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

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

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