West Indies facing all-round problems
West Indies' decision to stick to a single plan in the one-day series against Bangladesh has made them overlook two important facets of the limited-overs game. They haven't paid heed to current form and the importance of risk-free middle-order batting while at the same time have indulged on an overdose of similar skilled allrounders.
West Indies lost both ODIs in Khulna, the second by a record margin against Bangladesh of 160 runs. The two defeats inflicted on the visitors have completely changed the atmosphere of the tour following the Test victories and as West Indies moved to Dhaka on Monday morning issues were piling up at their feet.
Lendl Simmons' form is the first of those problems. He has partnered Chris Gayle at the top of the order in the first two games and has had scores of 13 and 9. His last ODI fifty came a year ago but more importantly he has been through a poor time in this format. Since the fifty in India he has averaged below 10 in nine games with a highest of 36. Kieran Powell may take his place and could have justified a place in the side at the start of the series after his two centuries in the Dhaka Test. Though he has since had four low scores he would freshen up the top order.
"Throughout the Test series we had a lot of performances coming from the younger players," Darren Sammy said. "The Bravos, Powells, Ramdin, young Permaul and all the guys have done well. Cricket is a team game and you have to perform together. Obviously you have days when some individual had a brilliant moment and gets the Man-of-the-Match, but at the end of the day it takes a total team effort to win games."
Sammy, though, credited Bangladesh's plans, particularly their bowlers' confidence when responding to boundaries. "I think everybody would want to go out there and perform and I believe every single batsman goes out there to perform for West Indies. Credit to the way the Bangladesh team has bowled.
"They have a plan for every batsman. Gazi, Razzak and Mashrafe stuck to the plan. Even though we hit a couple of boundaries you see them executing properly. That's where we are lacking. We are not executing our plans well. So far Bangladesh have seized the moment."
The lack of runs from Gayle, Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels has also hurt West Indies' chances. Gayle hasn't made up his mind on whether to start slowly or blaze away while Sohag Gazi has had the better of the in-form Samuels in both games. Bravo hasn't done justice to the range of shots he possesses and his ability to play spin bowling in this series by giving away two starts. The early dismissals of Samuels and Bravo against spin have also impacted the rest of the batsmen who have still some way to go when dealing with spinners.
"We have not rotated the strike against spin as much as we could over the last few years. But we get better at it when we spend time at the crease," Sammy said. "So far none of our batsmen have done so. In order to score runs you must be present at the crease."
There are also issues around the balance of the side with a preference for allrounders, such as Andre Russell and Dwayne Smith, ahead of specialist quick Kemar Roach. Russell, Smith and Darren Sammy took one wicket between them in the second match while none of them have made the sort of contributions expected from them with the bat, especially under the new fielding restrictions.
The continued struggle of Sunil Narine has been the other setback while in the opposition Razzak and Gazi thrived in Khulna where the wicket offered turn. It would not be a huge surprise if Veerasammy Permaul, the left-arm spinner, replaced Narine for the remaining ODIs.
Sammy has a tough task ahead of him, both in selecting the right personnel and in making sure the attitude is right. West Indies are running out of time and defeat in this series would be a blow to their growing reputation as a returning force in world cricket.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent