2023 ODI World Cup – Pick Bangladesh’s confusing, chaotic and controversial campaign – LSB

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The most confusing and confusing batting order in the ODI World Cup. The form of fast bowlers and spinners who take a dive. A captain is busy berating a teammate before a tournament, then leaves the team in the middle of the tournament, ending his career with a controversial decision on the field. Team manager Khalid Mahmood described the Bangladesh team as a “quiet dressing room” after seven matches. It all led to Bangladesh’s worst World Cup campaign in 20 years.

The team that finished third in the ICC ODI Super League was expected to do well in the World Cup in India. Bangladesh felt that at least the weather and pitch conditions would be similar to those of their home country. But their constant obstacle has been an inability to turn a two-man series lead into major tournament success.

They did not lack time or tangible resources for preparations which allowed captain Shakib Al Hasan and coach Chandika Hathurusinghe to experiment with several batting positions in the lead up to the match. But everyone thought it would stop before the World Cup.

Bangladeshi media traveling in India used words like “experimental”, “inverted”, “gratuitous” and “madness” to describe the regular batting shuffling. When Ravi Shastri joked about Bangladesh’s method of selecting the batting line-up in TV commentary, many fans were angry. But no one really understood why Hathurusinghe and Shakib kept changing their batting line-up in every match.

Mehdi Hassan Miraz’s sudden rise in batting form appears to be Aladdin’s magic lamp. His century against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup convinced them that he could bat in five different positions in the World Cup. Mehdi is not a stroke of luck either. He is a hard-working player and gives his best in every position, but it was too much to ask of him. He did not meet the expectations of the coach and captain. More importantly, the move around Mahidi meant that it destabilized Najm Hussain Shanto and unified Hridui, and limited Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah.

Shantou was dealing with inconsistent form, changing batting position and then having to lead the side against two top sides. Most of Hridoy’s 518 pre-tournament runs came in fifth place, but he was demoted to seventh place for most of the tournament. His only big hit came when he batted in the fourth. Mehdi’s new positions also meant that Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah were stuck playing a firefighting role (such as stopping batting collapses) from lower batting positions for most of the tournament.

Batting mix-up is the most obvious reason for Bangladesh’s failure in the World Cup, but two other problems have emerged. Firstly, they lacked stability in the opening pair. Tenzid Hasan and Liton Das barely made good starts, with the latter committing a few light sendings off. Secondly, Bangladesh’s dismissals against the short ball have become a major talking point.

Their batting debacle has taken a lot of attention away from their bowling struggles. They didn’t have a great score to defend against New Zealand and India, but played poorly against England, South Africa, Pakistan and Australia. They started well against Afghanistan, then found some steam against Netherlands and Sri Lanka.

Where has the form of bowling gone in Bangladesh?

In the World Cup, fast bowlers had the worst average while spinners’ average dropped from 29.47 to 43.60. It is particularly disappointing from the fast bowlers as they have built up a great reputation across all formats in the last couple of years. They may have missed Abadot Hussein, but their five-man attack played crucial match-winning roles on multiple occasions before the World Cup. However, they were unable to put together one of these efforts when it mattered most.

Bangladesh’s reputation as an emotional cricket team is well known, so performance on the field is bound to be affected by incidents off the field. The change of captain and coach in the six months leading up to the World Cup was worrying. There may have been enough time to readapt with Hathurusinghe who arrived in late February but the way the ODI leadership changed, it could not have sent the right message to the rest of the team.

Shakib Tamim drama

First, there was the story of Tamim Iqbal retiring and not retiring in July. He resigned from the leadership in August, and Shakib was then appointed as his successor. Bangladesh did not perform well in the Asia Cup, but things still seem to be looking good.

That was until Shakib gave an interview to T-Sports just hours before he left Dhaka for Guwahati in late September. The takedown became uncomfortable when Tamim attacked. Earlier this year, Bahrain Central Bank Chairman Nazmu Hassan said that Shakib and Tamim were not in a conversation. Shakib’s interview made it clear that there were clear differences between them. Tamim had also appeared on Facebook with a video earlier in the day in which he said a senior Brazilian central bank official had told him he would be dropped if he did not agree to call off the order against Afghanistan in the opening match of the World Cup.

If all this is embarrassing to the viewer, imagine what the situation was like inside the Bangladesh team environment. Given his seniority, not many would have questioned Shakib settling scores with Tamim just before the World Cup trip. For a week, it was the only topic on news channels and social media. Tamim was a popular figure in the dressing room, so he would not have completely disappeared from the players’ minds, as Shakib’s dismissal was intended.

Training confusion

There was some hope that the experienced technical staff could handle such a situation. However, when I looked at the structure of this delegation, it was very heavy. Hathurusinghe was the head coach with Nick Pothas as assistant coach. Mahmood, a board director and former Bangladesh captain who has been at the helm on a number of occasions in various coaching and management positions, has been appointed as team manager. Shortly before the start of the World Cup, S Sriram was appointed as technical advisor. Sriram also worked for Bangladesh before and during the 2022 T20 World Cup. His title was the same, but he was actually the head coach at the time. He received reviews from most players for his man management skills.

This is in addition to all the specialized trainers. Hathurusinghe described the situation as good in the first part of the World Cup, but Mahmoud said before the Sri Lanka match that he did not enjoy the role in which he was limited to being the head of the delegation only. Before their final match, Allan Donald announced that he was leaving his job as Bangladesh’s fast bowling coach after initially agreeing to stay on for another 12 months. His end was not great as the Brazilian Central Bank criticized him for not publicly approving Shakib’s appeal against Angelo Mathews.

Mahmood described the Bangladeshi dressing room as a “quiet place”. There were suggestions of this in many training sessions and matches. Journalists who have traveled with the team for decades have also noted this general lack of energy. Overall, their lack of competitiveness in most World Cup matches was a reflection of the body language many noticed in their team hotels and training sessions.

Captain Shakib and coach Hathurusinghe said on multiple occasions during the World Cup that they would only talk about important matters after the tournament. Shakib returned after the Sri Lanka match with a finger injury. Hathurusinghe, who usually returns home for vacation after most bilateral matches, returned with the team to Dhaka on Sunday. Bangladesh have a home Test series coming up in two weeks against New Zealand. Neither of them has spoken since the Australia match. Brazilian Central Bank (BCB) officials, who are usually talkative, have also been surprisingly quiet over the past 48 hours.

The difficulty of international cricket may allow Bangladesh to quickly move on from a weak World Cup, but officials must take a deeper look at what went wrong, not just on the field or off the field, but also at what the decision-makers are thinking. Every aspect of this team. Of course there is a buzz from fans and followers about poor individual performances or Bangladesh’s heavy reliance on local conditions. Will the Brazilian Central Bank resort to self-criticism? Will they ask any questions to the players and coaches? Will they dare to investigate?

Muhammad Essam is ESPNcricinfo’s correspondent in Bangladesh. @isam84

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