Mushfiqur hopes for a better tomorrow
Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bangladesh captain, has been the team's mouthpiece for much of their slump, turning up after pretty much every defeat to sum up how badly they have done, defending a selection or two, and appealing to the fans to stay with the team. He has used the word "alarming" a number of times and expressed exasperation at the dropped catches. Even more worryingly, he has been frank on a few occasions about being a bit lost in trying to find out a way to improve his team.
After yet another insipid performance, one wondered just what else could he say.
Against India, Bangladesh made 40 runs more than they did in the last game (98 all out against West Indies). Anamul Haque made 44, Mahmudullah returned to some form with an unbeaten 33 and Mashrafe Mortaza finished his quota of overs without getting injured. But to post 138 for 7 against India's batting line-up was never enough. The team's senior batsmen Mushfiqur, Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal once again failed to contribute significantly. It has been six games now that the No 3 batting position has hardly put a dent to the team's score.
Bangladesh are virtually out of their home World T20 tournament but Mushfiqur, as he has done since the Sri Lanka ODI series, hoped for a better tomorrow.
"We wanted to start well, but we didn't do it in these two games," Mushfiqur said. "There was a bit of improvement today, but we still have lots of areas to work on. We are playing against top teams, we need to play smarter cricket. Hopefully we will come up with good plans tonight and do better in the next two matches."
Given the lack of good starts from the openers and the continued struggle of the middle-order, Mushfiqur said that there is going to be a shuffling of the batting order in the next match. "Our plan was for Shakib to play at three, and myself at four," he said. "But because Nasir [Hossain] and [Mahmudullah] Riyad were not in good form and Sabbir is a new guy, we didn't want to risk Shakib going in very early and expose the middle and lower-order. Shakib plays his shots and could get out early too. The same could have happened with me. But we are going to think about it again."
On March 26, the BCB president had said the team could undergo changes after the World T20. He didn't elaborate on which areas, but Mushfiqur has made it clear that he won't be leaving the job of captain.
"No one wants to leave the captaincy at a bad time, leaving your responsibility," he said. "I enjoy captaincy, it is a big honour. If we do well, nobody thinks of us. But when we do badly, you have to work and come back to good form. The change is up to the administrators. If they make 20 changes and it helps the team, it is going to be good for the team."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here