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RANT: Mushfiqur Rahim must be removed as captain as Bangladesh cop huge loss to South Africa

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Last Updated on 7 years by Charbel Coorey

The moment Bangladesh lost the Test, handing South Africa an easy passage to victory.

As a Bangladesh fan, I’m very disappointed writing this, after witnessing such a disappointing performance by Bangladesh in the 1st Test vs South Africa.

This series against South Africa is a chance for Bangladesh to show they can compete away from home against a quality Test side.

In 2015, Mushfiq bowled first with only 3 specialist bowlers.
Lost the match to Pakistan by 328 runs

However, this match was lost before a ball was bowled.


Question: Does any captain in world cricket have a worse impact on his team than Mushfiqur Rahim?

What’s scary that this is considering he is one of Bangladesh’s BEST batsmen, but the Bangladesh skipper did himself absolutely no favours in the 1st Test vs South Africa.

I’ll go one step further and say he has done Bangladesh no favours (as captain) in his entire captaincy reign.

Yes, he is statistically Bangladesh’s best captain in terms of wins. However, even in the wins he’s been in charge of, there have been many times during those games where Mushfiqur has left us scratching our heads, wondering what he’s doing.

In 2014, Mushfiq bowled first with
3 specialist bowlers, 1 on debut.
Lost the match to WI by 10 wickets.

Despite Mushfiqur captaining Bangladesh to Test victories out of any previous Bangladesh captain, there is absolutely no doubt that this Test Series in South Africa must be his last as captain.

Mushfiqur is far too defensive

This match is not the first time that Mushfiqur has won the toss and inexplicably chose to bowl, and put Bangladesh in a position to lose a Test Match even before a ball is bowled. This is also not the first time that Mushfiqur looks clueless in the field, seemingly operating without a plan. This is also not the first time that Mushfiqur has left us wondering what on earth he’s doing – for example, introducing a spinner in the 6th over after winning the toss and bowling first in South Africa or spreading out the field after a few wicketless overs or after a boundary.

Mushfiqur’s defensive approach and lack of strategy is holding Bangladesh back.

But what is that you say? Bangladesh beat England, Sri Lanka AND Australia all in the past year?

Teenager Mehedi led Bangladesh home vs England last year

OK, let’s talk about Bangladesh’s best Test results in their history – victories against England, Sri Lanka and Australia, and how Mushfiqur almost contributed to defeats in all those matches.

Against England last year in Mirpur, there were times he looked quite clueless. In the first innings of
that match, Bangladesh were on course for a lead of at least 50. On a pitch with huge turn and uneven bounce, the name of the game was putting the foot on England’s throat. However, England’s lower order showed some solid defense and Mushfiq was quick to go on the defensive. England ended up leading by 24.

In the second innings, England raced to 0/100 in pursuit of 270+ to win the Test. Again, easy singles and twos were on offer. Giving singles works in limited overs cricket but NOT Test cricket. You simply can’t let the game drift, and Mushfiqur just does it too often. Against England, it was the brilliance of Mehedi and Shakib, rather than brilliant captaincy by Rahim, that saw Bangladesh home.

Against Sri Lanka, Mushfiq treated Suranga Lakmal like he was Kumar Sangakarra, showing way too much respect to a tailender, simply because he played a few good shots. Lakmal helped Sri Lanka post extra runs in both innings, and gave Bangladesh a target of nearly 200 to chase, which was at least 50 more than they should have got. Bangladesh crept home.

Shakib was superb in the 1st Test vs Australia in August

Against Australia recently, David Warner and Steve Smith were allowed to score freely and accumulate as they wished, even on a very challenging surface. Again, it was the brilliance of Shakib winning the match for Bangladesh. In the 2nd Test in Chittagong, Peter Handscomb and David Warner could barely stand or walk because of the heat. Mushfiqur should’ve seen this as an opportunity to strike, with the batsmen looking really tired. Wasn’t the case. They put a huge partnership that took the game away from Bangladesh.

All this in Bangladesh’s biggest successes over the last year. Here in South Africa, there wasn’t huge turn and it wasn’t ever going to be a spinner’s paradise. So what was Mushfiqur going to rely on? Shakib? He’s not playing. Mehedi? Still only a 19 year old. His seamers? His tactics? Wait, what tactics?

Bangladesh need to aim to be more than just Tigers at Home

Bangladesh are an emerging force in world cricket, but they must improve away from home to be really taken seriously in the cricketing world. To do this, four things are key:
  1. Play Mushfiqur as a batsman, ONLY: Remove Mushfiqur of the captaincy. Tamim Iqbal showed last year against England that he is capable of the job.
  2. Attacking, positive mindset: Sorry, but bowling first to “protect” your batsmen is not being positive. Pushing the field back and offering easy singles will not help Bangladesh win more games of Test cricket. Mushfiqur is responsible for this. In the end, what protection did he provide his batsmen? Bangladesh were out for 90 on a flat pitch, and embarrassed.
  3. Encourage batsmen to bat with patience: Can you believe Mominul Haque is in and out of the side? The general view is that he bats too slowly. Unbelievable. This shows that Bangladesh has a culture of “a quick 25-30 is better for us than a patient 70+ score”. It is ridiculous that players like Imrul Kayes and Sabbir Rahman are playing more Test cricket than classy Mominul. This thinking must change.
  4. Produce TEST quality seamers: How do you do this? By producing pitches back at home that encourage youngsters to take up seam bowling. Also, by working on the skills of these bowlers, and how they can get batsmen out, instead of simply rolling their arm over. Taskin and Shafiul aren’t Test bowlers. Subashis showed great potential in Sri Lanka and Kamrul Islam Rabbi in New Zealand. Why aren’t they playing? Where’s Mohammad Shahid? Also, the coaching staff need to help The Fizz find his ability to swing the ball back to the right hander. He’s showing glimpses of his class but needs to be persisted with.
Bangladesh are no longer minnows. This is fact. However, with Mushfiqur Rahim captain of the Test team, Bangladesh won’t achieve the results that their talent suggests they should. 
Time for a change at the helm.
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 been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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