• Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dhaka Bank Cup 2014
West Indies vs Bangladesh

All not bleak after Grenada heartbreak

Bishwajit Roy

Those who sat bleary-eyed in front of their television sets till the early hours of Thursday were rewarded with heartbreak as once again victory eluded the Tigers even though they were very close to breaking the jinx of a winless 2014.

It is only natural that fans will despair over a defeat seemingly snatched from the jaws of victory, especially as there have been many such reversals so far this year.

But unlike those occasions, the Tigers should not be castigated for Wednesday's three-wicket loss in Grenada. However, familiar grumbles about Mushfiqur Rahim's intransigent captaincy will be fueled, especially his obstinate obsession with saving his best bowlers' overs for the death even when the game may not reach that far. That was the case during the first ODI and has been for a while now.

The result could have been different with a different team combination. One may ask whether the visiting think-tank was able to read the conditions properly and whether three spinners would have been the right choice on a slow, turning wicket. And Mominul Haque is a better option than Shamsur Rahman not only in the middle order, but also as a useful part-time bowler.

 But it would be churlish to take anything away from the masterly hands played by Kieron Pollard and Denesh Ramdin. Struggling at 34 for five, Ramdin did what he does best in this situation and Pollard was simply stupendous as the right-hander was at his hard-hitting best and held his nerve to guide his team out of danger.

But praise for opponents will not suffice for Bangladesh. Before attempting a postmortem of the defeat we must give some credit, even in defeat, to the Bangladesh team for their effort in the match.

With the backdrop of one defeat after another this year, Mushfiqur Rahim's men went to the Caribbean to regain their confidence and while they showed nothing extraordinary in their first match they have done a decent job, most pleasingly keeping up their disciplines for a majority of the match.

They lacked fireworks in their batting to finish a few runs short is a competitive total but there was no empty bravado in their batting; in complete contrast to their approach earlier in the year.

The bowling missed the variety and bite at crucial moments but no one would say it was undisciplined. It was frustrating not to win the match after destroying the top order so early but the bowlers deserve applause for bringing the team back into contention defending a sub-par total of 217 runs.

One question was however in everybody's mind: Why was left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak left out when conditions looked likely to suit the slow bowlers, the team's strongest suit?

While no explanation has been forthcoming, the new coach Chandika Hathurusingha's methods so far hints that he may have started preparations for next year's World Cup in Australia-New Zealand in earnest. The pacier, bouncier pitches in that region will demand fielding three pacers. The Sri Lankan had earlier preferred to provide seaming-friendly pitches during last home series against India and may now be trying to give enough opportunities to his pace department.

While there is nothing wrong with that he will have to balance that view with the need to maintain morale by turning around the Tigers' 2014 nosedive. 

Here the new coach will need to re-think his strategy and must take the advice of the people around him because his team desperately needs the winning-tonic to get back their confidence.

Published: 12:00 am Friday, August 22, 2014

Last modified: 5:27 am Friday, August 22, 2014

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