No cricket at home for two years - Shakib
Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan has suggested that the side should not play any home games for two years to help reduce expectations from cricket fans in the country.
In an interview with a local newspaper, Shakib stated the factors that had resulted in Bangladesh's poor performance in the World T20 and said the pressure from fans, the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the media had created an environment where the players stopped thinking about the team and focused on looking after themselves. He also voiced concerns about the country's lack of talent, cricket infrastructure and coaching.
"People's expectations, the journalists' reporting…board's pressure," Shakib said in an interview to Prothom Alo when asked about reasons for the recent failure. "Players get puzzled under these pressures. It becomes difficult to believe in ourselves. When a player thinks that he will get dropped by playing poorly, he stops thinking about the team and only thinks about his game. When four-five players are thinking like this, the rest follow. Coach, captain and players cannot function properly.
"It would be best to play outside the country. There should not be any cricket at home for two years. The expectations of home fans will go down, which will be very good. We should understand how much we expect from the team. When we will produce players of that level, there can be higher expectations. But we don't have good players in the pipeline, neither is the domestic cricket of a good standard. Our practice facilities are not good and we don't have a world-class coaching staff."
Shakib, who is the joint leading wicket-taker for Bangladesh in this World T20, said his performance against Hong Kong in the first round had helped the side qualify for the Super 10. In Bangladesh's final match of the first round, Shakib top-scored with 34 before the side was all out for 108. He then opened the bowling and sent down four overs with returns of 3 for 9 that helped the side progress to the second round on net run rate, in spite of a defeat to Hong Kong.
"I did quite well in the first three matches. I don't know how people will take this, but I sometimes feel that had I not taken three wickets and scored 34 runs against Hong Kong, we wouldn't be playing in the Super 10s. I wasn't consistent, didn't do well in two matches. It can happen in T20s. I am not the sort of bowler who can take five wickets.
"I was never this type of bowler, never have been and never will be. I am not a match-winning bowler like Saeed Ajmal or Sunil Narine. I can bowl a good over when the team needs but I cannot guarantee a wicket. We have one match left [against Australia]. If we can finish well, we will think it was a good World T20."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here