Bangladesh in West Indies 2014 September 3, 2014

Bangladesh coach puts onus on batsmen


Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha has pinned hopes on the batsmen for the two-match Test series against West Indies as he considers their bowling stocks "limited". The first Test begins at Arnos Vale, Kingstown on Friday, where Hathurusingha expects Bangladesh to fight hard to enforce a draw.

In the last series between the two sides in West Indies, back in 2009, Bangladesh had comprehensively beaten a weakened home side who were suffering a players' strike. But the circumstances are quite different now. Bangladesh's overall form has forced Hathurusingha into admitting quite early his target for the Test series.

"Our realistic goal would be to draw the game," Hathurusingha told ESPNcricinfo. "If we play well, bat well, we will be in the game. Our bowling stock is limited. We must look to bat deep and bat long, score runs and be in the game."

In only his third month, Hathurusingha has so far seen five ODI defeats, the country's best cricketer being handed a 6-month ban and myriad other problems have come up on the field.

"We are working hard on the morale," he said. "It is not an aspect that can be changed overnight. It has to come from our action, not only from the coach and players but from everyone involved in cricket. We are working on that. I have seen them in only six ODIs so far. I have a bit of idea how we can go forward, what we need to do to improve in one-day cricket. But Test cricket is still ahead of us."

The focus was firmly on the batsmen, who have misfired throughout the year. Consistency has been missing, as was the case with Anamul Haque, considered one of the few in-form batsmen, who scored a hundred in the first ODI against West Indies but added 7 and 0 in the next two.

It is worse for Bangladesh's other leading batsmen too. Tamim Iqbal, Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah have not scored much, while Mominul Haque has suddenly found himself in a dip. Mushfiqur Rahim has contributed regularly but not from a winning position.

However, Hathurusingha had seen how the batsmen were able to put together a 350-plus score in the practice match against St Kitts & Nevis, and so he remains hopeful that they would put a substantial score together. Mushfiqur and Nasir scored centuries, and although there was once again a middle-order wobble, there were periods when the two centurions were in control.

"In the first game [in St George's], we batted well on that wicket," Hathurusingha said. "In the second game we didn't bat well. In the last game they really played well. The target was too daunting, in the middle we had a partnership although we had a big asking rate.

"I think we are getting there. We are trying hard to understand our roles and finding the right way to play those roles. It is still an early stage for me to understand their strengths and limitations. I am all open-minded but I can't get into too many details without knowing what they can do in the middle," he said.

What is worrying for Hathurusingha and the rest of the Bangladesh think-tank is a bowling attack without any experience of note. Robiul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain, Taijul Islam and Elias Sunny have a total of 21 Tests.

Since 12 of Mahmudullah's 31 Test wickets have come in the West Indies, he can be considered a bright spot but batting is his main job and he has not been doing well. Rubel Hossain's 19 Tests make him the most experienced, but his bowling average is the worst among bowlers who have bowled at least 3,000 deliveries. Hence, Hathurusingha has kept selection of the playing XI open.

"We haven't decided our final XI," he said. "There are places for grabs for players to put their hand up. Until we have seen the wicket we don't know what combination we will have. You know that we are handicapped, we have one spinner left. Our strength is spin so we are going into this game without that option. So it is a bit hard and we might have to discuss a different combination.

"Our bowling attack is going to be tested on these wickets. The spinner who is coming is quite inexperienced. It is going to be a challenge for our attack, beside considering the wicket," he said.

When asked what he wouldn't like to see from the batsmen in the Test series, Hathurusingha simply said, "I want them to see make a lot of runs."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • VIJAY on September 5, 2014, 18:54 GMT

    "Our realistic goal would be to draw the game"....then what is the use of playing cricket...every team plays to win matches, especially Australia and SA...if you cant try to win matches, then it should be better to withdraw from playing least some other teams like Afghanistan, Netherlands, Ireland will get a chance to play cricket....Afghanistan did not fear to play when they were facing test playing nations like India, Pak, BD and won against BD in emphatic manner....Netherlands also did not fear when the target was beyond reach...chased huge total inside 15 overs in T20 WC....Ireland also did not fear when the target was huge and that too against a test playing nation in world cup 2011, won by chasing 320+ runs against England....this type of killing instinct Im not seeing in BD players, its better to take rest from competitive cricket at least for 2 years and give chance to other competitive teams

  • Greg on September 5, 2014, 15:11 GMT

    If Bangladesh doesn't think it can win a test match at home against the 8th ranked test country - why are they playing test cricket?

  • Mradul on September 5, 2014, 10:23 GMT

    @Fahim_Bd_1998: When you defeat a team only once (India) or twice (SL) in last 5 years then yes it's called a Fluke.

  • Hassan on September 5, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    Prabhakar Muthukrishnan - Well , we'll try to play 5 day instead of finishing the game within 3 days. And rare is India's win at lords after a long time. It is humorous when you say BD players have lack of talent respect or others. Yeah they lack of skills. And beating India, Srilanka , Newzealand, Wi were fluke? I mean are they associate team? we beat them, according to you, we did beat associates :)

  • Dummy4 on September 5, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    I don't think coach can do anything better than drawing with this mediocre set of players. It is good at-least they can go past the 3rd day. They lack the talent, skills, respect and commitment. Some players act as world beaters after rare victories they achieve ones in blue moons at home pitches against associate level teams.

  • Suj on September 5, 2014, 3:45 GMT

    Posted by on (September 4, 2014, 16:05 GMT) Bangladesh team is quite a good side. In the first game of the ODI series against WI they could have won the match, but sadly they gifted it away. After that loss made there moral down. They just have to put high price tags to there wickets..and if they do then automatically runs will flow from there willow..!!!!!

    Could have would have should have ... By your logic, England "could have" won four ODI World Cups to date having made it to the finals tons of times. But have they? No so there you go. Ifs and buts prove nothing it is only results that are important! Fact is Bangladesh has played tons of ODIs all year long and are yet to win even one

  • Dummy4 on September 4, 2014, 20:56 GMT

    Bangladesh should voluntarily withdraw itself as Test Playing Country. They are diminishing the Stature of this game and diminishing their own stature. They are not progressing as a Test Playing outfit, they are in fact regressing.

  • Dummy4 on September 4, 2014, 16:05 GMT

    Bangladesh team is quite a good side. In the first game of the ODI series against WI they could have won the match, but sadly they gifted it away. After that loss made there moral down. They just have to put high price tags to there wickets..and if they do then automatically runs will flow from there willow..!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on September 4, 2014, 15:12 GMT

    well said......we have to improve each and every sides like bating, blowing and fielding.

  • Shuzi on September 4, 2014, 15:00 GMT

    The team's batting has been misfiring and Mominul might not be in the playing XI. I normally favor playing in-form players, but almost no one is in form. Thus, Mominul should be an automatic choice. In fact, he should have been in the ODI XI.

    Why is Rubel Hossain considered? Bowling fast is not enough. Rubel has shown that time and again by getting thrashed.

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