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News

'We have to improve in every department to do well in Tests' - Shakib Al Hasan

Bangladesh captain wants to "revive Test culture in the country" and make sure the team starts winning more at home

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
28-Jun-2022
Shakib Al Hasan directs a field change, West Indies vs Bangladesh, 1st Test, Antigua, 2nd day, June 17, 2022

Shakib Al Hasan:' We weren't as tough as we could have been, in terms of showing character in this Test match'  •  AFP/Getty Images

Captain Shakib Al Hasan has said that Bangladesh didn't show enough character against West Indies in the St Lucia Test. West Indies completed a ten-wicket trouncing of the visitors on the rain-interrupted fourth day. Bangladesh, six-down overnight, lasted just over an hour on the day, getting bowled out for 186 to leave the home side a target of 13 to complete the 2-0 series sweep.
Bangladesh came into the fourth day on 132 for 6 after their top and middle order once again caved in against a disciplined pace attack. Shakib said that his side's inability to hold on to their wickets showed a lack of game awareness at this level.
"Considering this Test, we tended to lose wickets just before a drinks break, a lunch break or before the rain. If we didn't lose these wickets, things would have been quite different. This is a part of game awareness. We weren't as tough as we could have been, in terms of showing character in this Test match," he said.
Shakib felt that the Test players must work on their game before they meet India in December. Bangladesh go into their T20 season later this week, leading up to the T20 World Cup scheduled to begin in Australia in October. They will be playing T20Is against West Indies and Zimbabwe, before featuring in the Asia Cup and a tri-series in New Zealand before the global event.
"We have to improve in every department to do well in Tests. It is good that a big gap is coming up [before we play the next Test]. Those who are interested in playing Tests can improve themselves during this time. We really don't have a new set of players who will do well immediately after coming to this level.
"We have a responsibility to bring Test culture back to the country."
Shakib Al Hasan
"If all of us, and a couple of the players from outside, can plan together, we might do well. Otherwise, we cannot expect a lot of changes if we continue to play the same way. We have to bring changes in many aspects, including our thinking."
Shakib believes the team must stop losing matches regularly at home to regain confidence. Bangladesh have now lost three Test series in a row: home series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka , before this away series against West Indies.
"Teams are mostly underdogs on away tours. Take New Zealand, for example. They are losing abroad. England lost in the West Indies. Australia are losing when they play abroad. The same for India. Teams lose in India too.
"So, we have to make sure that we don't lose at home. Either we win or draw the matches. This improvement will help us when we are playing overseas. Maybe, we won't win, but we will be competitive."
Shakib spoke of lack of Test culture in Bangladesh, something that head coach Russell Domingo had also pointed out last year. He said that the team need to plan early and execute well to revive the culture.
"You can't really blame the players. The system in our country is this. Did you ever see 30,000 people come to see a Test match? It happens in every game in England. We don't have a Test culture in our country. But we can't give up on it.
"We have a responsibility to bring Test culture back to the country. We have to plan ahead, otherwise, we can't get too far. I wouldn't say that we don't value Test cricket. But we don't have good results. These two go hand-in-hand."
Shifting gears
A challenging series awaits Bangladesh as they begin their preparation for the T20 World Cup with three T20Is against West Indies, starting on July 2. After the T20 World Cup last year, where they were knocked out in the second round, Bangladesh went down to Pakistan 3-0 in November and drew 1-1 with Afghanistan.
"It is an important series as far as our preparation for the T20 World Cup is concerned," Shakib said. "We have the Asia Cup and the World Cup coming up. We don't have much time left. Playing against West Indies will be a major challenge.
"If we do well in the T20s here, it will help us go to Sri Lanka [for the Asia Cup] with a good mindset. The Asia Cup will be tough as we will take on India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84