain at long-off. Mahmudullah also dropped Sachithra Senanayake at slip, and so did Shakib after diving to take a top-edge at midwicket.

"I don't know when Bangladesh lost like this before. It is really disappointing. We dropped a few catches and by generally good fielders. It put us on the back-foot."

Mushfiqur also lamented the lack of partnerships as Bangladesh slipped from 114 for 2 to 167 all out. But he said Sri Lanka set fields which made it difficult to find singles and doubles.

"Score like 180 was not difficult, it wasn't swinging or spinning. There was a bit of moisture that's all. Their field placement was all inside, so one had to play a few shots. Our plan was fine but two silly run-outs put us on the back-foot.

"Partnerships are needed in such low-scoring games, one of the set batsman should have played at least an 80-run innings, then it would have been easier."

Till now, Bangladesh have lost two Twenty20s off the last ball and threw away two golden opportunities in one match. They had the visitors on 67 for 8 and were themselves requiring less than three runs an over, with eight wickets in hand. They have pushed Sri Lanka close, but the time has come now to complete the job.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • QTS_ on February 19, 2014, 3:10 GMT

    @Lakmalja: in the match referred (Champions Trophy final of 2004), Gough was indeed poor. Video is available on Youtube. Of course, he was among the best in England in the 1990's.

  • dummy4fb on February 18, 2014, 21:58 GMT

    As much as I dislike complaining after a loss; I just can't take Mushfiq defending an obvious wrong decision, of not employing Shakib much earlier! Even if he thinks that Shakib is not good enough to bowl to Perrera (which in itself is baffling), how could he forget that it takes two batsmen to play and in this case no.10 Senanayeke ( who is not a left-hander)was partnering Perrera. If Bangladesh could got rid of Senanayeke ( and Malinga) Perrera would have remain stranded ( what actually happened when he brought Shakib back!) You should have gone for the kill when your opponent was on the floor; and the best way to do that is using your best bowler! The final score of 180 was still very much gettable is a different story altogether. However, this is not the end of the world, pull up your socks; you could still win this series (yes, I sincerely believe this); but before that do some soul searching and don't be afraid to accept any wrongdoing.

  • dummy4fb on February 18, 2014, 20:42 GMT

    I think only advise should be given to Mushy is "to stay at home and do not talk to media". After putting up horrible display of cricket there is nothing to defend. Another advise should be given to this guy, do not play ODI like a Test cricket. Rotating a strike is the key to success in a ODI.

  • dummy4fb on February 18, 2014, 14:06 GMT

    This is horrible tactic! why left hander can't ball against left hander- if that's the case then he should consider himself as bowler. Regardless just left/right - they need to bowl right place if they are good. this is awful thinking. you may need to look how many left handers were out by wasim or how many right handers were out by shame warne/murali. Of course you need to use your premium bowler regardless who is in the bat.

  • dummy4fb on February 18, 2014, 11:43 GMT

    It is very pathetic!!! not the Bangladesh cricket! the critiques... these kind of matches and results are full of ODI history. Why does everybody so much blaming Bangladeshi players? They are very talented bunch of Cricketers. They will be bounced back when luck favours them. I am sure. But I wish they could not do it in this ODI series because I am a serious Sri Lankan Fan 

  • British_North_America on February 18, 2014, 8:45 GMT

    When Bangladesh lost like this? Bangladesh lost the third ODI vs Pakistan in home tour in 2011 chasing 170+, there was also a floodlight failure.By the way, it is true that Perera is a left hander but what about Senanayeke? Is he a left hander too?

  • i_golam on February 18, 2014, 8:42 GMT

    Yesterday I told my wife that ... it was the last time for me and I am not gonna watch any more BD cricket ! I know that I never can hold on to that .... but disappointment struck through me ! We still singing the "losers song" ... we shall overcome "... after yesterdays suffering I belive we have to sing this song for a very long time and maybe even to the end ! Poor cricket !! Poor Bangladesh !!!

  • dummy4fb on February 18, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    See the temperament: players->67 for 8 to 180!! and then 114 for 2 to 167!!! Umpire->third umpire Anisur Rahman took more than five minutes to decide benefit of doubt against batsman... Players needs training from schoolboys how to catch or run between the wicket and Umpire needs training from schoolboys about cricketing rules

  • dummy4fb on February 18, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    Nasir! what happened with you... are you lost . soon you might be in the book of Bangladesh cricket history. I was following you closely. You are not in your previous form in the last couple of series. you should concentrate and work hard more on your cricket and performance, International cricket is not a easy cake. here stating might be easy for promising players but sustaining long in your position is very very difficult. Soon opponent teams will find your weakness. long list of promising player just lost in the time of world cricket. Mr finisher is becoming a finished product.

  • dummy4fb on February 18, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    The body language of Mahmudullah and Gazi was pathetic. Gazi can get another chance but Mahmudullah failed to deliver every department of the game. I will not suggest change and shuffle the team in each matches. Only change is needed when it is must. I am really surprised when i see Mashrafee was out! he is our main strike bowler and champion player! why they rest him , is it worthy, to give rest your influential player. if they play three pacers or someone like Rubel is injured then Al amin could get a chance. Tamim another influential player was out due to injury! always staring is very important and Tamim always give us that and there is controversy regarding Tamim captaincy which was definitely a bad effect over his form. Nayeem should get his chance regarding his last couple of one days. It looks chief selector was just messed up with T20, Oneday and Test squad. Always balanced and motivated team wins in the field.

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