Yet another shocking innings defeat within three days at Indore by formidable team India has evidenced the inherent weakness of Bangladesh in longer version cricket. Given the quality and composition of our team and comparative strength of the two teams we are unsure that even the presence of Shakib, Tamim and Saifuddin could make much of a difference.
India prepared a pace friendly wicket and at present India possess a well balanced test team with some top quality new ball bowlers . Bangladesh on the other hand play its poorly organized domestic longer version cricket on low slow under prepared turning tracks. Most of the national players hardly even appear in domestic longer version cricket. Those who regularly perform with bat and ball, are ignored by the selectors. In such circumstances the out come was pretty obvious. Bangladesh got shocked and awed getting swept away by an innings and 130 runs well within three days. Neither in bowling nor in batting Bangladesh could create any contest. Luckily for Bangladesh India also fielded poorly dropping several catches or there could be greater ignominy.
India has knocked us down on the mat. What next? How should we move from here? Well we must not die wondering. We need doing a lot and doing it too soon.
India rightly considers Bangladesh as least attractive team for hosting in India in full series .Thy are not crowd pullers. As such it took them almost twenty years after Bangladesh achieved test status to invite Bangladesh for a series of three T20 and two tests. The abysmal performance in the first test now justifies Indian decision. We are not sure after this series when again India would host Bangladesh.
It is true that Bangladesh cricket in recent time has gone through a state of turmoil. First a director got arrested getting implicated in controversial Casino episode and allegations were pointed towards few others. Players got locked in payment disputes with the board. T20 and Test Captain got suspended for hiding his communications with bookies. But the series against India was scheduled well before. Bangladesh went to encounter ICC top ranked test team with minimum preparation. There was no practice match at home. Neither BCB could negotiate a practice match in India before the test. Bangladesh could create some contest in T20 series against an experimental Indian team which rested some key players.
The composition of test squad was questionable. In absence of Shakib senior experienced AbdurRazzak could be very useful . Icon Mohammad Ashraful back in all forms of cricket could be an useful addition in the top order. Soumya and NaimShiekh could be retained for the top order. Al Amin and Shafiul could be there as pace bowling option. Level headed BCB think tank selected a very weak Bangladesh eleven against a very formidable Indian team. Bangladesh appeared with four regular front line bowlers against the strongest batting unit of the world. India itself fielded five regular bowlers of which three were top pace bowlers. Bangladesh entrusted the leadership on Mominul while Mushfique and Mahmudullah could be better choice. If a team can not bat well with 6 genuine batsmen 7 or 8 can do very little excepting disturbing the balance of the team. As the situation panned out presence of Al Amin and Mustafiz could make some difference. Rookie Ebadat experiment was a major failure.
With such a depleted unit Bangladesh opting to bat first on a grassy wicket retaining some moisture was suicidal. Bangladesh got bundled out for paltry 150 in the first innings and that was the beginning of riding on the back gear. Abu Jayed bowled superbly getting rid of prolific Rohit and almost knocking out Mayank Agarwall before he could inflict damage. Al Amin or Mustafiz as his partner could restrict India in such situation. Bangladesh lost an opportunity. On second day also Rahi tormented Indian top order getting rid of Pujara and Kohli early. But lacking support from the other end that success could not be sustained. Agarwall and Rahane punished lopsided Bangladesh attack mercilessly. India posted 493/6 by stumps taking unassailable 343 runs lead.
Asked to climb mount Everest on wheel chair all Bangladesh could do surrendering abjectly. Kayes, Shadman, Mominul , Mithun and Mahmudullah had no clue how to bat against quality attack of Ishant Sharma , Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami. Mushfique, Liton and Miraz put up a show. But it was well beyond their grasp. Bangladesh could reach 213 in the second innings and still lost by an innings and 130 runs.
BCB President went in the hiding. His regular media appearance was missing after his usual tall talk that “Bangladesh would perform better than South Africa in test against India.”
In such a mental state it will be a huge challenge for Bangladesh for putting up a better show at day night test at Kolkata Eden Gardens. That match will be played with Pink ball for the first time in a test in India. Other than festivity while Prime Ministers of Bangladesh and India as well as Chief Minister of Bangla would be among the guests that test would have challenge for Bangladesh avoiding comprehensive India wash.
In the present context against a very strong Indian team firing in all cylinders it will not be easy. Bangladesh has some options to consider. The top order batting needs beefing up. Young SaifHasan may be slotted as opener and Liton K Das would be a better choice at the top. Mominul may continue playing at number three. Mushfique and Mahmudullah must bat at four and five. Mithun and Mehidy Hasan Miraz can bat at six and seven. I would suggest playing three pacers and including Al Amin and Mustafiz going with Jayed Rahi. Bangladesh may continue playing Taijul and Miraj as spinning pair. But Mahmudullah should bowl more in Kolkata. There is no point playing more than 7 batsmen including Miraz.
My suggested team
Liton K Das, SaifHasan, MominulHaq ,Mushfiqur Rahim, MahmudullahRiad , Mohammad Mithun, MehedyMiraj, Taijul Islam , Al Amin Hossain, Abu JayedRahi and MustafizurRahman
We would not say that the above team would make revolutionary change to Bangladesh performance. But under the given circumstances there cannot be better option.
Bangladesh must immediately go all out for preparing at least three to four hard bouncy wickets in two to three venues in Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna and Sylhet for nurturing pace bowlers. Without enabling facilities for growing quality pace bowlers in domestic cricket Bangladesh can not compete in tests anywhere in the cricket world. Our Bangladesh can not bat with confidence against any quality pace attack. For this to happen we need revamping domestic cricket and bring in imaginative cricket thinkers and administrators in BCB. The business as usual BCB cannot get Bangladesh cricket out of the present unpleasant state. BPL type disco cricket is not going to take our cricket anywhere. It would rather deepen the crisis.
BDST: 1150 HRS, NOV 17, 2019