Bangladesh have got off to a fairy-tale start to 2022 after a dismal 2021, beating the World Test Champions in their own backyard, a result that most thought, was by no means achievable after what had transpired of late in Bangladesh’s cricket, both on and off the field.
2021 has been a year that both players and fans alike would like to forget. In terms of poor performances and losses, 2021 can be compared to 2014. The overall win percentage (all formats) of Bangladesh in 2014 was 31 per cent, compared to 26 per cent in 2021.
However, as the Tigers stepped into 2015 leaving behind a doleful year, things did take a U-turn for the good.
The appointment of Mashrafe Mortaza as the white ball captain saw the team make it into the quarter-finals of the World Cup and then beat teams like India, South Africa and Pakistan at home, thanks to a great year in form of the fantastic five (Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mashrafe Mortaza and Mahmudullah Riyad) along with memorable performances from the young players. A combination of all these took their win percentage to 50 per cent in 2015 from 31 per cent the previous year.
Taking 2015 as an example, can team Bangladesh replicate something similar in 2022 to turn things around?
If so, can other players pave the way as the fantastic five enter the twilight of their careers? Who can the Tigers look forward to if 2022 is another 2015 on the cards?
Despite the poor form in white-ball cricket last year, Liton Das’s form in red-ball cricket has been one to admire. He averaged 49.50 with the bat to go along with his maiden Test hundred.
2022 has started equally well for him with a vital 86 against New Zealand. Das has been playing international cricket for 7 years now and in the last 2 years, he has shown maturity in Test cricket.
If he can replicate this form in white-ball cricket as well this year, he can surely be one of Bangladesh’s biggest assets in all formats.
Taskin Ahmed has undoubtedly been the most improved fast bowler in Bangladesh recently and his hard work off the field has also started to provide him dividends.
His pace and accuracy in line and length provide the Tiger bowling attack with the variety it requires. In recent times amongst all the Bangladeshi seamers, Taskin has been getting success both home and away.
Just like team Bangladesh, Mustafizur Rahman’s 2021 has been full of ups and downs. Although he was impressive in the IPL and in the home series, he was out of sorts in the T20 World Cup.
There has never been any doubt of the calibre of the Fizz but battling injuries and off form has often dented his growth curve as an international fast bowler.
But if he can put his act together and add a few more arsenals in his bowling repertoire such as the inswinger to the right-handers, he will be a major threat for opponents in all conditions.
Nazmul Hossain Shanto
When Shanto first came into the national team, he was fast-tracked into the Test squad as an opener. However, since then, he has looked promising as a number 3 batter in Test cricket.
In away Tests, he averages 45.55 and all his Test tons (2) have come playing away from home.
Shanto might have made his place permanent in red-ball cricket but when it comes to white-ball cricket, he still has a long way to go. However, his innings of 40 runs against Pakistan in the recently concluded T20 series showed that if given the time, he too can shine for Bangladesh in all formats.
Well, there are few other names who are giving the fans hope, showing glimpses of their potential in the recently concluded historic Test match against the Kiwis.
Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Ebadot Hossain, Shoriful Islam, Yasir Ali Rabbi - these new breeds can well lead the Tigers to their glory days again. Still, too early to say.
For Bangladesh, to make 2022 a repeat of 2015–a lot will rely on these young players and how they can take responsibility from the seniors in the coming years, banking on their often spoken about talent and promises.