Bangladesh registered their second successive humiliating defeat. While the first Test extended to final day, the second ended within two and half days. On the third day, the visitors surrendered meekly and failed to occupy the crease on a track which flat and very good for batting. Technically and temperamentally, Bangladesh have been so mediocre as a batting and bowling unit, it’s hard to point fingers towards the track or get excited about the bowling of South African bowlers.
On both the occasions, the tracks were flat. South Africa’s bowling unit did not have that firepower in first Test and in second, it was a half-strength attack. Neither their pacers bowled with deceptive pace or unleashed a barrage of short-pitch bowling targeting the ribcage area, still, Bangladesh top and middle order were found wanting.
“About the Bangladeshi batsmen, I don’t know what happened. We just stuck to our plan and at the end of the day they got themselves out”, said Rabada during the press conference after day two of second Test. Rabada’s statement indicates about the lack of application among the batsmen of visiting team.
Bangladesh folded for 172, following on from their first-innings 147, inside one and a half session, on the third day to suffer their heaviest defeat against South Africa in Tests and it would not sensible enough to overlook some matters for the betterment of future.
Rethink about Mushfiqur Rahim’s captaincy
This has not been the first time, but on previous occasions, Mushfiqur Rahim’s defensive mindset proved handy for Bangladesh and his mind-boggling emotional exhibitions made Bangladesh a butt of jokes in front of world cricket. A Test captain needs to be a man of strong personality and blessed with sheer confidence and attacking intent. But sadly, even after playing cricket for twelve years and leading the side for five years, Mushfiq remains fragile emotionally and pragmatic as a leader.
His poor decision at the toss in second Test even surprised Faf du Plessis and made him mock at Mushfiq. On the field he was a confused leader, who did not know what he was doing and with the bat, he failed to lead from the front. He never learned from his mistakes.
The time has come for Bangladesh cricket’s fraternity to rethink about Mushfiq’s role as a Test captain. Bangladesh need a captain who is not defensive and emotionally fragile as Mushfiq and at the moment, it seems, Tamim Iqbal is the ideal choice to lead Bangladesh in white clothes.
Imrul Kayes and Soumya Sarkar need a break
Imrul Kayes kept on expressing his wish to play as an opener towards the local press and his wish came true in South Africa. But sadly, he failed to prove a point. The manner of his dismissals was soft. Whereas, Soumya Sarkar frustrated me big time. I invested my faith in him and thought he would rectify his mistakes. But he was also the victim of poor technique. Avoiding an angled bat outside the offstump against pace bowlers is a basic thing and if Soumya fails to keep his basics right at this level, I think, he needs a break from Tests. And definitely, Kayes also needs a break to rediscover himself.
So, Bangladesh would be left with the task of finding an ideal opening partner for Tamim Iqbal in Test cricket. Even though some of the paid local sports journalists and fans in social media are crying about Shahriar Nafees, but BCB need not pay heed to such bullshits and give a hard look at the Under19 squad which did very well last year. Then in the domestic circuit, some of the young guns did cut a very good figure. Batsmen like Saif Hasan, Yasir Ali, Zakir Hasan and co are young and talented boys who are doing well at the moment and can prove their worth as the opening partner of Tamim.
Is the batting coach good enough?
BCB was not satisfied (!) with the previous batting coach Thilan Samaraweera and did not extend his contract. But the coach whom they appointed in place of Thilan neither had any better first-class career nor any exposure to the international circuit. Even his career as a batting consultant was nothing satisfactory. Moreover, Akram Khan, one of the big bosses of BCB, said, he was appointed to look after the lower middle and lower order batsmen which was quite astonishing.
Anyhow, it seems, Bangladesh forgot to bat in five-day matches as soon as Mark O’Neil was appointed as the batting coach. Even in New Zealand and against some quality attack Bangladesh batters showed enough character while against Rangana Herath at Colombo, temperamentally, Bangladesh batters were at their very best. But at home against Australia and in South Africa, the top and middle order batsmen made silly mistakes. Perhaps, Mark has not been able to carry on the good work done by Thilan. He has failed to create an impact on Bangladesh batters.
His contract was subjected to the standard of coaching and I don’t think, BCB should extend his contract.
Bangladesh need a competent batting coach.
So far, Courtney Walsh has not been impactful like Heath Streak
The arrival of Heath Streak rejuvenated the Bangladesh bowling. Especially, the pace bowlers were at their menacing best. But Streak left the scene last year and BCB roped in the legendary Courtney Walsh. Me and many of Bangladesh cricket fans expected a lot from Walsh, but in the course of time, the pace bowlers of Bangladesh started to lose their shine under him.
Bangladesh bowlers bowl well in patches but not like the kind of aggression and intent which they once bowled under Streak which is a matter of concern for BCB. Walsh has been around the corner for more than one year and by now, he should have been proved someone impactful. But time and again, Bangladesh cricket fans are left to miss Streak.
If Walsh is not delivering well enough, why continue with him?
This Test series should help Bangladesh to rectify their mistakes. Bangladesh’s world is not at a loss due to this defeat, but putting the mistakes under the carpet might prove catastrophic in future. And thus, BCB needs to take constructive steps.