Saturday, August 24, 2019, 09:49:00 AM

Objective Assessment of Bangladesh Cricket

Saleque Sufi | banglanews24.com
Update: 2019-07-31 12:38:39 PM
Objective Assessment of Bangladesh Cricket

It is few weeks now CWC 2019 is done and dusted. Cricket in different countries are back to bilateral engagements. World test Championship is about to start. England Australia would soon start Ashes series. India has gone to West Indies. New Zealand has traveled to Sri Lanka. Bangladesh is about to complete ODI series in Sri Lanka. Let us review Bangladesh performance in CWC 2019 and check what Team tigers are doing in Sri Lanka. 

There is no two opinions that Cricket became a great passion and obsession for Bangladesh and Bangladeshis off late. The great success of team tigers in cricket more specifically in ODI format in bilateral series and global tournaments made cricketers matinee idols. Perhaps cricket became the only biding glue that brought people of all walks of life irrespective of sex and creed, religious faith and political belief, age and taste on common platform. All wanted Mashrafe led Team tigers perform well in the recently concluded CWC2019. The fabulous five and a bunch of extremely talented quality youngsters were the reason for the dreams. The team possessing the most experienced group of international cricketers were expected to at least feature among the top four. The success in the pre tournament three nations ODI series in Ireland caused the dream taking wings.
 
Bangladesh did not have any tear away express fast bowlers or any wrist spinners to exploit English condition. Some key players had marginal fitness. But indomitable spirit was their main weapons. Worldwide adoring Bangladeshi cricket admirers were dreaming. Thousands assembled in England and Wales for cheering the tigers. Bangladesh made great start winning smartly against strong South Africa. Can not say they played all that bad against England and New Zealand in subsequent matches either. With a little bit of luck could have won the match against New Zealand. Mushfiq making a silly mistake let Williamson escape for a definite run out at a critical stage of the match. Still after three matches Bangladesh showed lots of promise.

Bangladesh looked set to win against Sri Lanka not looking in good form at that stage. But rain robbed Bangladesh an opportunity for getting full points. Bangladesh was struggling a bit with its new ball attack. Mashrafe did not look match fit and could be rested. Tamim and Soumya were struggling. But Shakib in scintillating form with bat and ball and Mustafiz looking great in death overs kept Bangladesh going. Bangladesh could compete much better against Australia if not Shabbir dropped a sitter offered by Flinch very early in his innings. 

Playing good cricket, Bangladesh outplayed West Indies and Afghanistan. Shakib set many milestones in the match against Afghanistan scoring Century and taking 5 wickets. Against West Indies it was a great team effort. 

Even then prior to the last two matches against South Asian rivals India and Pakistan situation reached a stage that Bangladesh winning both matches and few other match results going their way could take Bangladesh to the dream semi finals. 

Rookie Afghanistan rocked India and Pakistan. With a little bit of maturity Afghanistan could win both the matches. If that happened and if India could beat England from a winning position story could be very different. But these did not happen. England from a seeming critical situation forced their way into the top four.

Bangladesh was in a great position against India. Had not Tamim drop a sitter of Rohit very early off Mustafiz India could not post a difficult target. Yet Mustafiz brought Bangladesh in the game. But the batsmen failed to capitalize. Bangladesh lost. Bangladesh played a terribly poor game against Pakistan. Playing 8 matches, winning three against South Africa, West Indies and Afghanistan and sharing points with Sri Lanka Bangladesh finished 8th among 10 teams. In over all analysis it was not great. Bangladesh could finish only above two qualifiers West Indies and Afghanistan. 

In the hindsight if one takes out 606 runs and 11 Wickets of Shakib and 15 Wickets of Mustafiz, few brilliant knocks of Mushfiq rest were pretty ordinary. Mashrafe, Tamim, Mahmudullah and the rest had a very poor world cup. Perhaps few players played hiding injuries. The big group of BCB officials enjoying the BCB hospitality in England and Wales during the World Cup kept no knowledge about the team Chemistry or discipline of the team. Team Manager and Director (Cricket Operation) were allegedly involved in team politics. 

IN SUMMARY BANGLADESH MISSION CWC2019 ENDED IN FIASCO.

Ironically BCB responded very sharply after World Cup canceling the contract of head coach Steve Rhodes. The contracts of bowling coaches Courtney Walsh and Sunil Joshey were not extended. BCB president complained about team discipline .Still team Manager Khaled Mahmud Sujon remained immune. He was rather rewarded with the responsibility of Interim Head Coach for the Sri Lanka. BCB should rather proceed through a process asking Head Coach and Team Manager Produce reports. There were unofficial reports of disagreement among key players, manager and head coach. Some media created hype against head coach during the tournament at the behest of some members of team management. The presence BCB President in England during the tournament did not resolve.

In such situation team has been sent to Sri Lanka. Shakib was let to skip the series .BCB was aware that the team at this stage can not compete with any team of the world without Shakib. Mashrafe was perhaps not fit to play the last half of CWC 2019, neither was Saifuddin. Even Mahmudullah carried injury. Tamim and Soumya were struggling for form. Mithun was well below his best. This team under leadership of struggling Tamim and Management of Sujon has played miserably poorly in the first two matches losing both by huge margin.
Today Bangladesh would appear in the last match to salvage some pride. Even if they win today team management interim head coach Khaled Mahmud Sujon who was Manager of CWC 2019 squad owes an explanation to the nation. 

One must not forget winning and losing is a part of the game but performance of individual when representing a nation can spoil the image of the country. Some activities of some persons on and off the field have created controversy.

The first cricket captain of Bangladesh Cricket Shamim Kabir has just expired. He was Manager of Bangladesh Team to England as well. We have seen known about Reza Bhai and Cezar Bhai. They were also Bangladesh team in the past. They were never criticized for their personal role although the team was much weaker at those early days. Bangladesh team in England was branded the smartest and the most aristocratic in early days.  

We know hear about Manager found gambling in Casino when the team spirit must be at its lowest. What example is being set? 

NONE IS ABOVE THE COUNTRY AND THE NATION.

BDST: 1219 HRS, JUL 31, 2019
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