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Bangladesh, West Indies and their contrasting progress in ODIs

Bangladesh have extended their great run in the format with another series win, whereas West Indies are underwhelming even at home

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
For sometime now, ODIs have been a format where Bangladesh have done well consistently  •  AFP via Getty Images

For sometime now, ODIs have been a format where Bangladesh have done well consistently  •  AFP via Getty Images

On the day South Africa forfeited their ODI series against Australia, and R Ashwin voiced his displeasure with the format, Bangladesh handed West Indies a thrashing in the second ODI for a series win.
South Africa's decision and Ashwin's views were not to undermine ODIs, but the format has been in visible decay for a number of years now, even before T20s became a big hit. It is also confidently predicted that ODIs will become more irrelevant in cricket's next scheduling cycle.
One team that isn't complaining about ODIs is Bangladesh. They just completed their fifth consecutive bilateral series win, with the latest coming without first-choice players such as Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Saifuddin and Yasir Ali. Four of those players were key in their ODI series win over South Africa in March.
They restricted West Indies to 149 for 9 in the first ODI and then bowled them out for 108 on Wednesday. Tamim Iqbal led Bangladesh sharply, his decision to drop Taskin Ahmed for Mosaddek Hossain worked as the spinners took eight of the ten wickets. It is only in ODIs that they can afford to drop an in-form bowler like Taskin, knowing very well another player will step up. Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Nasum Ahmed led the spin attack so well that the team didn't miss Shakib at all.
They chased down two small totals, leaving their struggling batters to do very little and the bowlers' performance even masked their catching problems.
With the nine-wicket drubbing, Bangladesh extended their winning run against West Indies to ten ODIs dating back to December 2018. This win would have been sweeter as it came after series losses in Tests and T20Is earlier in the tour.
Credit to Bangladesh for the turnaround, but it also showed clearly where West Indies stand in ODIs. In the last five years, they have won only four bilateral series. This year, they have lost series against Ireland, India and Pakistan, and won only against Netherlands.
The last time West Indies made it to the last four of an ICC ODI event was in the 2006 Champions Trophy. In the intervening time, they have become the most famous T20 side in the world, winning two global trophies.
If in the 1990s, West Indies' overall decline as a side was blamed on the influence of American sports, the ODI decline will definitely be attributed to the heavy influence of T20s. There's a bit of truth in that, since the West Indies produces some of the best T20 players in the world, but they have also steadily improved in Tests under Kraigg Brathwaite.
The decline in ODIs can be down to lack of planning for the particular format. Nicholas Pooran, who was appointed the white-ball captain earlier this year, has great intentions to rebuild the side but so far there haven't been many signs of that happening. They have tried to overhaul the side, but it just feels like an extension of their T20I side.
West Indies are hovering mid-table in the World Cup Super League. South Africa's forfeiture and Sri Lanka's low position could give them a direct entry into next year's World Cup. Bangladesh, meanwhile, are in second position and have already voiced their ambition for the 2023 World Cup. They have only lost an ODI series against New Zealand during this cycle. Despite the chaos of the Test and T20I side, Tamim has steered the ship remarkably well in this format.
What obviously matters for them is ODIs. They love playing the format, most of the generations since the 1970s having grown up on a staple of one-day cricket. The Dhaka Premier League has provided them with the best domestic competition, both competitively and financially. But for a side that loves ODI cricket so much, their single appearance in an ICC event semi-final is underwhelming.
In the coming years, however, it will be interesting to see how the BCB negotiates with the other boards to play more ODIs. But the BCB also doesn't want to sound old by only wanting to play ODIs; they will build towards a better T20I side, but that has already taken a long time. Already ahead of this year's T20 World Cup, they have spoken about how they are not built for big stadiums in Australia.
West Indies, meanwhile, will be one of the most anticipated sides in that competition. They were underwhelming in the UAE last year, but are planning to put together a new-look side for the big event. Pooran is leading in place of Kieron Pollard, and the likes of Rovman Powell, Brandon King and Kyle Mayers will take on the mantle from the old guard. The same, however, cannot yet be said about West Indies' ODI unit. Perhaps, like Bangladesh, their fans have to accept the reality in at least one format.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84