Had the BCCI been wiser, it would have seen it coming. India’s first-ever ODI series loss to Bangladesh was a mishap waiting to happen. For a majority of the senior Indian players, the Bangladesh sojourn was forced on them at the end of a hectic season. They had spent four-and-a-half months down under, losing to Australia and then redeeming themselves at the World Cup before jumping on stage for the IPL. Many pleaded to be excused, but the BCCI wasn’t listening. But even as it pushed the A-listers on the plane to Bangladesh, urging them to give their best, it opted to take it easy. It didn’t think it prudent to hasten the search for a new coach. Instead, it chose the comfortable option of sticking with ad-hoc support staff.
Listless batting and unruly bowling resulted in two humiliating defeats where Bangladesh was rarely put under any duress. The languor was also evident in the knee-jerk reaction to the first defeat, with the team management deciding to rejig an otherwise stable outfit by dropping their most consistent batsman across all formats in the last 12 months, Ajinkya Rahane, and their two best fast bowlers from the World Cup, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma.
Suddenly, the team that looked good enough to conquer the world in Australia a few months back was dealing with a crisis of confidence. So much so that India’s most charismatic cricket leader looked disillusioned after the second straight defeat. When M.S. Dhoni talks about quitting you know the wound runs deep. It generally doesn’t take too long into the post-mortem of a loss for the blame-game to commence in Indian cricket. But this one was a predictable outcome of bad planning.