Bangladesh have recently been struggling to find a victory in short-form cricket. The away series against New Zealand and the home series against West Indies have brought nothing but disappointment to the fans. The quest is why Bangladesh, despite having some world class cricketers, has been failing to perform up to the mark.
From the 2012 Asia Cup finals to the 2019 World Cup, Bangladesh team gained the upper hand against many superpowers of world cricket in several instances. But the main problem is lack of consistency and team work. Lack of proper strategies and game plan might be attributed to such inconsistency.
However, diving a bit deep into the short-form cricket might help us find more reasonable factors regarding the Tigers’ recent off-form conundrum.
The middle order of Bangladesh’s batsmen most of the time faces pressure with the opening pairs of batsmen falling cheaply. If we look at the lineup of India, Australia and England, their opening pairs often make 100+ runs partnership with a strike rate of around or above 100, which is not the case with Bangladesh.
Although top order batsmen need to bat at least 70 to 90 balls in ODIs to build the foundation of the innings, Bangladesh sees opening pairs of batsmen get back to the pavilion, more often than not, within the first 10 overs itself. Besides, our batsmen do not hold the statistics of 40+ average with a strike rate of around 100, which is crucial for modern day cricket. Though Liton Das and Soumya Sarker have the caliber to bat fiercely, they lack consistency.
At times, bowlers from both ends become much accurate and finding boundaries get tough. In that case, strike rotation can keep the scoreboard going along with not letting the bowlers take the control.
Good running between the wickets is another essential feature. It can make dot balls into singles, 1s into 2s, which helps dominate the bowling side. Oddly enough, Bangladeshi batsmen have an uncanny habit of playing too many dot balls and depending on boundaries to make up for it, ending up giving away wickets often.
In modern days cricket we have seen fielders like Stokes, Jadeja, Maxwell saving runs with their spiderman efforts. A good fielder is always an asset for the team who can reduce a boundary to one or two runs and bring breakthroughs with unexpected catches or a pitch perfect throw to run the batsman out.
In Bangladesh fielding, however, there are pictures of despair in abundance. Leaking runs for sloppy fielding, missing a run out chance and dropping catches – these all are synonymous with Bangladesh cricket.
The most recent disastrous series in New Zealand was also a show of catch misses and bad fielding leading to boundaries. Who can forget the missed chance of getting Williamson out in the 2019 World Cup, Sangakkara scoring 319 runs after getting a life, Thishara Perera leading Sri Lanka’s chase, or numerous other instances when an opponent player thrashes Bangladesh after his catch being dropped?
Death over batting
Bangladesh lacks enough firepower to accelerate in the death overs. Hard hitting capabilities are a crying need in the death overs. There are many instances when a good initial and solid middle order performance couldn’t carry the scoreboard past the 300-run mark due to lack of good finishing.
Not playing enough test matches
We have seen a lot of young cricketers can't flourish due to lack of grooming and opportunities. The reason is first class cricket in Bangladesh is not up to the mark. Test cricket particularly is highly undervalued in Bangladesh, whereas this is the format that molds a cricketer’s future.
The third and the fourth innings of a test match examine a cricketer’s competency, courage and patience. From building up a big innings to bringing a crucial breakthrough when the batting side gradually loses the momentum - test cricket teaches everything.
The fact that Bangladeshi players play very few test matches - both in first class career or after getting promoted to national team - causing the team to lag behind in many aspects in the other two formats of the game.
Shafin Saif is a current student of international relations at Jahangirnagar University. E-mail: [email protected]