Old cliché it may be, but ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’ is one that perfectly describes the mentality of the people that run Bangladesh Cricket. Not that it comes as a surprise to anyone, for if there is an administration that inflicts self harm it is the Bangladesh Cricket Board(BCB). And when you consider the cricketing administrators, that is no easy feat.
The latest round of Hari-Kari came about as a result of the debacle that was the recently concluded tour of Zimbabwe. Bangladesh went into the tour rightly very confident: Zimbabwe hadn’t played a test match in six years and even before their self-imposed exile from cricket, it was a team torn apart by the internal conflict and deprived of many gifted players.
Meanwhile Bangladesh seemed to have progressed both on and off the field, but with the big worry being inconsistency. So this tour was looked at by Bangladeshi fans as an opportunity to showcase that progress and also demonstrate some consistency.
What transpired was anything but, as Zimbabwe won the lone Test handily (a 130-run victory), and the ODI series was no better: Zimbabwe were up 3-0 in the five match series, before Bangladesh regained a little pride in winning two dead rubber matches.
As with everything Bangladesh, this has resulted in a lot of anger, emotion and reactionary commentary, albeit no burning of effigies. The caretakers of the game however have taken the negativity of the media and fans to a new level, by stripping Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal of the Captaincy and Vice-Captaincy respectively.
To most nations this would not be such a shocking move after a disastrous tour, as someone must be held accountable, but Bangladesh cricket cannot be compared with that of Sri Lanka, England, India, South Africa or even the recently humbled Australia.
The problem is not so much with the decision to strip Tamim of his post, because he is young and has seemed a bit distracted lately, but with that concerning Shakib Al Hasan. Shakib is Mr. Cricket as far as Bangladesh cricket is concerned; he is the leading bowler, leading batsmen, one of the better fielders, a leader, and without being dramatic, the present and future (he is still only 24).
No other current international captain has to shoulder so much responsibility with so little support.
Why then was he axed? Because Shakib failed to carry his team? No, he was the leading Bangladeshi run scorer on the tour and took the second highest haul of wickets. Was it because he failed to pick the right team ? No, he had no input to the makeup of the team. Did the team lack effort and fight, were they badly captained? Once again, no, the team fought right until the end not only in the Test match, but also in the ODI series.
It was because he dared to criticize the decision to review the position of Captain after every series (he felt it resulted in cliques and disharmony in the team) and voice his concern at not being consulted as to the constitution of the touring squad he was expected to lead. And the final nail in his coffin was his constant refusal to kowtow to the supposed legends of the domestic game, who with few accomplishments to their name (on and off the field), still felt it was their duty to constantly snipe at him from the sidelines.
Bangladesh cricket may have needed a wake up call, and Zimbabwe were kind enough to provide one. It is also obvious there needs to be a change brought about in the machinations of the team, but one fears, by laying the blame at the feet of the one bright spot amidst the sea of mediocrity, Bangladesh will plunge ever deeper into the abyss.