Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza has said that their World Cup preparation has amounted to nothing after going down to Ireland by four wickets in Sydney on Thursday. He questioned the players' approach towards the practice matches, having lost all four since arriving in Australia on January 26.
Mashrafe called his side "inconsistent" and felt that some players did not take the matches seriously enough to bring positive results. He believed that they had enough time to become fitter and mentally tuned to what lies ahead in the main event.
"In terms of results, we are on zero," Mashrafe said. "We were practising to get acclimatised here but we haven't been able to show our level of preparation. We couldn't win despite playing well against Pakistan. We did very badly against Ireland. We are very inconsistent. I felt that though we trained very carefully and everyone got enough information about the sort of wicket they would face, but we haven't executed properly.
The BCB had arranged for a two-week training camp in Brisbane for adaptating to the conditions early. The camp included two practice matches against Cricket Australia XI on February 3 and 5, both of which Bangladesh lost. They followed that by by losing both their warm-up matches in Sydney, to Pakistan and Ireland.
Bangladesh batted first in all four matches but could not bat out the 50 overs and did not cross the 250-run mark in any of the games. While there were at least half-centuries in the first three games, there were none against Ireland, who bowled them out for 189 runs.
"I can't sit here and say that our morale isn't shaken. To be honest, if we believe in our purpose, we can do good things," Mashrafe said. "But who amongst us took these two practice matches seriously is my real concern. Even if they took it seriously, they couldn't execute the plans. If we perform in this vein, it will definitely have an impact in the important matches up ahead. I think we will be better prepared mentally and physically in the main matches. We have five-six days ahead of us. We can't change our skills during this short time but we have to be mentally and physically ready."
Mashrafe said that the defeats don't bode well for the team but could turn into motivation if taken in the right spirit. He said that their batting performance against Pakistan pleased him, but the one against Ireland showed that the team is not mentally geared up.
"It would have been much better had we won any one of the practice matches," he said. "It is not a good sign for our team, but I believe that we can turn around. I hope these defeats have hurt everyone in the team. It should. In which case, good results are a matter of time.
"I was personally quite happy that we had made 240-odd against Pakistan's bowling attack. We have the ability, no doubt about it. But we haven't been able to prepare mentally. If we can't settle down mentally, we will suffer badly."
Bangladesh's preparations ahead of the World Cup have been up for debate ever since it was decided that they would not play any international cricket after wrapping up the 5-0 ODI series win over Zimbabwe on December 1. Apart from Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, all the other World Cup teams played at least two ODIs during this period. Many players, and the coach Chandika Hathurusingha, said that the scheduling would work for the team.
When asked what the team management was particularly looking for in the practice matches, Mashrafe replied that it was to gauge how well the newcomers have adapted to Australian conditions during this short time. He maintained that regular players will bat or bowl in their customary roles, though before selecting the team for the Afghanistan game on February 18, he would like to have a closer look at the Manuka Oval pitch.
"The specific view point was to see how everyone has progressed," he said. "We have a lot of new players, so we had to see how they would cope in these conditions. Taskin [Ahmed] and Al-Amin [Hossain] took the new ball today because they may be required to bowl that early in some stage of the tournament. We shuffled the batting order too, to see how a batsman would react to different situations.
"Those who have regularly played in a certain position or role will continue to do so. Right combination is important to know which playing XI will take the field in a certain match. But we can't say anything without seeing the wicket. We heard that it will be flat in Canberra. We are seeing different wickets in Brisbane and here in Sydney."