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Bangladesh’s questionable eight-batsmen approach

Bangladesh’s Test team appears to be taking one stride forward and two steps back. Their first Test series victory over Zimbabwe in their own backyard, combined with Mahmudullah’s retirement drama, is expected to be the series’ highlight, and will most likely overlook the dubious thinking process that claims their success mantra is an eight-batsman formula.

Backing only two frontline pacers against Zimbabwe

Bangladesh’s decision to field eight batsmen, if not nine, after Mehedy Hasan’s century against the West Indies not long ago, and only two frontline pacers against Zimbabwe in the one-off Test in Harare paid off against a weakened Zimbabwe, which was missing regular skipper Sean Williams and Craig Ervine due to COVID.

It just served to demonstrate that Bangladesh is yet to develop a Test culture with the right mindset and strategy, as it simply revealed a lack of killer instinct and a defensive mindset to begin the game.

Mominul Haque Defended his decision of playing eight batsmen

It’s unclear what drove them to take this stance, especially given that pacers are known to take advantage of Harare’s conditions, and Bangladesh has previously backed them overseas. Mominul Haque, Bangladesh’s Test captain, defended his decision to play eight batters, implying that it won’t be strange to see them do so more frequently in the future, especially after their success.

“I think in these conditions we opted to play eight batsmen because Shakib bhaiwas there,” Mominul said after clinching the series. “If Shakib bhaiwas not there, then perhaps the combination could be different. After seeing the wicket what I felt is that on an opening day, perhaps two or three guys will have some problem but as we have a long batting line-up we can come out of it,” he said. “The wicket was dry and the sun was shining so I thought maybe the spinners will get some help on the fourth or fifth day and we all have confidence in the ability of our spinners that if we get some kind of turn our spinners can exploit it.

“There are times when I am in two minds while taking a decision, but I try to make sure to get over it as quickly as possible and try to back my decision. If we had lost, our decision might have looked different,” he added.

Bangladesh Head Coach Russell Domingo looked confident despite his actions

Despite his actions, Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo appeared confident in his fast bowlers ahead of the series against Zimbabwe, even declaring that it was just a matter of time before the pacers won matches for them.

“I have been very happy with the progress the fast bowlers have made. They have worked so hard. They never shy to put in the hard yards. They deserve some success. The results haven’t always come for them. Whilst they might be inexperienced in the number of Tests they have played, they have worked really hard at this. They have improved massively in the last 18 months in their understanding of fast bowling, skill-set, endurance. I don’t think it’s too far away when a fast bowler wins us a Test match in tough conditions,” Domingo had said on July 5.

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