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Mohammad Isam in Bulawayo
August 21, 2011
The Bulawayo defeats were not the finale that Alan Butcher and Brendan Taylor would have wanted to mark Zimbabwe's second-coming to international cricket, though the overall 3-2 victory no doubt pleased both players and fans. Zimbabwe may have secured the series even before the teams made the five-hour trip south from Harare, but the two losses at the Queens Sports Club would have stung.
While the biggest crowd of the series built up through the morning, Shakib Al Hasan was busy building a competitive total for Bangladesh. Naturally, there was some discontent later in the day as the home side was rolled over for 160.
No, Zimbabwe weren't complacent, coach Butcher made clear up front. "We weren't on holiday," he said. "Bangladesh came back and played well in the third match in Harare. We knew from playing against them in the past that they had more to offer than they showed in the first two games."
Man-of-the-Series Brian Vitori's absence due to injury, Butcher said, made quite a difference. "Brian Vitori bowled magnificently in the first two games and tore their batting apart. He wasn't very successful in the third game and missed the last two with a niggle."
Butcher also said Bangladesh may have underestimated the hosts early on in the series. "They may have been complacent, thinking they would roll us over and then before they knew it, they lost the series. I am disappointed to lose the last two games [though], it has taken a bit of the gloss off."
With Zimbabwe set to host Pakistan for one Test, three ODIs and two Twenty20s in September, Butcher said the side needed to look at what's worked for them in this series and use that knowledge to improve further. "There are still things we need to work on to keep moving forward. We played as a collective unit. There have been a few outstanding performances, of course Brian Vitori and the experienced players contributing in most games."
Stuart Law, Bangladesh's newly-appointed coach, said it was time to review the way things worked in Bangladesh cricket. "I understand Bangladesh are very passionate about their cricket. They do things differently and I think sometimes it might not be to the benefit of the cricket team," he said. "What's happened over the years obviously hasn't worked, because Bangladesh hasn't lifted off the bottom [of the rankings].
"I know I'm going to upset a lot of people when I mention these things, but if we really think hard about it, a lot of things have got to change. Not just from the players' side, but from all walks of life relating to Bangladesh cricket. It's not a negative or harsh thing to try something different to make the boys better and start climbing that ladder."
Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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