Zimbabwe v Bangladesh, Only Test, Harare, 5th day August 8, 2011

Bangladesh pay the price for lack of preparation

75

As the Zimbabweans celebrated their historic victory with champagne-soaked joy at the post-match presentation ceremony, the Bangladesh players stood still for a while, watching the revelry. It was a poignant moment as the group seemed collectively lost in thought, pondering their lost opportunities.

If the team's mindset in recent years is taken into account, however, it could well be that their thoughts are already of the backlash that awaits. A 130-run loss at the hands of Zimbabwe, a team that they have dominated regularly for the past six years, will not be easy to accept and the visitors will be keen to make amends.

From the wreckage of this match, two miserable batting performances stare back at every Bangladesh cricketer, coach, fan and administrator. A relatively experienced Bangladeshi batting line-up should have been able to give an impressive account of themselves against a bowling attack that has played a combined 31 Tests, and what transpired on a batting-friendly Harare Sports Club wicket should be considered a travesty.

The inadequacy of the Bangladesh's preparation and the botched first-class system back home has as much to do with the loss as the batsmen's lack of footwork against Brian Vitori or their inability to convert a start into a hundred. It also didn't help that they hadn't played a Test for 14 months, and in that regard the fault lies squarely with the Bangladesh Cricket Board.

The emphasis on one-dayers as preparation for the World Cup has come back to bite them. The BCB happily agreed to host New Zealand for only one-day matches in October last year and shut down the first-class competition. Though Bangladesh stormed to a 4-0 series win, the magnitude of their win hasn't translated into long-term consistency.

Instead, it has exposed the fact that the Board's priorities lie almost entirely in Dhaka's club cricket. By lessening the importance of domestic first-class cricket - a format in which thethe likes of Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes and Rubel Hossain have rarely appear last 3 to 4 years, they sowed the seeds of this defeat.

The aforementioned players, and some of the others, also haven't done themselves any favours by losing concentration after they were set and batting with an artificial sense of confidence on their 'own game'. In the first innings, Shahriar Nafees rode his luck one too many times and got out on 50. Mohammad Ashraful valued his wicket for a change, but not for more than 73 runs, and Shakib Al Hasan's forceful advances had him gambling on the Zimbabwean bowlers' lengths; a bet that he lost.

"There's a lot of talk going on. It's time to stop talking and put them into action," said Stuart Law, Bangladesh's new coach. "Everything was discussed but if you can't back the talk with actions, you look stupid."

Law may or may not have been referring to Tamim's strut at the press conference on Sunday, which would have looked better had he not got out in slightly brainless fashion to Christopher Mpofu and was a thwarted attempt at brinkmanship.

Shakib, too, batted poorly and he admitted it wasn't the right approach. "We never thought of drawing the Test match, of defending and spending time at the crease," he said. "We thought of winning the game. I thought I played some shots which were too early in the innings. I shouldn't have played those shots.

"I don't know if this is the most disappointing day for us or not, but it is disappointing to lose a cricket match, especially in this situation against them. Taking nothing away from [the opposition], they were disciplined. They outplayed us in both departments," he said.

"Maybe it is because we haven't played longer-version cricket for a long time. Although we played some practice game and three-day game, actually it didn't help us to get the Test match feeling."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sailav on August 11, 2011, 14:06 GMT

    @ Al Dave, Acquire Minimum Knowledge Before Commenting About Cricket, From September 2006- Present Bangladesh & Zimbabwe Contested In 28 ODI's. & Of Them Bangladesh Won 22 & Zimbabwe won 6. So, See Yourself That Bangladesh Dominated Zimbabwe or not ? FYI At That Point Of Time Zimbabwe Wasn't Playing Test Cricket. & The Only Time These Two Teams Played In a T20 International Bangladesh Thrashed Zimbabwe By a Big Margin. Add To Broaden Your Cricketing Knowledge In This Series Bangladesh is Missing Their Two Premier Bowlers In Mortaza & Sahadat through Injuries.

  • dummy4fb on August 11, 2011, 10:59 GMT

    Zim won & all credits to them. BD paid their price already not really being prepare for a TEST cricket.

    may b BD is a bit 'hyped' but not much. and also who made them 'hyped' blame them. and so many of u the commenters, r u really think of urselves as cricket fans or just simply BD haters. i guess u r the later. this is all bcoz of BD made India slipped out of WC2007 & conceded a series win in WI. its all better not to bash BD cricket. rather oiling your own machines. bashing doesnt bring anything fancy for any of u guyz.

    BTW ... see ENG v IND matches. and understand what really 'hyp' means.

  • UKDarinda on August 11, 2011, 10:29 GMT

    @Alex Olson: I totally agree with you mate. If you don't perform, then you don't belong. BD bust improve, otherwise they should give their Test Status up voluntarily. If the team think that individual making few runs such Razzak did in the 2nd Inning make them Test players, then they definately should go.

    Probably T20 is the only format they're fit for, the team brought shame to us fans by bad mouthing and talking so big, whereby, in the field, they're just failures.

    Shakib and Tamim, if you want to retain some dignity, then ensure that you play good cricket in ODI's, not just swinging your bats on every ball. A 5 year old kid can do that. Bring some dignity back to our beloved Bangladesh.

  • Ahsan_Shere on August 11, 2011, 2:07 GMT

    You can't say they lack preparation at-least Tamim was prepared for interview talks!!!!

  • dummy4fb on August 11, 2011, 1:30 GMT

    If ICC was smart they would have never been given test status 11 years ago to begin with, but now ICC must give them a warning if they don't step up their game their test status will be revoked. Same goes for Zimbabwe but Zimbabwe won their first test after returning from exile after 6 years so they have definitely improved, but if BD don't improve and actually win or draw tests then their test status should definitely go.

  • dummy4fb on August 10, 2011, 17:56 GMT

    U see, people rate Tamim Iqbal too highly. Being a swashbuckling foolhardy against England to bag up some centuries-about which only he would care- is one thing, and making an effort in a match which really mattered in a patient 'Rahul Dravid'-way is completely another phenomenon. I mean, look at those overrated centuries against England which skyrocketed his stardom. He rode his luck and made centuries. Were those by any means patiently bulit-up test innings? Nope. Those centuries gave a world-wide wrong impression about Tamim. He is what he is, a swashbuckling foolhardy. No bowler needs to ball out of his skin to get Tamim's wicket. The bowler might have to be a bit expensive at times, but he/she(!) wouldn't have to think too much.

  • dummy4fb on August 10, 2011, 15:46 GMT

    hahahahahahaha

    Shakib and Tamim should read this........

  • M_Rakibul_Islam on August 10, 2011, 15:38 GMT

    BCB is making huge mistakes. Firstly, it'd failed to turn NCL 4-day in professional level. Secondly, it's emphasizing on Dhaka's Club Cricket. Thirdly, it'll organize a t/20 tournament BPL (copying IPL) without boosting 4day tournament structure. So how anyone can expect a Test win from BD whether opponent is England or Zim? Some people r saying that BD has got enough opportunity & ICC should revoke its test status. That's not d solution. ICC must put pressure on BCB to create NCL 4day fully professional. Money & sponsorship isn't problem here. The main problem is BCB is eager to emphasize on ODIs & t20 only. Zim is doing well due to good first class competition after restructuring Logan Cup 2 years back. BCB must do the same. Otherwise BD will suffer in this decade like Zim had suffered last 7 years.

  • UKDarinda on August 10, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    I hope the BD Players are informed of these comments from all over the world. Also hope they can reflect on these negative comments and make them into positive comments in the future. Hope you Tigers let the bat and ball do the talking and not by your mouth. Best of luck.

  • dummy4fb on August 10, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    Now that BD has lost the Test match, their r nw betting on BD winning the ODIs! Gud luck with that. We'll see.

  • No featured comments at the moment.