Zimbabwe Twenty20 triangular series 2012 June 16, 2012

Bangladesh must show they've learnt how to win

The tri-nation Twenty20 series in Zimbabwe has little context, but for Bangladesh it holds much significance

The tri-nation Twenty20 series involving South Africa, Bangladesh and hosts Zimbabwe is unglamorous, unofficial and a speck in an overcrowded international calendar. It doesn't add to international cricket's overall context in any way. However, for Bangladesh, it holds significance; Mushfiqur Rahim will undoubtedly be hoping to pass one of his tougher tests since taking over the Bangladesh captaincy in September last year.

In his nine months in charge, Mushfiqur has seen more defeats than victories, but the wins he has been a part of in this period of have been dramatic. He won his first game in charge, literally: with four required to win off the last two balls, Mushfiqur lashed West Indies' Ravi Rampaul for a six in front of a packed home crowd. He also engineered Bangladesh's celebrated win against India in the Asia Cup, before seeing his deputy, Mahmudullah, steer the team into the tournament's final in a tense chase against Sri Lanka.

But these victories came out of nowhere, when the form-book listed the opposition as favourites and Bangladesh as the clear underdogs. As we all know, underdogs like being underdogs. They enjoy the spotlight better when it happens to fall on them all of a sudden.

Mushfiqur's first task on this Zimbabwe tour would be to convince his men that they can continue to build on the Asia Cup success. Defeating Zimbabwe and South Africa shouldn't be an alien experience to the same cricketers who were so impressive in their previous international tournament, but this is what has happened in the past. While on television commentary during Bangladesh games, Harsha Bhogle has often raised the question of smaller nations not knowing how to close out contests; essentially they have little knowledge of how to win a game when they are at the doorstep. It is a similar dilemma facing Bangladesh; their ability to sustain their new-found success on the field will be in sharp focus. The expectation would be for the players to think like winners.

The other test for the squad would be to find match-winners from among themselves in the absence of Shakib Al Hasan. Shakib, Bangladesh's main man, is not in the picture for the first time since his international debut six years ago. Mushfiqur has already hinted at picking an extra bowler or batsman (instead of another allrounder) to try to fill the void.

There is also the need for Bangladesh to grasp the intricacies of Twenty20 cricket, both mentality and physicality. The format has evolved rapidly elsewhere, but it has only just caught on commercially in Bangladesh. The inaugural Bangladesh Premier League offered most of this squad ample Twenty20 playing time, helping them gain experience in a format of cricket they have often looked under-prepared for.

Besides, it's the chance for several fringe players to impress. For someone like allrounder Ziaur Rahman, this tournament could do wonders for a fledging career. Having evolved into a batting allrounder after injuring his knee, the little-known 25-year-old has long been earmarked as a Twenty20 specialist in a country where such cricketers are rarely available. Mushfiqur has suggested that he will get games and possibly move around in the batting order.

Fast bowler Abul Hasan too could stake a claim, with Rubel Hossain and Shafiul Islam out with injuries. The young Anamul Haque, who was the leading run-scorer in this season's domestic first-class competition, is also in the squad. He would have to make do with limited opportunities, but his confident, bright demeanour could come in handy.

Richard Pybus, Bangladesh's new coach, is also on his first assignment with the team and has said that he is pleased to get the chance to assess the team away from their comfort zone. This tour could give him a window into what can be expected over the next two years. As the two practice Twenty20s, which Bangladesh lost to a Zimbabwe XI, have demonstrated, Pybus has a challenge of his own in acquainting the players with the foreign conditions.

The Harare Sports Club seems like the perfect setting for Mushfiqur to earn his next badge of honour as captain. This is where he first found out how good he could be as an international batsman, only to fall short at the very last hurdle; he has since learnt how to close out games. This time, it would be his team-mates who have to show that that Asia Cup showing was a turning point, when they learnt how to win and how put that knowledge to good use, even in what is just an unofficial Twenty20 series.

Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 18, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    Hello Everyone....I m frm Bangladesh....I love cricket and I love my country and also my BD cricket team......Bt it is really true that BD did not learn frm their mistakes and they will never learn....BD has only 2 or 3 very good players like Shakib,Tamim or Razzak bt otherwise they have no world class player....I m sry to say bt that is the ultimate truth.....Plz BD guyz dont get me wrong ...I love my country Bt I think it is HIGH time BD needs to develop...I think they need the right mentality and technique....A world class player can't have a batting average like 25 or 26 only !! :( :( ....I m very disappointed by BD performance :( :(

  • Dummy4 on June 18, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    rk007 so do u mean... tht bd team.. is gonna improve overnight in year 2020...??? well they will reach in a very sound and stable position by then i m sure... and i agree only shakib is a consistent performer of... bd team. and abt this series, if u clearly notice, it not only shakib that we are missing from the games, this t20 team does not include shakib, rubel, shafiul and few more. zia ur rahman, anamul hauqe, ellias sunny, abul hasan and jahurul islam are the new addition and are not part of the team when bd learnt to start winning big matches. they are all fresh blood. so i wouldnt expect bangladesh to win the series with 5 new players in squad. but if they do win, it shows bangladesh's young gun potential.

  • Dummy4 on June 18, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    @Abaa- My dear chap the recent series against England and Australia the Indians were thrashed,out-played,out-thought,out-classed and humiliated to the core.Even Bangladesh in their 10 years of Test status never suffered such humiliation.

  • PV on June 18, 2012, 7:32 GMT

    Shakib is not a player of that kind of reputation to provide rest in such matches.. although at the same time they would have lost these matches even if he would have played.. long road ahead bangladesh.. If you are following example of sri lankan team then you must have world class players like arvinda de silva, jayasurya, ranatunga in the team.. In my view i dont think currently any player including shakib is matching any of those players.. proabably after 2020 we may see a good BD team.. before that i dont see any chance for them to improve..

  • Rana on June 18, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    ...right...let the justification begin...excuses...I know, Bangladesh is force to be reckoned with...

  • Manesh on June 18, 2012, 6:14 GMT

    poor BD. Once again proved that there is only one world class player in that team. sorry BD fans

  • niaz on June 18, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    Only few Bangladeshi batsmen have average more than 30. Sammy, Broad, Irfan Pathan etc can walk in the Bangladesh team as a batsman. Many states or provinces have much better batting than Bangladesh. Zim and Bangladesh have similar strengths. Bangladesh have a better future because of the growing middle class population and a greater fan base. On the brighter side Sakib and Tamim are finding good players in Nasir and Musfique. I would not be surprised if Bangladesh gets overpowered by Zim and then beats India or some other test nations in a ODI or T20. WI seems to be in the bottom of the test nations. they have enough talent to win T20 worldcup. Whether they can do it, its a different story.

  • Suj on June 18, 2012, 4:40 GMT

    @ Sehwag_Is_Ordinary - They never thrashed India and SL! Thrashing is what Bangladesh gets from every country 9 out of 10 games. Even Zimbabwe did it to the T20 games both practice and official to Bangladesh :-P

  • PV on June 18, 2012, 4:00 GMT

    I dont think BD has improved enough in past few years that they win against teams like these.. Few wins over test playing nations like India are always over hyped by cricketing world.. though they have beaten India in asia cup but i dont think this team is improving much.. they are just failing miserably in every department of the game.. even shakib's presence wonk earn them this win.. they have to improve a lot in coming years.. they usually win 1 match in 3-4 years against test playing nations & then keep celebrating that for years.. apart from bangladesh they have to learn the tactics of playing outside too.. even its my personal opinion that they havan't played well enough in Bangladesh too.. 20-20 matches or ODIs is not the solution to grown in world cricket..

  • Dummy4 on June 17, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    every 5 years a comatose bangladesh will show a little life and will then slip into their characteristic insignificance in the world of cricket. the BD fans will bash India as it gives them consolation in the face of pathetic performances. yes they will have a 1 in the TEST RANKING BUT IT WILL HAVE A 0 after the 1.

  • No featured comments at the moment.