Consistent fielding woes drag the Tigers down

| Updated: September 30, 2022 21:41:58

Photo: ESPNCricinfo Photo: ESPNCricinfo

Bangladesh's national cricket team's fielding has not just been bad for the last year or so; it has been horrible.

They drop catches, they misfield, and even when they do it right, it seems like they lack energy and precision.

It was evident in the first Twenty20 International of their two-match series against the United Arab Emirates. On the one hand, Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Afif Hossain produced a couple of brilliant pieces fielding, while on the other, Mosaddek Hossain and Mohammad Saif Uddin dropped dollies. Liton Das was seen misfielding, and the same happened in the Asia Cup.

In the match against Sri Lanka, a defeat which saw Bangladesh eliminated, Mushfiqur Rahim – who has since retired from the format – dropped player of the match Kusal Mendis, who also survived a runout despite Sabbir Rahman throwing from close quarters.

And this problem has been persisting for quite some time now. Emerging Sports Analyst Azmain Rafin collected data regarding the catch drops of Bangladesh fielders.

In the last two years, Mahmudullah Riyad has dropped the most catches with six, and Mushfiq at second with five. Afif, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, and Taskin Ahmed have dropped three each. Shakib Al Hasan, Liton, and Yasir Ali Chowdhury have dropped two catches each.

Mr Rafin shows that Bangladesh have missed catches and stumping opportunities in ODIs 36 times in the last two years.

From the start of 2021 until the Asia Cup, Bangladesh played 37 T20Is and missed 37 opportunities.

That's a dire figure, even for Bangladesh, who have never been known as a solid fielding side.

In search of Bangladesh's horrible fielding outcomes, The Financial Express reached out to Rajin Saleh, a fine fielder during his days.

The former Bangladesh skipper is now a coach and worked as the Bangladesh national team fielding coach for their home series against Afghanistan earlier this year.

Saleh pointed out two key points behind Bangladesh's lacking success on the field. First, the players, and then the board.

"I have seen that players don't practice fielding as much as they do batting or bowling. They don't put all the effort in. They do it just for the sake of doing it."

"Also, the board does not have a coach at the helm for long enough. They bring in people for one series or short-term. When you start working, you need time. At the start, you identify the problems. Then, you start working on it," Saleh stretched.

"But if you are appointed for a short period of time, you don't have that much time. If someone is appointed for a longer period of time, then they can actually implement their ideas and make the fielding better," the local coach told The Financial Express.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board appointed Australian Shane McDermott as the national team's fielding coach in March. But in the six months that followed, nothing but glimpses of improvement have been seen.

Saleh mentioned that Bangladesh players fall behind in fielding because work is not being done on the root level.

"I have studied the aspects of fielding. For example, you need to learn the techniques of diving and stopping the ball while you are a teenager. After that, you can learn it, but it will never turn into your inhibition. That is why even our good fielders are not great at diving and stopping the ball," he said.

Saleh added, "You need to work at the root level. You need to teach them proper fielding techniques from a young age. Then they will improve, and the national team will benefit from it."

In modern cricket, fielding is becoming increasingly important every day. Every run saved and every brilliant catch taken is no longer considered a bonus but something absolutely necessary.

Bangladesh, along with their batting and bowling, must raise their game in the fielding department too.

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