Mahmudur Rahman writes for DOT
Bangladesh’s cricket captain Mashrafe Bin Mortuza, now also a member of Parliament has taken the responsibility for the less than expected performance of his team in the ICC Cricket World Cup. That is the gentleman that he is. To begin with a semifinal berth was just too much to have been expected given the leaps and bounds with which the shorter version of cricket has progressed. If anyone should take the wraps it has to be the country’s cricket administration for not being able to compare the ability of the national side with that of the others. Yes, there have been improvements but a bowling attack where the main weapon Mustafizur Rahman has long since been sussed out and batting that was exposed to the variety of pace bowling didn’t make for good viewing.
Most teams began their preparations four years ago so as to put on display the talent they had nurtured all through this time. Bangladesh depended on the big five one of which wasn’t good enough to complete his quota of overs, another who made the same mistake repeatedly and one who was distinctly off colour. People scoffed Chandika Hathurasinghe when he suggested Shakib Ul Hasan was no longer the bowler he used to be. Chandika might be laughing up his shirt sleeves but his assumption was correct. Shakib depended on turn and variation and he got little of that even on turning wickets. Compare that with Yazvender Chahel and Kuldeep Yadav who proved difficult to read by the best of teams. Even Afghanistan found a new spinner in Mujeebur Rahman who was more difficult to read than any of ours. Mehedi Miraz turned out to be economical overall but it was his wicket taking inability that put extra pressure on the others. Simply put we didn’t have wicket taking bowlers till the slog overs where Mustafiz thrived. Mashrafe himself landed up with one wicket in eight games.
In the field Bangladesh was slow and butter-fingered indicating that not enough attention had been given to fielding where twos were conceded when ones should have been the case. Whether this has been focused on with the Under-19 World Cup around the corner is anyone’s guess but that team ideally should be the poaching ground for the nucleus for the 2023 version of the World Cup. England and Australia don’t give that much importance to the under-19 format but a robust domestic structure allows them to find their talent easily enough. Given that we have the luxury of the junior version in addition to a domestic circuit we should be doing better. But then our domestic competitions are stale and uninspiring. Even Sri Lanka with its historically famous local circuit were found wanting in terms of the world stage.
There’s four years to prepare for and sufficient changes to our domestic leagues, the A team and the raw talent emerging from the under-19 World Cup should be the basis of our preparations for the future.
The author is a columnist and communications specialist.