Bangladesh’s shock defeat to Hong Kong a few days ago to go with their recent Asia Cup hiccup against Afghanistan would surely have rankled their fans, and with good reason. We are talking about a team that aren’t newcomers to international cricket.
They’ve played at the highest level for a good number of years, but the worrying thing for me is they have yet to arrive as a top class international team. To put things into perspective, for the same amount of time the hosts of the current World T20 event have been in international cricket, Sri Lanka had already won a 50 overs World Cup by then.
It is rather bewildering when you consider the immense passion for the game in the country. The cricketing atmosphere is no different to what you would experience in the eastern part of India. The game is played at a reasonable level throughout the country but the national team is still to repay the faith of its adoring public.
The team plays its first match of the Super 10s against the West Indies today in the capital, and Mushfiqur Rahim’s side must recognise that this is the format where they have the biggest opportunity to make a point. They are in their own backyard with the conditions more than suited to their players. Yet there is that unfortunate feeling one gets that should the Windies stumble today, it would be seen more as an upset win for the hosts rather than a victory which shouldn’t raise any eyebrows.
Some of the players may feel otherwise but the results tell a different story. They have scored some good wins in the ODI version but not consistently enough to be taken seriously for a big team. With a tournament of this stature having arrived at their doorstep, it’s a fantastic opportunity for Bangladesh to make people look at them in a different light. They will have their task cut out, though, against the current world T20 champions who themselves cut a sorry figure against India and must win to keep alive their title defence.
India and Amit Mishra in particular might have enjoyed a good bowling night, but Chris Gayle and the rest of the top order got their approach wrong. They took their time and prodded around a bit too much and it piled the pressure on the middle-order.
It’s not going to help the West Indies cause if Gayle believes he needs to be there from start to finish. Even if he goes berserk over six overs and perishes, there is good enough batting to follow and capitalise on the good start. A positive mindset gives you the best chance to succeed in this format, and we’ll know this evening if the defeat to India has woken up the boys from the Caribbean.
Professional Management Group