West Indies v Bangladesh, 2nd ODI, St George's August 21, 2014

Reactionary changes hurting Bangladesh

Poor decisions on and off the field have made it difficult for Bangladesh to snap their extended run of losses
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Bangladesh's winless streak this year, now extended to 11 by the three-wicket loss to West Indies, is mainly the creation of mediocre decision-making on and off the field, leading to carelessness and insecurity.

After the first ODI, the talk was mostly about how the batsmen left the job for each other and only one of them stuck to it, and how the bowlers couldn't finish things off after a fantastic start. The batting story isn't a new one, as Bangladeshi batsmen have developed a habit of making an early impression and then giving it away.

The bowlers were just one wicket away from effectively clinching the game, but Denesh Ramdin and Kieron Pollard never gave them a chance. What also didn't help the bowlers was the general defensive approach, coming from captain Mushfiqur Rahim and the bowlers themselves.

When the wickets kept falling, Mushfiqur hardly moved anyone into a catching position. Chris Gayle was caught at third-man, Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo were caught by the wicketkeeper and Kirk Edwards was bowled trying to slog.

Dwayne Bravo's dismissal - caught at deep square-leg - seemed to be part of a plan that Mushfiqur had concocted, but it was the more the batsman's impetuousness and the momentum at that stage which resulted in that wicket.

So when they went down to 34 for 5, it was expected that someone among the captain or the bowlers, one of whom is a former captain, would bring in the fielders to try get the sixth wicket quickly - particularly as it was the last recognised batting pair.

As has been the case since January, the trouble isn't just on the field. Selection has become a regular issue that has often made the playing XI look lop-sided, as it was in the first ODI.

The grand plan from Dhaka was to pick four openers in the top four, sidelining regular middle-order batsmen Mominul Haque and Mithun Ali.

Imrul Kayes' Test century at No. 3 this year kept him in that position, but Shamsur Rahman batting at No. 4 didn't work out well. He has only batted a handful of times in that position on the domestic circuit, and only twice now in international cricket.

Mominul haque played the first ODI against India in June where he looked out of sorts for 27 minutes, and was dropped for the second game in that series and now the first ODI here. The selectors back home are sympathetic towards Mominul, having talked to him about the big role he has to play, especially in the Test team.

But why deprive the ODI team of his skills, which have obviously been shown only a few months earlier? To count one poor start against him was harsh as Mominul banks a lot on starting well. He was replaced by Mithun Ali back in June, who, to his credit, was the top-scorer in the second ODI where Bangladesh folded for 58.

After this three-wicket loss, expect more reactionary changes, as has been the norm this year. Twenty players have been used during this winless streak so far, which can cause a lot of insecurity within the team. Here too someone like Shamsur would feel unsure whether he would be given another chance. If Mominul can be considered too slow or out of sorts after just one innings, what guarantee is there for him?

This sense of insecurity should make players more careful, but the batsmen who have a question mark next to their name were anything but. Tamim Iqbal, an accomplished opener trying to get out of a rut, was diligent for a while before he tried the pull shot one too many times. Shamsur tickled down the leg-side and Mahmudullah, woefully out of form for nearly two years, saw the ball get knocked off his thigh-pad as it also slid down the leg side.

These dismissals are unfortunate in the best of times so when the batsman is out of form, more caution is expected.

Mushfiqur would have to lead the way, but it is a big ask to change habits and there is very little time. Not many of the habits internalised during a lean period can be scrubbed out but like Tamim and Anamul had shown, it is possible to bring about a change by making the right mentality.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on August 22, 2014, 16:01 GMT

    Hard to disagree with the thrust of this article. Another man I feel has been hard done by is the seamer, Robiul Islam. For mine he was probably the most threatening looking seamer I've seen out of Bangladesh in some time, I truly have no idea why he wasn't given an extended run. Yes the likes of Al-Amin and Taskin look very promising but really I think the experience of Robiul alongside Mashrafe with one of the younger quicks as a third seamer would be a far better balance if we are talking about achieving results. This is seemingly a never ending affair with the Bangladeshi side and more and more it seems to be a lack of experience that costs them games these days rather than talent. How about picking and sticking with the best xi and letting them learn how to win, rather than constantly looking for the next 'big thing'. Raw talent alone is not the answer, it needs to be allowed to develop on the big stage.

  • Fogu on August 22, 2014, 12:59 GMT

    Let's not get carried away and appoint Anamul the captain, shall we? He is a young kid who needs to work on his game. Everyone loved Mushy last two years when the team had some success. Sure, Mushy needs to be better at managing the game but we also need to pick the right team. Why are decisions being made in Dhaka and not by the coach and captain on who needs to play. I think Tamim, Anamul, Imrul, Mominul, Mushy, Nasir, Mahmudullah, Sohag, Razzak, Mashrafe, Al-Amin gives us the best chance on a slow pitch. Let's go Tigers!

  • Baundele on August 22, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    The captain single-handedly managed to lose the match, undoing all the efforts from the bowlers. You can not blame the bowlers, when the captain keeps them away from bowling. When WI were 5 wickets down, Mashrafe should have been brought in, with two fielders at the long for Pollard. Pollard gave two chances, one at long on, another at third man. I think, the captain did not expect the bowlers to come that hard, and could not adjust his initial game plan of losing "with some dignity".

    Just appoint Mashrafe the captain and you will see the difference.

  • DirkL on August 22, 2014, 9:50 GMT

    Incredible! An article on why Bangladesh cricket is in the doldrums and neither the author nor the fans even mention the name Shakib al Hasan? The reason for his absence may be a no-no, but the fact of it is surely the biggest single reason why the present squad performs worse than previous teams.

  • AbhinavKunnu on August 22, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    Bangladesh has bunch of very good players. Only thing they have to do is select a group of 15-20 players and give them exposure with rigorous training and matches in various countries and at home even against A sides and persist with the set of players even if they fail. I am sure the side will blossom once they have experienced bunch. The process is time taking but will certainly yield. No knee jerk action required and Bangladesh civilians must support their team at any cost. All the best to Bangla cricketers and fan.....From Indian fan

  • CricTimer on August 22, 2014, 2:28 GMT

    So the bottom line is... Bangladesh team has no chance having their score below 300 in any ODI or the opponent cross 300 against them. I must say it is not always the openers but always the middle order batsman who bring respectable runs for any team. Witnessing last few games of BD it is clear that the middle order batsmen are way too weak to play long innings. I hope the new coach will resolve this weakness. Bangladesh bowling side is getting stronger. Then again it is the captain's job to set the field in such a way so that the batsman feels under pressure. A clear example can be taken from ex captain of Australia Ricky Ponting. If they could get some early wicket from first power play, Panter brought even more fielders inside the 1st rope for the next batsman and brought his most promising fast bowler. Mushi perhaps can imply some of this just to see how it works. Good luck for the next game BD.

  • sarcasticbd on August 22, 2014, 1:21 GMT

    Dear BD fans, just wait for only two more matches! In October 2014, the wretched Zimbabwe cricket team is scheduled to arrive in Bangladesh. Bangladesh are likely to effect a whitewash Zimbabwe. Poor times are awaiting for you Zimbabwe!

  • smukhles on August 21, 2014, 23:55 GMT

    This is almost guaranteed to happen when non cricket playing people starts to make decision on selection and other issues. Mushfiqur Rahim's defensive approach and sometimes quiet senseless decision has brought the monument down time and again but the way it looks is who really cares? A so called Test Playing team couldn't take just one more wicket after restricting the opponent to 35-5 and went on to defense!Who can explain that really? No valued contributing decision from the former captain either by not helping to bring couple of fielders close in catching positions after shackling WI to 35-5. There we go! A very much known Bangladesh Team. Another 10 years before maturity as a team.

  • TwohedulAzam on August 21, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    This coach rated Mominul Hoque as the player he can keep in the bench while the truth is he is the best technically sound batsman in current BD team and his career stat speaks for that so far. Bad decision to leave him outside in the first ODI. I am not even going to talk about his left hand spin ability because I believe he should be in the playing 11 automatically for that most important no 4 batting position.

  • android_user on August 21, 2014, 19:51 GMT

    very poor and diffencive captaincy from Mushfiq.This year all the matches we lost because of his poor capaincy.Many times we were very much in winning position but we lost.This hurting us again and again. Anyway there is an improving sight in our coaching staff.we remaing positive to celebrate in the 2nd match.

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