Ex-Bangladesh cricketer Aminul Islam (Bulbul) took to his social media profile to express disappointment about the continuous and apparently never-ending downfall of the Bangladesh cricket team. Right after Bangladesh's awful New Zealand tour earlier this year, Aminul had said that a big and inevitable collapse is coming up for the Bangladesh team.
The first World Cup captain and the first Test centurion of the country guessed it right- within the next eights months, the Bangladesh team is going through a devastating time.
They lost six of eight matches they played in the T20 World Cup. They lost all three T20Is against Pakistan in the series followed by the World Cup, and they also suffered a big defeat- by eight wickets- to Pakistan in the first Test of the two-match series which is also a part of the ICC World Test Championship's new cycle.
Regardless of the format, regardless of the condition, and the team combination, Bangladesh only have one thing to face- defeat, and sometimes, humiliation added to the fate.
But the Tigers had hinted something different right before the World Cup, beating Australia and New Zealand in consecutive two series at home. The wickets of those two series were unusually slow and drew criticism from around the cricketing world.
On this surface, batters suffered immensely to score runs, but the bowlers were on the top of the moon, taking ample wickets without even bowling much wicket-taking deliveries!
Right after those two series, Aminul talked to some of the local media outlets and expressed his old disappointment once again. He said the unusually low and slow surfaces are unable to provide real confidence to the batters, even the bowlers were also collecting some fake faith about their ability.
Aminul's fear proved again, and it's sure that he is the most unhappy person on the earth after his prophecy came true!
A fragile top-order without Tamim Iqbal
Since Mominul Haque took over the Test captaincy in 2019, Bangladesh saw five different opening pairs with Tamim in three of them. In the ongoing series against Pakistan, Bangladesh are bound to introduce one new opening pair in Dhaka Test as Saif Hassan, partner of Shadman Islam, who opened in the Chattogram Test is out of the Dhaka Test. And, Bangladesh awarded Test cap to Mahmudul Hasan Joy, who is not an opener, in the Dhaka Test, aiming to give him the rule of the newest opener!
Without the presence of Tamim, the top-order has been a sinking boat with a lot of holes in it.
After Tamim played his last T20I so far in March 2020, Bangladesh saw seven different opening pairs in this format. In contrast, in the two years ahead of Tamim's last T20I, Bangladesh played eight opening pairs with Tamim was in three of them, and the most runs, 376, have been notched up by the pair of Tamim and Liton Das.
This stat clearly indicates that the absence of Tamim made it tough for Bangladesh management to come up with a top-order that can help Bangladesh to lay a solid foundation on a regular basis.
Never-ending poor show against Pakistan
Ahed of the just concluded two-match series against Pakistan, Bangladesh played a total of 10 Tests against them and lost 9 of them with only a draw in 2015 in Khulna when Tamim and Imrul Kayes recorded the highest opening partnership in the fourth innings of a test- 312. Tamim recorded a double-hundred in that match, and Imrul posted 150.
Apart from that match, Bangladesh has little to remember against Pakistan, especially, in Tests. Even the famous Multan Test in 2003, that Bangladesh failed to finish well just for one wicket, became an old memory.
Apart from T20Is, Test is the format where Bangladesh were never comfortable- be at home or away, be it on bouncy surfaces or slow-flat surfaces. When the opponents are Pakistan, Bangladesh never miss the chance to prove that truth again and again.
After losing the T20I series to Pakistan 3-0, Bangladesh had a little hope to do well against them in the two-match Test series. They lost both matches and of course, by a big margin- by eight wickets in Chattogram, and by an innings and eight runs in Dhaka.
In both matches, Bangladeshi batters failed to perform according to their potential. In the first match, Liton Das hit his maiden Test ton and followed by a fifty, but others were dismal through the series. Mushfiqur Rahim smashed a 91, but that was a little from the veteran batter. He failed to deliver runs consistently. Mominul Haque, Bangladesh's Test captain, also had a series that he would prefer to forget.
Bangladesh will now embark on a two-match Test series against New Zealand in New Zealand- which is surely going to be a tough series for the Tigers. Will they be able to get some pride back? The biggest part of the answer to this question relies on their batters.
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