World Twenty20 2014 April 3, 2014

Bangladesh face tough questions after WT20

Bangladesh's performance in the World T20 brought to the fore limitations of skill, accountability and a deep sense of insecurity

Over the course of the last three weeks, the nation of Bangladesh has shown its love for cricket and cricketers from around the world, and proved that it can manage to hold a World T20 on its own. Its cricketers, however, have sung a different tune.

Their on-field performance has been shoddy and un-host like. They have lost five T20 games on the trot, starting with a loss to an unranked Hong Kong after which they became easy targets in the Super10s. At various times during this drubbing, they have repeatedly said how poor they are, why T20 is not their game, how they are genetically unsuited for big-hitting and that their fans should expect very little from them.

To conduct a thorough analysis of what the Bangladesh players did and said between March 16 and 31, one has to first detach Shakib Al Hasan's recent comments from the equation. His belief that home fans should be deprived of the game for two years to temper their expectations was, according to his TV interview with Sanjay Manjrekar before the Australia game, based largely around some hotel staff's eagerness of wanting their favourite team to win.

Also, the controversy that Shakib created was almost expected, after he had created a similar buzz during the 2011 World Cup and immediately after Bangladesh's exit in the 2012 World T20. Shakib has deflected his own frustration by making these strange comments and it should be left it at that.

The focus, therefore, should firmly be on the team's performances. Most of the Bangladesh players came into the World T20 on the back of two ordinary competitions at home - the series against Sri Lanka and the Asia Cup. The team's morale was at an all-time low after they were beaten by Afghanistan and then lost to Pakistan despite scoring 326 in the Asia Cup.

Bangladesh started their World T20 campaign by crushing Afghanistan and Nepal, but there was hardly any ambition left after they closed in on their goal of confirming a place in the Super 10s. Prior to the World T20, however, statements like, "Even teams like Hong Kong and Nepal could beat us" suggested a deeper problem.

Bangladesh appear to be a one-dimensional team with many cricketers comfortable playing in just one format, mostly ODIs, and being one-directional. They seem easily distracted, whether confronted by a loud appeal or a big controversy. It was natural for them to be scared about their livelihoods as serious questions were raised on Bangladesh's Test status when the ICC revamp position paper was leaked in January. That news admittedly had an impact on the team as they were crushed by Sri Lanka in the first Test.

Like most others, this is also a team that wins only when a number of players perform. When they won two ODI series without Shakib - their best player - against West Indies in 2012 and New Zealand a year later, it was a mark of progress. In the final ODI against New Zealand in November last year, they swept to a 3-0 series win by chasing a 300-plus score without Shakib and Tamim and in spite of Mushfiqur's low score.

But form has deserted many of these new performers, like Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Sohag Gazi and Rubel Hossain, which means that a large chunk of players from the team built over the last 18 months are struggling. Only Anamul Haque and Al-Amin Hossain have shown significant progress as cricketers, particularly the latter who played seven games in the World T20 without much trouble.

Their fielding in every game of the tournament also confirmed that their confidence had hit rock bottom. It wasn't just dropped catches or ground fielding; towards the end, it was either a stunner or bust. Tamim and Ziaur Rahman pulled off three great catches between them but when someone like Nasir dropped catches, it became a statement of how scattered the ranks are.

The players were shell-shocked after being beaten by Hong Kong, having plummeted to a depth they have dreaded all these years. In the second phase of the tournament, as rumours emanated from the dressing room, theories abounded. There is a feeling, with evidence in the form of statements and an outburst by the captain, that new chief selector Faruque Ahmed has got off to a rocky start. It hasn't gone down well with the team management and several players, particularly those who had grown out of the habit of listening to a senior figure within the team or the BCB.

One can be certain that a team which looked aimless after achieving its target of reaching the Super 10s would require a sterner boss somewhere in the chain of command. Given how Bangladesh have reacted to certain situations on the field and how woeful they have been while accepting failure and weakness, it is time for a sense of accountability to be injected into this mercurial team.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 8, 2014, 15:17 GMT

    I think i was wrong bd is too emotional giving the moshfi child to lead and wasting other talents.. truly they need better captain..

  • Mehdi on April 8, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    I think BD chief selector has failed in every corner. After his reassignment in this position BD did not win a single match against quality oppositions. He lost confidence among national level players. Also Mushfiq captaincy in T20 level is questionable. He can not inspire his team as well. Lots of comments in press was also a vital factor regarding concentration among some of the players. I think Mr Farukh should appoint in another position inside board and Mr Akram should regain his duty as a chief selector. To ease of pressure someone should captain BD at least in T20 level.Domestic cricket should play in competitive and quality pitches around the country. some cricket academy is must for BD cricket future.

  • Dummy4 on April 8, 2014, 3:27 GMT

    1. Mushfiq was always my first preference as a captain. But he is proving me wrong. I think now he likes and gives opportunities to some players in the team than others which is dangerous for team cohesiveness. I can see he has less confidence on some players which is lethal for team performance. I wonder how is his performance in the dressing root in recent time. 2. Agree with Mahmood Hasan. Yes, taking Ganguly as a coach will be a good move especially for some players who has rather poor communication skill in English. So, the message will be delivered in Mother Language but from a Foreign coach. He should be cheaper too compared to somebody from ENG/AUS.

  • Dummy4 on April 7, 2014, 19:30 GMT

    comen tiger,,we will win oneday insha proplam,,we r give good fight agin..we wont impore overself need some times,,,

  • M Asaduzzaman on April 7, 2014, 17:06 GMT

    BCB should arrange minimum 4 series for A team each year where they will play 3 FC matches, 5 ODIs and 2 T20s in a series. Current national team coaching staff could handle A team wisely with adding spin bowling coach like Sunil Joshi and fielding coach like Wade Secombe with regular physio and trainer. For national team please bring high quality head coach like Tim Coyle or Tim Nelson and assistant coaches from international background like Graeme Hick as batting coach, Jason Gillespie or Aaqib Javed as fast bowling coach, Saqlain Mushtaq as spin bowling coach and Richard Halsall as fielding coach. Give them maximum allowance, hospitality and salary as they want where BCB have enough money to invest for bring longer and greater success. Lastly, please use Richard McInnes bravely who developed todays Sakib, Tamim, Mushfiq and many more from age level.

  • M Asaduzzaman on April 7, 2014, 16:46 GMT

    BCB should develop infrastructure first like have to revamp NCL and run BPL with handy format. DPL is quiet OK. Every FC teams should hire high quality foreign head coach under BCB as well as assistant coaches, physio and trainer. They should have 2nd XI also where BCB should arrange 2nd XI four day tournament simultaneously. FC teams hospitality , logistic should be high quality like genuine FC team where we are far behind. BCB should care about it strongly. Have to create a system where every team could have been play 2 high quality foreign players on their first XI who has minimum 75 FC matches experience with good records in Australia, England or South African domestic circuit only or retired international top quality players. Also BCB must should run A team, Development team and Academy team activities regularly.

  • Fahad on April 7, 2014, 13:49 GMT

    I'm tired of seeing superstars with 1 hundred followed by 5 ducks. That's the general scenario of our team. Let recent average and strike rate dictate batsmen selection, not one performance. Experience counts to nothing if experience fails over and over again.

  • Dummy4 on April 7, 2014, 2:41 GMT

    Keeping aside all the emotions, let's try to get to bottom of this situation BD is in now. 1. Can't we hire a world class coach like we had before ? (Dav whatmore) 2. Re-structure the local cricket focusing specific formats (test, ODI, T20). 3. Setup world class cricket coaching centers. 4. Nurture young talents (like Taskin) 5. Find the reason why BD team's average age is 22/23 for last 7/8 years? 6. Create Fast/bouncy tracks.7. Why BD players lose their form after couple of years (specifically after getting married)? 8. Is there any internal politics going within the team? 9. How come all the BD spinners under performed in such good spinning condiiton?10. Run pacer hunt program through out the country regularly.

  • BIPUL KUMAR on April 6, 2014, 17:55 GMT

    Tamim should change his style & bat at no 3 in all format for his revival . limited over team of bangladesh should be Anamul(wk) ,Shamsur ,Tamim , Mominul , Shakib , Nasir , Sabbir , Taijul , Taskin , Al amin, + a bowler ..... Test team of bangladesh should be Shamsur ,Kayes ,Tamim , Mominul , Mushfiq , Shakib , Anamul (wk) , Taijul + Al amin+ 2 bowlers ...

  • Akram on April 5, 2014, 20:34 GMT

    The Prime minster should intervene to save Bangladesh cricket. First step, fire Lotus and bring new faces in the board. Players like Atar Ali Khan, Pilot, and Chacha(Sujon) should be in the selection team. I think hiring Ganguly is a terrible idea. I would settle for a couch like Dav Wathmore. Also, the board should give the coach more freedom in selecting players. Long live Bangladesh cricket's test status...

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