Barely a week before the team left for India to feature in the World Cup, high drama unfolded in Bangladesh cricket with stories of a feud between the two icons of the game - Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal - making headlines. In the end, it led to the ouster of Tamim, just a few days before the tournament got underway.
But even then, expectations were high from Bangladesh, under the leadership of Shakib. The team got off to a winning start against Afghanistan, but lost the next six games on the trot to end its hopes of making it to the semifinals.
While the team’s dismal show has drawn flak from the cricketing fraternity, former Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza believes that going forward, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) needs to have a ‘realistic’ planning.
“The Board certainly needs to have strict planning going forward. In the next four years, there will be a ODI World Cup (in 2027), a T20 World Cup. So, instead of doing anything in haste, we need to have a realistic plan that can actually be implemented,” Mortaza told Sportstar.
“One of the main targets would be to find some exciting talents and keep them under a proper training regime. A lot of planning needs to be done…”
Mortaza, who is now a Member of Parliament, was the captain of Bangladesh during its last ODI World Cup campaign in 2019. Mortaza admits that ‘off the field issues’ ahead of this edition of the tournament affected the side.
“There are lots of reasons behind this debacle, but this is not the right time to talk about those things. Since I have been away from the team for a long time, I had no idea about their planning, or why they could not execute the plans. But at the same time, I must say that there were a lot of off-field issues that got highlighted ahead of the tournament, which obviously affected the team,” Mortaza said.
“All of us expected a much better performance, but that did not happen. However, it is difficult to pinpoint just one factor behind the debacle…”
Bangladesh is currently ninth in the points table and will play for pride against Sri Lanka in New Delhi on Monday. Mortaza, however, believes that going forward, the BCB needs to make the country’s domestic cricket more competitive and groom young talents.
“We have quite a few young talents, right from the U-19 level. Players like (Najmul Hossain) Shanto were in great form before the World Cup, but somehow they could not get going during the tournament. I am sure, a lot of youngsters will get their opportunities in the future, but we need to take care of these young guys and handhold them the way the world champion teams groom their youngsters,” Mortaza said.
“We need to prepare our youngsters for the future and make sure that we do not rush things. If we keep a player in and out of the team, it won’t benefit us. We need to have a right plan and train them accordingly. And, we must make our domestic cricket more competitive,” the former captain said, adding: “That’s very important now…”
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