Bangladesh Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim termed the criticism of their average performance in longer format tad unfair, considering most of the top nations do not invite them for bilateral series on regular basis.
Bangladesh will however be playing 10 Test matches in the coming year, mostly abroad, something that augurs well for the immensely popular national cricket team.
“I have been playing for 11 years and I have never had so much cricket, Test cricket, in one year (referring to year ahead). We went out of Bangladesh to play Test cricket after almost two years. That’s not acceptable. If you don’t give us an opportunity but keep saying that we are no good, that can’t be fair,” the skipper’s tone was one of hurt laced with sarcasm.
“How do you find out if we have improved or not? I think that if we do well this year, if we make the most of this opportunity and get good results, then we will get more tours. Test cricket provides with you the best learning curve. And we will improve if we play more and more,” said Rahim, whose sentiments were echoed by their chief coach Chandika Hathurasinghe.
Bangladesh has a crazy fan following and the players also are known to get emotional and the Sri Lankan coach feels that they need to learn from India.
“That’s why we need to play more. The more you play and perform well, you know how to channelize the emotions like the Indian team knows as they are winning and are No 1 side in the world,” Hathurusinghe said.
Asked about their shock defeat after scoring nearly 550 against New Zealand, Mushfiqur admitted that the loss did dent their confidence to some extent.
“Yes, a little bit. But then we have to understand that merely doing well in the first innings can’t be enough. There is a second innings and one needs to be consistent there as well,” he said.
“To be honest, No. 1 team can’t be No. 1 because of two players. Both Virat Kohli and R Ashwin are great players, but lots of others, like Pujara, Rahul and Nair also did well against England. The pacers did well too, even if they didn’t take five wickets each time. Also look at the runs the lower order scored in every game. Kohli is in great form and he is one of the best in the world. And so is Ashwin. They are both big threats but there are other good players too.”
The Bangladesh captain seemed satisfied with the track which is hard with some help for the pacers early on.
“The pitch is quite hard, it’s great for batting and pacers will get help early on and the spinners will get good bounce. It’s a pretty good wicket and the ball will turn from day three or even earlier.
“The pacers are there to take wickets. They have done well, but I want more from them, and I believe they can do better, even spinners. Here there won’t be lateral movement like in New Zealand, but there will be reverse swing, and if we can show some skill with that, we can make it difficult for their batsmen.”
The problem with Bangladesh’s batting has been non conversion of good starts.
“Any batsman who is playing in the top seven, is responsible for starting well and building on starts. In Test cricket, 60-70-80 runs is not enough. They know that, and I know who is capable of what. If they can get starts, they should be able to play long innings.
“At the same time, no one player can score big if he doesn’t get support. So two-three players will score big, and the other batsmen must score 30-40 to support them. They are training and working hard, so hopefully it will happen in this Test.”