BANGLADESH VS AFGHANISTAN
The Bangladesh captain was critical of his team’s batting efforts © BCB
Shakib Al Hasan, the Bangladesh skipper, was scathing in his criticism of the batting unit in the one-off Test against Afghanistan, which the visitors won by a margin of 224 runs on Monday (September 9). On a rain-marred final day, where the first two sessions were mostly washed out due to rain, the hosts failed to survive 18.3 overs in the final session, losing their last four wickets for the addition of just 30 runs.
“We probably got zero [out of hundred],” Shakib told reporters when he was asked to evaluate their performance. “The Afghans earned a letter mark, and we could not put them under any pressure. It is very difficult to accept [this defeat], so it is very disappointing,” he added.
In the truncated final session, Bangladesh would have hoped that the captain of the side would lead from the front and shepherd them to safe waters. Unfortunately, the ace all-rounder tried to cut the first ball of the last session from Zahir Khan and was caught behind.
“The whole blame goes on my shoulders. I was very nervous when I came out to bat and got out the first ball and it was my fault. I should have taken more responsibility and could have avoided the cut shot. We had to play only one hour and 10 minutes, and I got out the first ball. So, it became harder for the team. The dressing room would have felt more comfortable if I had stayed out,” he noted.
He was also critical of Mehidy Hasan opting for the review despite appearing to have been trapped plumb in front by a googly from Rashid Khan. As a result of Hasan wrongly placing challenging the on-field decision, Bangladesh ran out of reviews. Subsequently, in the 56th over of the innings, Taijul Islam inside-edged one onto his pads, and was wrongly adjudged LBW by Paul Wilson, with the lower order batsman not having the chance to challenge the call.
“Taijul’s dismissal [LBW] was bat-pad, but Miraz had taken the review. I think a player who has played cricket even for one day would understand that it was out. If he hadn’t taken that review, Taijul could have used it,” said Shakib.
Bangladesh continued to make elementary mistakes at the fag end of the Test. Soumya Sarkar, the last recognised batsman, pinched a single off the second ball of the 61st over, which resulted in Zahir getting the opportunity to bowl at the number 11 batsman, Nayeem Hasan.
“Soumya put his hand on his head after taking that run. It means he doesn’t understand what he needs to do, what is his role. These things have to be learnt with experience. And how many days it will take to learn… not easy to say,” he said.
Shakib also reckoned that they need a large pool of players to perform better across the three formats of the game. “If we want to play consistently well, then we have to improve the quality of our players, and we need more quality players. We have to improve in all formats. We have to improve in T20Is. In Test matches, we have won against big teams, but in T20Is we cannot get near big teams.
“We should understand first that who is more suitable for which format and have to stick with that. We don’t have too many options to choose. If you see our Premier League, there are only 10-11 matches and we have choose players from there. We have to pick T20 players from one T20 tournament – i.e BPL. And the other is NCL. So, we have to pick three types of players from these three options. I don’t think we we have enough options,” he said.
Shakib also expressed his unwillingness to lead the team in the Test and T20 formats, mentioning that he’s only continuing as skipper because the team isn’t in the best of shapes.
“I am not even mentally prepared to lead in Tests and T20s. But the team is not in a good shape, so I understand that I have to lead to get it back on track. Otherwise, I am not really interested in leading in any format. I can focus on myself if I am not captaining, which would help the team,” said Shakib, adding that captaincy was thrust upon him and Mushfiqur Rahim at a young age and now it’s time for the other players in the team to take over the role.
“I want to see the younger lot to take responsibility. We got captaincy at a very young age, but they have now turned 26-27. Unless you give them responsibility, you won’t know what they can do. The World Test Championship and T20 World Cup are up ahead, so we should plan for the next four years.”