After the three-wicket loss to India in the second Test at Dhaka on Sunday, Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan was left to rue missed chances made during the fielding in the match.
At the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Bangladesh missed three catches and a stumping in India’s first innings when Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer came together for an important 159-run stand for the fifth wicket.
On Day Four, Mominul Haque dropped a regulation catching chance of Ravichandran Ashwin at short leg, which turned out to be a crucial turning point as the right-hander shared an unbeaten 71-run stand with Shreyas Iyer as India secured a 2-0 series sweep.
‘It is slightly disappointing, as other teams don’t miss the chances that we are missing. Those made the difference. We could have bowled them out for 250 instead of 314 (in the first innings). There was a chance in the second innings (too).’
‘But it is part of cricket. We fielded well in the T20 World Cup and the ODI series (against India), but we couldn’t do it in the Test match. Maybe it happens due to lack of concentration or fitness.’
‘We have to find out how better to concentrate for longer, and avoid making mistakes. Other teams don’t give so many opportunities. We miss regulation chances. Our bowlers have to create 13-14 chances to take ten wickets. Other teams have to create nine chances to take ten wickets,’ said Shakib in the post-match press conference.
Asked where he felt the match was out of Bangladesh’s grasp, Shakib pointed towards the one-handed six which Ashwin hit against off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz over deep mid-wicket. Eventually, in that over, Ashwin hit two back-to-back fours to get India over the line.
‘When Miraz got hit for that six. Here, losing three wickets quickly is quite normal. Getting a hat trick was possible. I think Ashwin and Iyer both batted well on a pitch that wasn’t easy. Credit to them. I think we tried in every which way. We fell slightly short, somehow.’
‘When you have taken seven wickets for 75, you can expect to win. They needed 71 runs, we needed one wicket. It is difficult to say (what went wrong), but we tried everything. Perhaps we could have bowled better, and maybe created more chances, especially on this type of pitch. (But) I am happy with the way we fought throughout the Test.’
In 2023, Bangladesh will play five Test matches against Ireland, Afghanistan and New Zealand at home. In 2022, Bangladesh created a huge surprise by winning a Test against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui, apart from ODI series victories against South Africa and India in away and home conditions respectively.
Despite the loss against India to end the year which was very rough in T20Is, Shakib expects 2023 to be better for Bangladesh. ‘I felt that, overall, we had a great year in 2022. Our mentality, especially, where we lacked, I think we have improved a lot. The sort of things we talk about in the dressing room, the type of leadership that’s being created, we can have a different 2023.’
‘We should win all three-Test series (against Ireland, Afghanistan and New Zealand) next year. We should have a T20 team ready in the next six months, one that will do very well in the 2024 T20 World Cup. We have a settled ODI side. We have lost just one home series since 2015 (against England in 2016). If we can play as a team, and get contributions from every aspect, we should do well in the World Cup.’
The left-arm spin all-rounder signed off by requesting more first-class matches for Bangladesh to make further improvements in Test cricket. ‘We need to introduce more first-class matches to do seriously well in Tests. A player with 50-70 first-class matches is a lot different than someone who has played 8 or 10 first-class matches.’
‘I am sure most of the Indian players have more than 100 first-class matches under their belt. I don’t play domestic cricket for a long time, but even those who are playing, how many do they play? They will need 10 years to reach 80 first-class matches. If we could have done that in five years, we may have better Test players.’