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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

‘If someone said they did not get the message, they are lying’

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The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and team management were left disappointed by the performance against Afghanistan but tried to remain positive about the outcomes of the match ahead of a do-or-die fixture against Sri Lanka today.

The team had a meeting yesterday afternoon in the presence of board president Nazmul Hassan Papon, but one player claimed that there was no anger boiling over onto the players as the team’s Asia Cup fate hangs in the balance.

While the Afghan spinners ran riot early in the first game on Tuesday, the Bangladesh bowlers were not able to keep the Afghan batters at bay in the death overs as the match slipped away.

“The players are still in high spirits. They know their roles and we talked about those sorts of things. It’s a very important game and the players are focusing on what they have to do,” BCB cricket operations chairman Jalal Yunus said yesterday.

However, the board’s frustration was evident from team director Khaled Mahmud’s statements to the media during the press conference yesterday.

Technical consultant Sridharan Sriram had said in a recent press conference that the communication from the management’s side had been clear about the roles of the players. He said that sort of clarity was important but the batting performance did not show that clarity.

“Foreign coaches talk in foreign languages. Some speak English while some speak Hindi. But I speak Bangla. If they don’t understand what I am saying, then I don’t know what language I should speak,” a frustrated Mahmud said in relation to the lack of clarity among the players regarding their roles.

Mahmud said that the communication from the management had been very clear but the team lacked execution of the plans.

“It’s not that they don’t understand what is being said. They all understood and I keep reiterating to them. They are used to Bangla so there is nothing that they should not understand. I think they understood all of it. Making plans come to fruition is their responsibility and it’s also their responsibility to play. Providing assistance and organising training sessions is what we [team management] can do. They are the ones who have to go out and perform. If someone said they did not get the message, they are lying.

“Truth be told, we tried these things in training. If you have seen the preparation matches in Dhaka, maybe we got out, but the boys had clear message of how we wanted to bat,” he said about the lack of aggression and losing wickets.

“If you are afraid of losing your place in the side, you will never perform in international matches.”

Sri Lanka have their own spin arsenal featuring Wahindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana but Mahmud did not want to compare the Sri Lankan spin threat to Afghanistan’s. “Just because they have leg-spinners does not mean we can’t bat last,” the team director said.

Mustafizur Rahman’s form was a concern as well. Asked if the tendency to count on Mustafizur as an automatic choice should end after poor performances away from home, Mahmud said: “Maybe. I don’t know. It’s a good question and we are worried.”

However, he reiterated the management still believed in the left-arm pacer and said the bowler would win matches for Bangladesh again.

In a do-or-die fixture, the Tigers will want all their key players performing in order to now go through to the Super Four stage.

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