Bangladesh in Zimbabwe 2013-14 April 4, 2013

Selectors need progress to continue

21

Bangladesh's selection committee will complete a full circle when they announce the Test team on Friday that will take on Zimbabwe in two Tests later this month.

The three-member panel that began its reign exactly two years ago, had their first assignment to pick a team for the previous Zimbabwe tour, but this time the challenges are more perceptible rather than being routine.

Much of the injury trouble has disappeared as Shakib Al Hasan is being readied for the tour and the recovery of Enamul Haque jnr, Shahriar Nafees and Naeem Islam now complete. Tamim Iqbal, who fractured his thumb during the first ODI against Sri Lanka, could also feature as early as the first Test against Zimbabwe. The only worry is Mashrafe Mortaza whose Test claims were shelved after he could not recuperate from a heel injury, but he is likely to make the ODI squad.

All this is as much good news for the selection committee as it is a challenge. They have several options to pick from and whichever way they go, be it continuing with the incumbent squad of players or bringing back experienced players, they will have to back their decision to the hilt.

There will be no other way for Akram, Minhazul Abedin and Habibul Bashar, all former Bangladesh captains. A tour to Zimbabwe has been traditionally a challenge that had the allure of a positive outcome. It was the same two years ago, but Bangladesh lost and that possibly made the selectors time in office a lot harder as they started their job with defeat.

The Bangladesh team that lost the one-off Test was a team that was supposed to be in transition after the 2011 World Cup campaign. Instead, the losses in the Test and ODI series in Zimbabwe forced a drastic re-think in leadership while the team combination went through several changes, some of which were necessary, while many have been reactionary.

As they complete selection for their second series against Zimbabwe during their reign, the selectors are facing a similar challenge as they did in April 2011, but this time with a history of small discretions along the way, which is adding to their expectation. In other words, a series win beckons and with a sense of anticipation that is a few times more than the last series against the same team.

Their inability to find a proper set of pace bowlers has been a big disappointment. They have gone through six so far, none of whom got more than eleven wickets in Tests in the last two years. Injuries have also hurt their chances of forging a settled combination but their handling of these pace bowlers' preparation has been quite poor. The constant excuse that these pace bowlers have used is the lack of bowling in longer games, which is a decision taken mainly by the selectors, who are caught between giving them enough bowling in domestic matches but mindful of using them in Test cricket.

What has resulted is half-fit and poorly prepared pace bowlers relying on a defensive line and length and often without the accuracy of first-class bowlers. They have also made an error in judgment by not looking past Shahadat Hossain and using Robiul Islam as just a Test match bowler. Abul Hasan is another who is falling into the trap of less bowling and more mollycoddling, and it has resulted in his on-field performance and his continuous helplessness after a good first spell.

What is on the selectors' side is the settled look of the overall batting order. Their continuous chop and change to find Tamim Iqbal's opening partner is a factor held against them. But the middle-order hasn't seen too many upheavals and this has been one of their achievements.

The selectors too have been a settled line-up for the last two years, another notch on their belt. But as far as a lower-ranked team like Bangladesh is concerned, they haven't actually brought on many rare talents and backed them. Sohag Gazi was only an option against left-handed batsmen from West Indies, but the offspinner has exceeded that expectation from the selectors. Nasir Hossain, Anamul Haque and Mominul Haque are batsmen who "selected themselves" as one chief selector liked to say frequently.

They have given eight debuts each in Tests, ODIs and Twenty20s so far and of them, players like Suhrawadi Shuvo, Nazimuddin and Shuvogoto Hom have already faded away from national contention.

All of these negatives and positives will be weighed against Akram and his colleagues if a result other than a series win happens in Zimbabwe. With the World Cup two years away, it would not be wise to put them under more pressure because that would translate into pressure on the players, which should hardly be the case given how rapidly the team has developed in the last two years.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SyedAreYouDumb on April 5, 2013, 0:13 GMT

    This is an excellent pre-analysis of the team before Zimbabwe tour. Once again the fast bowling issue pops up. Adjust the wickets in domestic to seam friendly conditions that provide no turn, set up a pace bowling academy/pacehunting or and/or send them to foreign pacebowling academies that have worldclass pacebowling coaches/ex-international that oversee pace bowlers. Also want to see how our batting lineup plays against top teams bowling attacks in their conditions... but no doubt this is the best Bangladesh team yet....

  • The_Ashes on April 4, 2013, 23:23 GMT

    I think Enamul Haque jr should play so Shakib don't have to bowl 20+ overs and can concentrate more on his batting and less injuries if you know what I mean. If Tamim is fit then I think this 11 is the best for the test series:- Tamim, Shahriar, Ashraful, Rahim, Shakib, Nasir, Mahmudullah, Gazi, Enamul, Abul and Robiul...reserves...Naeem, Mominul, Rubel, Shafiul and Marshall. There's no need of Bangladesh to play 3 seamers for a test match because we hardly have top quality pacers so Bangladesh should just play to their strengths for once and go with spinners. Zimbabwe struggles against spin and neither have good spinners themselves. We need to win both the test and one-day series and anything less is a real disappointment.

  • Black_Prince on April 4, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    Good article. BUT It hurts me to say other than seeing few glimpse of brilliance in BD pace bowling in ODIs, there hasn't been any kind of sign to say BD pacers have learnt or learning the art. My question is what do the BD fast bowlers do when they go to the nets? Are they focused on Pace, swing/seam, length, accuracy or control? Its bit frustrating to see when every time we watch a Bangladesh match the BD pacers can't hold their end, they ball 3 to 4 overs and that is it. Then the pressure falls into the spinners and the all-round spinners. Also it feels like BD pacers don't read the game. They just come and throw the ball. Not realizing it's a privilege to be playing for your country. This might be bit harsh, but the reality is BD pacers are pulling the rest of the team down. BD batsmen are improving day by day, and there lot of talent coming up. Same goes for the BD spinners.

  • simbah89 on April 5, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    As much as the bangladesh team played well against a top side team like sri lanka, they will have their work cut out because of the pitches that have been made in zimbabwe.the seamers should be on the money because all i could see from harare yesterday was the poduction of a green fast bouncy lively pitch, totally different from Sri lankan Conditions....in form test bowler Kyle Jarvis will have a thing or 2 to work with definately, i am not sure about Shahadat tho

  • Rafelgibt on April 5, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    Good to see that all of our regular players are becoming fit for the ZIM tour.This is really a prestigious tour for us as both ZIM (Condition wise favorite) and BAN (Team wise favorite) are equally balanced team to compete each other.Im really happy for the overall progress of my team.Only problem for us the PACE bowling department.We must go for a 'out of box' theory.As Shahdat and Abul Hasan are proving failure then why not we try for few of our old guns like-Tapash Baisya,Sanjamul Islam,Rasel etc.The way Shahdat and Abul bowled it would be really difficult for mentioned bowlers to bowl worse than them.So, i think they should consider for a yet another GO.Roar Tigers Roar>>>

  • on April 5, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    I think this selector can not work with out enterfair of Board President or the Mostafa Kamal. We can remember in Asia cup they dropped Tamim, the matter stile going on, I believe. Tashkin is not injured but Akram is laying. He do not want to take him, Abul Hassan stile have chance. He is unfit also. You can count how many over's he bowelled in the test & ODI? Why they did not pick ZIA in the T20? Its rubies, You know this riyad is the worst player of history have Bangladesh ever prudios. He is playing test match as t20, ODI & T20 as a test. We need to drop him.

  • on April 5, 2013, 4:27 GMT

    What happen to Tasking Ahmed - a young talent who lokked real good in BPL?

  • Tanvir2012 on April 5, 2013, 3:58 GMT

    I think they should use some old pacers that they never used for a long time like : Tapash Baisya , Talha Jubair etc . Cause they played lots of first-class cricket in these time & their experience grew . If you see Tapash Baisya's & Talha Jubair's recent first-class records , they're among the wickets . Also add them for test only .

  • Albert_cambell on April 5, 2013, 3:53 GMT

    I hope BD wins this series. If they cant win, call me. I will come there with my street level cricketers. So BD players can improve their averages.

  • Quddus-Mamu on April 5, 2013, 2:12 GMT

    Please do not include Shahadat Hossain in any format of cricket. Include me instead. I'm sure, I can do better than Shahadat Hossain.

  • SyedAreYouDumb on April 5, 2013, 0:13 GMT

    This is an excellent pre-analysis of the team before Zimbabwe tour. Once again the fast bowling issue pops up. Adjust the wickets in domestic to seam friendly conditions that provide no turn, set up a pace bowling academy/pacehunting or and/or send them to foreign pacebowling academies that have worldclass pacebowling coaches/ex-international that oversee pace bowlers. Also want to see how our batting lineup plays against top teams bowling attacks in their conditions... but no doubt this is the best Bangladesh team yet....

  • The_Ashes on April 4, 2013, 23:23 GMT

    I think Enamul Haque jr should play so Shakib don't have to bowl 20+ overs and can concentrate more on his batting and less injuries if you know what I mean. If Tamim is fit then I think this 11 is the best for the test series:- Tamim, Shahriar, Ashraful, Rahim, Shakib, Nasir, Mahmudullah, Gazi, Enamul, Abul and Robiul...reserves...Naeem, Mominul, Rubel, Shafiul and Marshall. There's no need of Bangladesh to play 3 seamers for a test match because we hardly have top quality pacers so Bangladesh should just play to their strengths for once and go with spinners. Zimbabwe struggles against spin and neither have good spinners themselves. We need to win both the test and one-day series and anything less is a real disappointment.

  • Black_Prince on April 4, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    Good article. BUT It hurts me to say other than seeing few glimpse of brilliance in BD pace bowling in ODIs, there hasn't been any kind of sign to say BD pacers have learnt or learning the art. My question is what do the BD fast bowlers do when they go to the nets? Are they focused on Pace, swing/seam, length, accuracy or control? Its bit frustrating to see when every time we watch a Bangladesh match the BD pacers can't hold their end, they ball 3 to 4 overs and that is it. Then the pressure falls into the spinners and the all-round spinners. Also it feels like BD pacers don't read the game. They just come and throw the ball. Not realizing it's a privilege to be playing for your country. This might be bit harsh, but the reality is BD pacers are pulling the rest of the team down. BD batsmen are improving day by day, and there lot of talent coming up. Same goes for the BD spinners.

  • simbah89 on April 5, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    As much as the bangladesh team played well against a top side team like sri lanka, they will have their work cut out because of the pitches that have been made in zimbabwe.the seamers should be on the money because all i could see from harare yesterday was the poduction of a green fast bouncy lively pitch, totally different from Sri lankan Conditions....in form test bowler Kyle Jarvis will have a thing or 2 to work with definately, i am not sure about Shahadat tho

  • Rafelgibt on April 5, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    Good to see that all of our regular players are becoming fit for the ZIM tour.This is really a prestigious tour for us as both ZIM (Condition wise favorite) and BAN (Team wise favorite) are equally balanced team to compete each other.Im really happy for the overall progress of my team.Only problem for us the PACE bowling department.We must go for a 'out of box' theory.As Shahdat and Abul Hasan are proving failure then why not we try for few of our old guns like-Tapash Baisya,Sanjamul Islam,Rasel etc.The way Shahdat and Abul bowled it would be really difficult for mentioned bowlers to bowl worse than them.So, i think they should consider for a yet another GO.Roar Tigers Roar>>>

  • on April 5, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    I think this selector can not work with out enterfair of Board President or the Mostafa Kamal. We can remember in Asia cup they dropped Tamim, the matter stile going on, I believe. Tashkin is not injured but Akram is laying. He do not want to take him, Abul Hassan stile have chance. He is unfit also. You can count how many over's he bowelled in the test & ODI? Why they did not pick ZIA in the T20? Its rubies, You know this riyad is the worst player of history have Bangladesh ever prudios. He is playing test match as t20, ODI & T20 as a test. We need to drop him.

  • on April 5, 2013, 4:27 GMT

    What happen to Tasking Ahmed - a young talent who lokked real good in BPL?

  • Tanvir2012 on April 5, 2013, 3:58 GMT

    I think they should use some old pacers that they never used for a long time like : Tapash Baisya , Talha Jubair etc . Cause they played lots of first-class cricket in these time & their experience grew . If you see Tapash Baisya's & Talha Jubair's recent first-class records , they're among the wickets . Also add them for test only .

  • Albert_cambell on April 5, 2013, 3:53 GMT

    I hope BD wins this series. If they cant win, call me. I will come there with my street level cricketers. So BD players can improve their averages.

  • Quddus-Mamu on April 5, 2013, 2:12 GMT

    Please do not include Shahadat Hossain in any format of cricket. Include me instead. I'm sure, I can do better than Shahadat Hossain.

  • Ramu444 on April 5, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    i think Bangladesh should appoint a world class fast bowling coach like wasim akram or waqar younis only then they can have some decent fast bowlers.

  • on April 4, 2013, 23:59 GMT

    I agree with all of those here who is telling not to pick Shahadat and Rubel. They don't have variation in their bowling and very easy to pick them. I think go for new pacers instead of choosing these two useless bowlers

    Why doesn't BCB appoint new pace bowling coach ASAP?

  • AzAb12754 on April 4, 2013, 23:33 GMT

    I'll laugh if players like Jahurul and Shahadat are picked again despite their horrendous performances for the national team. The major worry for Bangladesh especially since the beginning of 2010 is their bowling which has let us down far too often now. Apart from Shakib, the rest of our bowlers in that period at test level average well over 50 with the ball which is sad. Batting however since the beginning of 2010 at test level has been impressive. Tamim has been averaging 45 with the bat, Shakib 41, Nasir 45, Rahim 40, Naeem 40 etc. I can't see Bangladesh winning 2-0 as we don't have quality bowlers but 1-0 is more realistic in this coming test series. But we have to win all the ODI matches.

  • TheRisingTeam on April 4, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    There's really no need of Mashrafe Mortaza to play in Test matches because we know what easily may happen to him. I prefer if he just plays in limited overs because we have a far realistic chance of winning matches in those formats compared to tests at the moment and it won't spoil the hardwork our batsman and spinners do because Mashrafe is one of the few fast bowlers of Bangladesh that can consistently bowl good line and length and less economical whereas in Test Cricket its much harder to get wickets and high chances of picking up an injury especially for someone like Mashrafe Mortaza. Rotation of fast bowlers is according to me the key for Bangladesh so injuries will be kept to a minimum and NO more Shahadat Hossain please!!!

  • on April 4, 2013, 21:54 GMT

    To solve the fast bowler problem I'd recommend them starting with Sajidul and Robiul (if Nazmul is still injured, the others are just crap) and we must not forget Marshall either. I'd say we need to give Mahmudullah rest for the Test series only and replace him with Marshall in the XI. Tamim, Jahurul/Ashraful, Marshall, Shakib, Mushfiq, Nasir, Mominul, Sohag, Enamul Jr., Robiul, Nazmul/Sajidul

  • Fareen on April 4, 2013, 20:30 GMT

    Talking of pace bowlers, did anyone think of Syed Rasel? I know he's a medium pacer, but rubel and abul got pace but that didn't take them anywhere. I seriously think either Sajidul or Rasel (or both) should be included in the squad. And it's absolutely wonderful to see Shakib, Enamul and shafiul back to full fitness. If we can play to our potential, we will win.

  • asiacricket1234 on April 4, 2013, 19:30 GMT

    Shafi selecting Talha would be big mistake bcz he is just as bad as Shahadat. Shahadat sometime manage to bowl economically in national league but Talha cant even do that. |Sajedul will be a good choice. I cant believe that we have 7 division team and we cant pick two good pace bowler :(. This is shocking. BCB hired Saqline to improve our spin bowling which is indeed a good decision but why don't they hire someone to help fast bowler?

  • shafi ahmed on April 4, 2013, 18:41 GMT

    if pace is the problem, then select sajedul or talha jubair but no more shahadat or rubel

  • hasib9 on April 4, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    15 men squad for test: Tamim, Nafees, Mushfiq, Mahmudullah, Nasir, Shakib, Mominul, Ashraful, Gazi, Razzak, Enamul jnr., Nazmul, Shafiul, Abul, Anamul/Naeem. For ODIs & T20s: Zia for Abul, Musharraf for Naeem. Most of the team is settled, good to see.

  • TigersCanKill on April 4, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    I know this is not the right place to write this but I can't help myself. Can someone please tell me why in the world Shahadat Hossain or Rubel Hossain was selected over Ziaur Rahman in the last T20 match with Sri Lanka? I found no reports of Ziaur Rahman being injured or anything like that, then WHY? I believe, we, the BD supporters deserve an explanation from the selection committee about this.

  • TigersCanKill on April 4, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    Selectors, we beg you not to include Shahadat Hossain and Rubel Hossain in this Zimbabwe tour; not even in the primary squad. Please go for new faces if everyone else (like Mashrafe Mortaza, Ziaur Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Abul Hasan etc.) is injured or if needed, go for all spinners and no pacer.

  • TigersCanKill on April 4, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    Selectors, we beg you not to include Shahadat Hossain and Rubel Hossain in this Zimbabwe tour; not even in the primary squad. Please go for new faces if everyone else (like Mashrafe Mortaza, Ziaur Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Abul Hasan etc.) is injured or if needed, go for all spinners and no pacer.

  • TigersCanKill on April 4, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    I know this is not the right place to write this but I can't help myself. Can someone please tell me why in the world Shahadat Hossain or Rubel Hossain was selected over Ziaur Rahman in the last T20 match with Sri Lanka? I found no reports of Ziaur Rahman being injured or anything like that, then WHY? I believe, we, the BD supporters deserve an explanation from the selection committee about this.

  • hasib9 on April 4, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    15 men squad for test: Tamim, Nafees, Mushfiq, Mahmudullah, Nasir, Shakib, Mominul, Ashraful, Gazi, Razzak, Enamul jnr., Nazmul, Shafiul, Abul, Anamul/Naeem. For ODIs & T20s: Zia for Abul, Musharraf for Naeem. Most of the team is settled, good to see.

  • shafi ahmed on April 4, 2013, 18:41 GMT

    if pace is the problem, then select sajedul or talha jubair but no more shahadat or rubel

  • asiacricket1234 on April 4, 2013, 19:30 GMT

    Shafi selecting Talha would be big mistake bcz he is just as bad as Shahadat. Shahadat sometime manage to bowl economically in national league but Talha cant even do that. |Sajedul will be a good choice. I cant believe that we have 7 division team and we cant pick two good pace bowler :(. This is shocking. BCB hired Saqline to improve our spin bowling which is indeed a good decision but why don't they hire someone to help fast bowler?

  • Fareen on April 4, 2013, 20:30 GMT

    Talking of pace bowlers, did anyone think of Syed Rasel? I know he's a medium pacer, but rubel and abul got pace but that didn't take them anywhere. I seriously think either Sajidul or Rasel (or both) should be included in the squad. And it's absolutely wonderful to see Shakib, Enamul and shafiul back to full fitness. If we can play to our potential, we will win.

  • on April 4, 2013, 21:54 GMT

    To solve the fast bowler problem I'd recommend them starting with Sajidul and Robiul (if Nazmul is still injured, the others are just crap) and we must not forget Marshall either. I'd say we need to give Mahmudullah rest for the Test series only and replace him with Marshall in the XI. Tamim, Jahurul/Ashraful, Marshall, Shakib, Mushfiq, Nasir, Mominul, Sohag, Enamul Jr., Robiul, Nazmul/Sajidul

  • TheRisingTeam on April 4, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    There's really no need of Mashrafe Mortaza to play in Test matches because we know what easily may happen to him. I prefer if he just plays in limited overs because we have a far realistic chance of winning matches in those formats compared to tests at the moment and it won't spoil the hardwork our batsman and spinners do because Mashrafe is one of the few fast bowlers of Bangladesh that can consistently bowl good line and length and less economical whereas in Test Cricket its much harder to get wickets and high chances of picking up an injury especially for someone like Mashrafe Mortaza. Rotation of fast bowlers is according to me the key for Bangladesh so injuries will be kept to a minimum and NO more Shahadat Hossain please!!!

  • AzAb12754 on April 4, 2013, 23:33 GMT

    I'll laugh if players like Jahurul and Shahadat are picked again despite their horrendous performances for the national team. The major worry for Bangladesh especially since the beginning of 2010 is their bowling which has let us down far too often now. Apart from Shakib, the rest of our bowlers in that period at test level average well over 50 with the ball which is sad. Batting however since the beginning of 2010 at test level has been impressive. Tamim has been averaging 45 with the bat, Shakib 41, Nasir 45, Rahim 40, Naeem 40 etc. I can't see Bangladesh winning 2-0 as we don't have quality bowlers but 1-0 is more realistic in this coming test series. But we have to win all the ODI matches.

  • on April 4, 2013, 23:59 GMT

    I agree with all of those here who is telling not to pick Shahadat and Rubel. They don't have variation in their bowling and very easy to pick them. I think go for new pacers instead of choosing these two useless bowlers

    Why doesn't BCB appoint new pace bowling coach ASAP?