World T20 2014 news March 26, 2014

Bangladesh rattled by misfiring players

With their players struggling to make a sustained impact, the management is struggling to nail down the best combination and have been guilty of making several strange calls during this World T20

Bangladesh made four changes heading into their opening Super 10 tie with West Indies and none of them clicked, and the painful defeat to West Indies underlined confusion among the management as to what their best XI is.

The biggest casualty on Tuesday was Nasir Hossain, who has played across formats continuously since making his debut in August 2011. The stretch is both a tribute to his ability and fitness, but he hasn't scored an international fifty since last May. The drop in form came into sharp relief when the specialist finisher struggled during run chases in the recent limited-overs series against Sri Lanka.

On the surface, it looks the right call. Nasir probably needs a break from cricket, as was reflected in the amount of catches he has dropped this year, especially considering he is one of their best fielders. But if flagging performance was the reason for his ouster, then Mahmudullah's retention is puzzling, even to casual fans of Bangladesh. He averages just four in T20s and 11 overall in 2014.

He was picked as an offspinner, when Bangladesh had already recalled the specialist Sohag Gazi. If Bangladesh wanted to get the better of the opposition's left-handers, West Indies only had three. Two of whom were No.9 Sunil Narine and No.11 Krishmar Santokie.

Mahmudullah did prove useful enough to break the 97-run opening stand by picking up Dwayne Smith. But, he also dropped Darren Sammy twice off consecutive deliveries in the 19th over and was caught behind for one. His batting has been a distinct point of sourness this year, making 12 in three innings. His position at No. 7 means he wouldn't normally have time to build an innings, but in period under scrutiny he had 12.3, 8.2 and 9.5 overs remaining to make an impact.

Having been criticised for defending some of his selections, captain Mushfiqur Rahim finally said that Mahmudullah's time may be up.

"He hasn't played up to the mark," Mushfiqur said. "We have tried a new combination today [Tuesday], but we still thought that we can bank on his bowling if not batting. For our next selection, we will keep his performance in mind and if available, we will use a better option in the next game."

But there were two good calls taken too: favouring Ziaur Rahman as the seaming allrounder over Farhad Reza, who had a meltdown against Hong Kong.

Ziaur should have been in original World T20 squad announced in February considering Farhad's troubles at the international level. But at the time, Farhad, had taken 29 wickets in the earlier season's Dhaka Premier League and averaged 39.71 with the bat. Ziaur had been groomed as a T20 specialist since before the 2012 World T20, but he had taken less wickets in the DPL while also averaging slightly less with the bat than Farhad in first-class cricket.

Mushfiqur can be castigated for picking Mahmudullah ahead of Nasir and for underusing Ziaur, but he would be more concerned with Gazi's ineffectiveness. The offspinner's last substantial contribution was a thee-wicket haul in the series-clinching second ODI against New Zealand in late October. Since then, he has averaged of 81.11 in all formats, the second-worst for Bangladesh in the period, with only nine wickets.

The handling of Shamsur Rahman and Mominul Haque cap the confusion that is dominating Bangladesh's team management and selection committee. Shamsur's BPL success brought him to the international T20 team nearly 12 months ago. He climbed into the ODI and Test team thereafter, and a few low scores in the Asia Cup lost his place to Anamul Haque, with Tamim Iqbal returning from injury.

Mominul was picked for the West Indies game, a batsman who was benched for the T20s against Sri Lanka last month and all of the warm-up and first round matches of the World T20. Suddenly, he was pushed up at No. 3, a role which seems to be slightly out of his grasp in the shortest format, despite being quite competent in Tests and ODIs.

More than changes to personnel, Mushfiqur and coach Shane Jurgensen have to finalise a batting order that reflects belief and positivity, and bring shape to the bowling attack. To the captain's credit, he has backed himself publicly despite the follies. The hope is that he gets it right next time, then the defending wouldn't be necessary.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nasim on March 29, 2014, 12:43 GMT

    ...Moreover, if a team is established through the capabilities to execute plans in the field, proven from previous performances, and somehow now making and repeating basic mistakes then any sane management would try to rectify those mistakes through objective analysis of those mistakes and problem-oriented coaching. BD team now has a non-existent coach that the BCB has appointed. Of coarse, time would call for replacements but that too has standard protocols, which in case of Bangladesh, none can't find - even with the wildest of imagination. (Can anyone explain why Forhad/ Riyad is in the team?) Again, It is more unlikely that you just chop and change the team and they start producing consistent results. Without right captain, right coach and right system to harness new players (domestic tournaments) (that BCB itself is supposed to ensure), BCB is looking to hold its office as an ICC full member board only by pressurizing the players...

  • Nasim on March 29, 2014, 12:03 GMT

    Re: Daniel Ahmed: First of all, I never exaggerated our players' abilities nor I tried to defend any of their numerous faults in the field. In fact, before India match, Anamul's interview really disappointed me. I hoped, as they were up against the wall, this time tigers were going to play in clear mind but yet again their thoughts seemed to be too clouded with loses against Honk Konk and WI, also too preoccupied with what they will have to do. But if you've seen the body language of Mashrafe, apart from everyone else, who is the most positive and enthusiastic sportsman in the team, you must see the team's morale is totally broken. Players are under immense pressure from within the management. The BCB chief himself has commented on few players by name like a common fan and promised recasting of the whole team in the middle of a tournament. The chief selector, no doubt, in his previous tenure with Dav Whatmore, built the very nidus of present BD team but being too ambitious this time...

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2014, 21:39 GMT

    @ Nasim_Ahmed, how BCB and chief selector has got anything to do with such horrid on-field performances. The captain had issues with couple of players and I don't understand why he made such a big fuss about it. Instead of bitching, Mushfiq should come out strong and play hard cricket. Beside why Mushfiq persists with Mahmadulla; I think Mahmudallah is a club level cricketer and shouldn't be in the team in the first place. Its about time we should accept that BD cricketers are mentally weak.

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2014, 18:28 GMT

    1.Tamim 2.Anamul 3. Mominul 4.Shamsur 5.Mushfiq 6. Sakhib 7.Nasir 8. Naeem 9. Shohag 10. Mortaza 11. Al-Amin , better depth in batting and a much safer bet for BD.

  • Nasim on March 28, 2014, 7:10 GMT

    Yesterdays match between England and SriLanka is a perfect example how some negative and unfair outside decision subjecting an enthusiastic team can affect the players psyche immediately. England took a brilliant catch of Mahela, surprisingly denied by the TV umpire. Afterwards England dropped a number of sitters, their strong suit of bowling couldn't show off either. After a successful 2013, Bangladesh team seems completely shattered right from the beginning of 2014- thanks to the exploits of BCB and Chief selector. The combination of XI seems not to matter much now as we can understand from the Tigers' body language. One doth the scath and another hath the scorn. My only message to the Tigers is just play cricket and think cricket, forget about everything else (and please captain, be a little more positive while fielding). We are with you.

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2014, 7:03 GMT

    1.Tamim2.Enamul 3.Sakib 4.Shamsur 5.Mushfique 6.Ziaur 7.Nasir 8.Gazi 9.Mashrafi 10.Al-Amin 11.Sabbir

    Bouler:Mashrafi,Al-Amin,Gazi,Sakib,Ziaur Part Timer:Sabbir,Nasir Batman:Tamim,Enamul,Mushfique,Shamsur ALL-Rounder:Ziaur,Nasir,Sakib,Sabbir,Gazi

  • Suj on March 28, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    Here is another on of them irrational Bangladeshi fans BDTigerz4ever_786! Statements like yours is the reason that fans from countries like Ind, Pak and SL can't stand most of you is because you lot are immensely delusional and extremely disrespectful! It is one thing to be confident. It is another to be brash and arrogant! If your team wins it is a completely different matter. Ind has won heaps when it matters. Pak has won everywhere against everyonel. And SL? Well they make every competition final which they cannot do without being consistent which is not possible without winning. So when their fans boast they have actually got some back up. Past records. Consistent, contemporary performances. Statistics. Consistent game changers and proven match winners like a Dhoni or a Sangakkaara or an Afridi. But when Bangladesh fans do it that too while losing to Afghanistan in an ODI and Hong Kong in a T20 and specially not having won a game against a top 8 in 2014 its just plain ridiculous!

  • Tapa on March 28, 2014, 1:58 GMT

    Replacements are big concern for BD team. T20 bowling verse is keep the ball low and slow. BD bowlers doesn't seems to understand and deliberately get punished by delivering short pitch balls. Among all the seam bowlers only Alamin could make the impression from last 2 matches. Mashrafee and Spin bowler Shohag gazi yet to learn where to pitch their balls to keep it low. Talking about batting Anamul is a performer. Tamim I am sorry but you better not come down the wicket for big short every time. Shakib you bat like no 11th batsman of Australian team with no understanding about the team situation. Mominul you are not for t20 sorry. Sabbir learn how to play over log on-off. Mushi i love your batting. Mahmudullah you are same as Momin. Ziaur, to be in the team you cannot make any mistake and learn how to play shots towards off side too. Rubel if I was coach, I would make you a Malinga cause you have that ability. Nasir enough of styling, play some proper cricket...

  • RAHUL on March 28, 2014, 0:54 GMT

    I think Bangladesh needs Stuart Law as coach again because he brought us into the final in Asia Cup and that was the time when Bangladesh were considered one of the most dangerous teams in cricket.

  • Afzal on March 27, 2014, 21:59 GMT

    To continue my comment, there needs to be accountability from the players, selectors, coaches, and management for their performances. A poor country like Bangladesh can not afford to spend untold amount of money and resources after a game with nothing to show for it. The international quality stadium, grounds they all take tremendous amount of money that the country simply does not have. Players and everyone involved needs to be told about drastic steps will be taken if no consistent improvement. It is not acceptable to win a match or two after losing 20 in a row. No performance, no international cricket "PERIOD"!!! End of story. After all, it is only a game and people's lives are at stake day in and day out in a poor country like ours. The recourses can be better utilized to develop infrastructure than the stadiums and grounds. No more international cricket and give other associate TMs (Afghanistan, Nepal, Netherlands) a chance. Everyone involved in BD cricket needs to wake up!!

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