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Russell Domingo wants Bangladesh to lift ODI scoring rates in search for overseas success

Head coach wants "one or two big away wins" to bolster his side's confidence

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Bangladesh have lost five out of seven away ODI series since April 2015  •  AFP/Getty Images

Bangladesh have lost five out of seven away ODI series since April 2015  •  AFP/Getty Images

Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo believes that the next step for his team should be to find success overseas. He wants them to adjust their strategies, particularly their scoring pattern, to foreign conditions and start by winning "one or two big games".
"The big challenge for this ODI team is to try to win away from home under different conditions," Domingo told ESPNcricinfo. "They are a very good team in Bangladesh. I think if we can get that confidence going away from home, it will be a big thing. I think playing away from home, we need to win one or two big games. Once you get the confidence and belief that you can do it, that will put the team in a much better place mentally."
Bangladesh's recent 2-1 win over Sri Lanka was their tenth ODI series win at home out of the last 11 such engagements going back to 2015. However, the picture is very different when playing ODIs - perhaps their favourite format - away from home. They have the best win-loss ratio at home since April 2015 (minimum 20 ODIs played), but among the worst away win-loss ratios in the same period. This, a result of Bangladesh having lost five out of seven away ODI series in this period, their only win coming against West Indies in 2018 after tying the series against Sri Lanka the previous year.
Domingo wants all-round improvement in skills to win outside of Bangladesh more consistently. "There's a certain bit of up-skilling that needs to take place with bat and ball," he said. "People need to improve in various departments to make sure they can win some games away from home. This team has won away from home in other conditions but to challenge them to win in those conditions is something that the team needs to embrace and take it forward."
Top among Domingo's priorities would be improving his side's scoring rate. Bangladesh have an average of 238 runs in the 38 ODIs at home since April 2015, which goes up to 248 at a run rate of 5.68 in their 29 wins. There is a marginal difference in their average scoring away from home, with the figure going up to 241, but when they win abroad, that shoots up to 269 runs at a run rate of 6.13. Thus, Domingo says, Bangladesh must look to score 300-plus regularly to be at par with the teams ranked above them in ODIs.
"I am not at all concerned by the number of runs we are scoring in Dhaka," he says. "You can only score as much as the wickets allow you sometimes. Not many times teams get 300 in Dhaka. Definitely when you are playing away from home, 230s or 240s are not going to win you many games. We have to be able to challenge ourselves, play expansively to get up to 300 and 350. It is of paramount importance in the modern game."
To get to those scores, Bangladesh would need to change their approach. Their over-reliance on the four senior batters - Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah - remains unsustainable in any conditions; particularly when playing abroad, 300-plus can't be managed by relying on just this quartet every game.
Liton Das was recently dropped for the third ODI against Sri Lanka after averaging 12.62 in his last eight innings, while both Soumya Sarkar and Mohammad Mithun haven't been consistent in the last three years either. Also during the ODIs against Sri Lanka, Mosaddek Hossain and Afif Hossain couldn't capitalise on opportunities. However, Domingo isn't giving up on any of them and has instead appealed for patience.
"The younger players have shown some glimpses and positive signs, but it would be good to see them perform a bit more consistently," he said. "A guy like Afif has only played three [four] ODIs, so it is very hard to judge. You have to be patient with them, and they can learn a lot from the older players. I hate to put them under severe scrutiny and pressure. They are trying to find their feet at this level."
Domingo said while the current group of senior batters in the side are, as a bunch, at par with some of the best batting groups in the world, even those four accomplished batters took a bit of time to get accustomed to international cricket.
"Obviously, it would be great if they started producing runs in every single game," he added. "All teams rely heavily on their senior players to perform. India has Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli. England has [Joe] Root, [Jos] Buttler and [Ben] Stokes who are big players. The responsibility comes with the older players.
"If you go through examples, you think so many of our big-game players like Tamim, Mushfiq [Rahim] and Shakib, they also took a bit of time initially to find their feet in international cricket. Some of the wickets in Dhaka are not easy for batting. It has taken Mushfiq and Shakib a little bit of time to figure out what's the best way to play in these conditions."
On the upside, Bangladesh's bowling has improved, with three other bowlers - Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mustafizur Rahman and Taskin Ahmed - now giving Shakib the support he needs. Mehidy, among the younger and the lesser-experienced lot, just climbed to No. 2 in the ICC ODI bowling rankings.
"I am really pleased for Mehidy. He is getting recognised for his consistent performances," Domingo said. "He is a wonderful team guy. He always has a smile on his face. He is willing to do whatever it takes to put the team in a better position."
Bangladesh's next ODI assignment will be against Zimbabwe, where they will be playing three ODIs in July. The Harare Sports Club, the venue of those matches, has an average score of 201 batting first, thus requiring a different type of adjustment for the side. After Zimbabwe, they also face England, Afghanistan, South Africa and Ireland in their remaining ICC ODI Super League matches, sides that would again test them differently.
Hoping to consistently successfully defend around 240 against teams such as these, or being given targets of around 250, seems increasingly outdated thinking. They have done really well to become a huge threat at home but, to be counted among the global game's top sides, Bangladesh must look to bolder strategies on foreign shores.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84