After accepting the totals of more than 300 in five innings in the 2019 World Cup, Bangladesh’s bowling attack may need to change the mindset. The same attack that is going to win a match at home is a bit diminished in the overseas.
Both England and Australia played in this tournament in more than 380 against Bangladesh and on both occasions in Cardiff and Trent Bridge – under pressure when they saw the flow of ideas. Apart from this, they emptied before starting the attack of batsmen. They were not looking for the wickets first, and became defensive before the batsmen attacked.
There is a lack of out-of-the-way speed options in Bangladesh and for some time there was no legpinner. He will not change overnight. It is down that BCB did not really push for home pitches, or backed legpinners in domestic cricket. When the teams arrive, the strategy to stack the side with a piece of fingers on pitches and bits that produce turn, is well documented.
But far away from home, Bangladesh was not really the leader of the attack, an issue which has become clear in this World Cup. One reason for this is that the fast bowlers have not really been standing, while the spinners have to show support against the players living at home, in adverse conditions.
Mustafizur Rahman’s form has been incompatible, and he is now a death-bowling specialist. He has all the skills, but has not done enough cuts as a new bowler. Yet, Bangladesh is not sure about what should be its new ball attack. After facing Opener uncomfortable against spin bowling, Mehdi Hassan and Shakib Al Hasan have been used. But it is not clear what is the best bet of Mashrafe Mortaza, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mustafizur or Rubel Hossain with the new ball.
In fact, Mustafizur and Rubel and most recently Saifuddin have stood in line to bowl in all the last ten overs.
This lack of clarity also reveals how Bangladesh’s bowling is played on slow and low pitches in ODIs, where you can get away with bad balls with a new ball, because most balls are outdated due to scoring It becomes difficult
Even Shakib’s role is not clear. It is an option to attack at home, but in abroad it becomes a fix-it-all, when the bowler attacks on the other end. Only the role of Mehdi seems obvious, although Bangladesh is determined to dismiss it till the 35th over.
The lack of clarity was shown how Pacers chose to go against Australia. They tried to keep the ball out of reach of Aaron Finch and David Warner, even if the batsmen were striking well on the given room, but it was difficult to keep long balls away on the stump. In this World Cup, Pacers has focused more on a lengthy short bowling outside of the stump, but it has scored 177 runs in 171 balls for one wicket.
Spinners have not got much success in the form of wicket-keepers, but they have done better work in prevention. There is still a place for Shakib and Mehdi’s choice, which has a good understanding of the size and shape of the conditions, pitches, and plains to be more effective. They can do more to attack batsmen who are new to the crease. They need to find Plan B, maybe the batsmen should be forced to play cut shot – which is their stock option at home.
Overall, however, this is a limited issue. The two bowlers who control the attack are somewhat controlled, but the big issue is that fast bowlers are unable to use favorable conditions. Is it because of lack of experience in foreign conditions, or the fact that they spend too much time on the bench or back home on the border?
In the short term, Bangladesh has to find out that at least with their attitude and with the new ball can be more attacking with their existing resources and skills. England’s early wickets can bother batsmen in the dressing room. If Bangladesh wants to be a top four team, then they can not be satisfied with only a group of skilled fingers to get wickets in favorable conditions at home. They will need a clever, more confident, bowling unit against the big sides, and before they can be able to stand for pressure instead of buckling before coming.