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HomeBangladesh CricketRANT: Life after Shakib... what on earth are Bangladesh doing about it?

RANT: Life after Shakib… what on earth are Bangladesh doing about it?

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

Life after Shakib.

Bangladesh MUST start thinking about it.

Heavy losses to Sri Lanka are UNACCEPTABLE!

Dating back to January where Bangladesh were bowled out for an embarrassing 82 vs Sri Lanka in the ODI Tri-Series, concerns have intensified in my mind and heart about where Bangladesh cricket is heading – namely the lack of direction, leadership and strategy.

With all due respect to Sri Lanka, this is one of their weakest sides in recent history, and their 2017 results show this. Only six months or so ago, Sri Lanka lost a home ODI series to Zimbabwe (in addition to three 5-0 losses in ODIs in 2017), and yet they came to Bangladesh, get beaten once by the hosts in the ODIs, and then dominated every game afterwards. Sure, the addition of Chandika Hathurusingha gave Sri Lanka an advantage in the sense that he understands the Bangladesh strengths and weaknesses, but the fact he was able to exploit them so easily is very concerning.

Shakib and Tamim contributed 44.58% of Bangladesh’s runs in the recent Tri Series

This leads to my biggest concern about Bangladesh cricket. Shakib Al Hasan will not be around forever, and the last few weeks have highlighted not only how important Shakib is, but the lack of players coming through and nailing down positions in the Bangladesh side. Mentally, the players look bereft of confidence and mental strength, and in international cricket where the going is often going to be tough, confidence and mental strength are two critical qualities to have.

Without these two qualities, you often rely on your best players to get you victories. Shakib has contributed significantly to many Bangladesh successes over the years, including their Test wins over Sri Lanka and Australia in 2017, and it’s all well and good to enjoy life while he is around, but you need to start thinking about what life will look like when he, along with Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah and Mashrafe (ODIs) are no longer around.

The biggest problem I find with Bangladesh at the moment is the total lack of consistency in their selections, and how often players drop into the wilderness after good showings in the early stages of their international career. I can’t for the life of me remember the last time Bangladesh played three or four games (in all formats) in a row with the same team –  why are players who show good form early in their careers not nurtured by coaches and management domestically? What on earth is going on in domestic cricket? Why are players with obvious talent in and out of the side constantly, not given a
chance to show their true talent?

For Bangladesh to be successful after Shakib finishes playing, the key is to focus on building a well-rounded team. At the moment, it is all over the place. Apart from Shakib, Tamim, Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah, what are the people in the management positions doing to ensure Bangladesh lock down more batting positions? Recent examples are a little concerning…

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One of Bangladesh’s best batting talents, Mominul Haque was DROPPED for the second Test in Sri Lanka last year. Yes, maybe it was Chandika Hathurusingha’s decision, and despite Bangladesh winning the Test, management needed to realise that this is a player who is a gem for Bangladesh not only in the Test format, but in the ODI format too. Mominul needs to be enabled and encouraged to express himself, and his rate of scoring in the Test matches against Sri Lanka recently was so impressive, and showed he is very capable of being the answer to Bangladesh’s search for an opening partner for Tamim in ODIs. Why haven’t management thought of this? Why do they continue to chop and change without a proper strategy? Where is the planning? Who is accountable? Why was Mohammad Mithun, a player unproved in international cricket, brought in for a Tri-Series Final in place of Anamul Haque with Mominul Haque sitting down watching? Despite failing, it was fine to bring in Anamul Haque for another chance after seeing the potential he showed early in his ODI career, but for me, Mominul is the answer at the top of the ODI order for Bangladesh, and management need to be better in their thinking and strategy to see this.

Chopping and changing creeps into the middle order, too. Nasir Hossain, one of my favourite players, constantly finds himself stuck down very low in the batting order in limited overs cricket, and is not utilised as much as he can be with the ball – an economy rate of 4.71 shows he should be utilised more. Over the last few years, Nasir has been in and out of the side regularly – how can you build consistency and confidence as a player if you are not given opportunities regularly? Why are certain players dropped constantly, and the likes of Sabbir Rahman constantly given opportunities? In the Tri-Series game where Bangladesh were bowled out for 82, Nasir Hossain came in all the way down at number eight, was dropped for the final instead of Sabbir, who played an absolutely horrid shot to get out when Bangladesh were 57/4. What is the strategy behind this from management? How are they going to get the best out of Nasir, who obviously showed great talent when he burst onto the scene nearly seven years ago? Why isn’t this the thought instead of having him in and out of the side, and just hoping he can find a way to perform? Why isn’t he given an extended run a little higher in the order, with overs with the ball? Please, utilise his ability properly.

Nasir Hossain needs to be given proper opportunities to show his talent.

Another recent example was the inexcusable dropping of Mosaddek Hossain in the second Test. Sure, he didn’t play a good shot to get out in the first innings of the first Test, but he showed good composure and patience to help Bangladesh save the game in a tricky situation. Bangladesh are crying out for players with composure and patience, and yet a player who obviously shows these qualities is dropped instead of being enabled and encouraged to continue his good work. Who was the player who came in? The frustrating Sabbir Rahman, who contributed 0 and 1 in Mirpur. At a young

 age, Mosaddek needs clarity, not confusion.

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There are other examples but I don’t have a full week to spare where I can list them all for you.

Solution #1 to life after Shakib: Nail down your batting line up, and have faith in players who show encouraging signs.

This leads me to my next point. Bangladesh also rely significantly on Shakib with the ball in all formats, and his absence left a massive hole. In the Tests, Bangladesh lacked variety and control in the attack, and this was also the case in the T20Is. Significant chopping and changing occurs on the bowling front too, and for Bangladesh to be successful after Shakib finishes, they must have a plan to form a good bowling attack to give them variety at home, as well as a chance to compete overseas.

The decline of Taskin Ahmed is particularly worrying – why has this happened? Why hasn’t Courtney Walsh been able to get the best out of him, and other Bangladesh seamers? Why is Mustafizur Rahman’s pace still down? Where is the leadership? What is management doing about this? What has happened to Mohammad Shahid, who showed excellent control and potential in 2015? Robiul Islam, anyone? Who remembers him? Best bowling figures by a Bangladesh seamer in away Tests, and has fallen off the face of the earth seemingly…

Solution #2 to life after Shakib: Build a well-rounded, consistent bowling attack through good coaching and strong leadership to get the best out of these players.

Bangladesh simply can’t keep going like this and expect to be successful after Shakib retires. The lack of leadership and strategy is not only hurting the Bangladesh National side, but also players coming through, looking to be successful in international cricket. There needs to be a focus on enabling and encouraging players to show off their skills in a well rounded first class competition where players are exposed to all types of conditions. Then, when they are in international cricket, and if they are performing well, it comes down to the leaders to ensure they stay there.

For Bangladesh to be successful after Shakib, they need a well-rounded team, instead of hoping another Shakib comes around. Shakib is a one-in-a-generation player, and one man simply cannot replace him – only a well built team can.

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Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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