Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, only T20, Pallekele April 1, 2013

Mushfiqur blames seamers for defeat


After conceding the high-scoring one-off Twenty20 in Pallekele, Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim criticised his bowlers' work ethic, and said it was time the country takes a proper look at the state of fast bowling.

"The bowlers have to work a lot harder," Mushfiqur said. "What they are doing right now, is not enough. I wouldn't entirely hold it against them but maybe the team management is to share the blame too.

"I would be guilty if I blamed just an individual. If our pace bowlers had backed up the other bowlers, we would have a slightly different series, especially in the Tests. We are giving them enough chances, but they are not giving us the results. Our next tour is to Zimbabwe where we can't experiment. It is a big series for us, so we have to come to a decision."

Bangladesh were left wondering how some decisions could have changed the course of the game. While the decision to pick a pace bowler with an ordinary record in limited-overs cricket left tongues hanging, the umpiring errors also added to the visitors' misery.

On a wicket that was perfect for batsmen to tee off, Shahadat Hossain had a forgettable evening. He wasted the new ball by giving Kusal Perera far too much width, and bowled short with a pace that was hardly threatening. It contributed to the body language of the rest of the team dropping as they fielded poorly and gave away 26 extras. The 54 runs he conceded in four overs highlighted Bangladesh's pace bowling weakness in the last 18 months. It has spewed over on this tour where it has given Mushfiqur headaches.

However, one would have expected Mushfiqur to go with spin even on a good batting wicket. He had the left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain at his disposal but bizarrely went with Shahadat, a seamer who hadn't played an international Twenty20 for more than three years, and someone who was mostly benched by Khulna Royal Bengals in the BPL earlier this year.

"We probably needed a front-line bowler in Twenty20s. Abul Hasan is injured, so we had no other option," Mushfiqur said. "I tried Ziaur [Rahman] who bowled well in one game, didn't bowl or bat well in the third game.

"There was nothing in the track for the spinners and you had to bowl the quicks early. [Kusal] Perera played well, they took us apart in the first six overs."

Despite Sri Lanka's onslaught, Bangladesh were on course to force a tight game. Mohammad Ashraful looked in good touch again, going after Thisara Perera in his first over with two sixes and a four. But when struck on the inside of the front pad off a full toss, Ashraful almost ran the full length of the pitch thinking it was going down the leg side. The umpire however relented to Perera's long appeal. Replays showed it was quite a way down the leg side. Shamsur Rahman also got a poor decision early in the chase when an Angelo Mathews delivery was slipping down the leg side as the debutant came out of the crease to flick the ball.

"I don't know what else to say about the umpires. During this series everyone has seen the number of bad decisions that we have had," Mushfiqur said. "We can't get it back, but we feel sad when it happens to us. I felt sorry for [Shamsur Rahman] Shuvo, who got out off the first ball," he said.

However, Mushfiqur stopped short of making excuses. "I think rather than thinking about the leg-before decisions, we should avoid getting hit on the pads," he said, in all seriousness.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Hasib on April 3, 2013, 3:14 GMT

    This article highlights my frustration, and possibly the frustrations of many Bangladeshi fans. I wanted Musharraf to replace Shakib from day 1. I'm not sure why Mushfiq kept saying he had no other options when he failed to recognize his best available option Musharraf. BD had good record in ODIs playing with 3 genuine spinners and a part time spinner like Mahmudullah. Only fat bowler worthy of a spot in BD team is Mashrafe. In his absence, I would pick Zia instead of Rubel, Musharraf for Shahadat. I hope Mushfiq learns to pick a balanced team, and he needs to learn quick. I liked his captaincy, apart from selection. Hope he has nothing personal against Musharraf, who, in my view, is as good a bowler as Gazi.

  • Amir on April 2, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    @Coolmaq: as I said in my earlier post on related story, some BD fans are very passionate and they go too high after a good performance and want to fire everyone after a bad one. Not saying it is logical but it is what it is. However, in this case they do have a point. BD has had several bad decisions go against them over the last few years. Once in a while is one thing but it can not be consistently against BD this way. The team that gets the bad decision remembers it longer than the one that gets a favorable one. In this regards BD fans have a longer memory than any othe team they play. A small team that is trying to make it on a big stage needs the breaks to go their way at times and it seems that they go against them at inopportune time. However, BD fans know where the weakness is and hopefully BCB will act on rectifying the fast bowler situation. All in all it was a good series from BD perspective. Go Tigers and Lions!

  • Dummy4 on April 2, 2013, 9:09 GMT

    BD batsmen a really well, now they can score 181 against Sri Lanka also their spinners are also doing well in this tour. but the sad part is fast bowling i cant understand why they gave that much chance to Hadath he didn't do well ever... please find new good faster then I'm suaver BD can beat any side...

  • Maqsood on April 2, 2013, 8:57 GMT

    @waheed1233 - Generally speaking, SL is way better than BD. Get that right! Read my post properly before commenting. I never compared the drawn test and rain affected ODI and said SL were better. I was referring to the comments BD fans made after those matches. I am actually speaking on behalf of BD that if they were more disciplined in terms bowling and extras, despite the umpiring decisions, BD could have still won. I understand that fans like you are frustrated by a loss as you guys hardly win a game but gee, take a break, move on and stop crying over a loss. It's just a game! It's not like you lost a world cup!

  • Ashqar on April 2, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    It is better playing with extra batsman cm part time bowler instead Shahadat,Rubel,Abul ... this bangladeshi fast bowling trio are the main reason bangladesh didn't win....otherwise it will be very good series though it is the best series for bangladesh in srilanka so far....and if bangladesh can not find any good fast bowler than please select spinners instead of them...atleast they will do better or same but not worst than fast bowlers....!!

  • sohel on April 2, 2013, 2:11 GMT

    This is not new for SL umpires who always give bad decisions against BD.

  • Dummy4 on April 2, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    Umpires decision is not something any team can control. In their defense, Bangladeshi batsman shuffle a lot, thus expose the wicket, which tricks the umpire to give LBW. I hope the coach should able to correct the technique. The fact is shahadat has no control over bowling, Taskin is a far superior bowler at least in T20.

  • Shuzi on April 1, 2013, 19:10 GMT

    @satishchandar said it well. SL had Malinga bowling at death, BD had Shahadat. Malinga gave 13 in his last TWO overs. Shahadat gave 24 in his last over. Part timers like Nasir and Mominul could not have done worse. The pacers allowed 94 in 8 overs, Shahadat allowed 54 in 4! In contrast, the spinners allowed 97 runs in 12 overs.

  • Shuzi on April 1, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    @satishchandar said it well. SL had Malinga bowling at death, BD had Shahadat. Malinga gave 13 in his last TWO overs. Shahadat gave 24 in his last over. Part timers like Nasir and Mominul could not have done worse. The pacers allowed 94 in 8 overs, Shahadat allowed 54 in 4! In contrast, the spinners allowed 97 runs in 12 overs.

  • Suman on April 1, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    BD is greatly improving and can become a decent side who can offer seriuos challenge to other teams. They are no longer the pushovers by any means. The one area they still lack badly is pace bowling and that will continue to be a huge issue especially outside the subcontinent. If BD can unearth a couple of good fast bowlers they will become a force to reckon with.