There are no shortcuts to success. But unfortunately in our country, most of us think short-term and want to find success overnight. Be it Test cricket or World Cup, we want to do well but don't want to follow the process. In order to do well, the domestic structure needs to be up to the mark and there must be enough competition. I feel like Bangladesh cricket is going backwards.
In the 2000s, we did not have the strength to beat the top sides. Therefore, we used to play defensively and for 'respectable losses'. In those days, our primary target was to bat full fifty overs in ODIs and bat as long as possible in Tests. Then came a generation of talented cricketers - Mashrafe Mortaza, Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah. They bettered our performances and replaced us in the team.
They have been consistent for a very long time but now they are, one by one, leaving. Age has become a factor, there are injuries and so many things. That's when the younger players need to step up and take the team forward. But the growth of these players has been poor. That's the reason why things are falling apart for us.
I think Bangladesh cricket is suffering from cancer, not some mere fever that can be cured quickly. India failed in the recently concluded World Cup. But that was a fever and we know how strong their pipeline is. They will come back strongly.
But cancer needs time to spread. It starts from a small-sized tumour and it takes a while to understand its gravity. This situation of Bangladesh cricket did not happen overnight. It was a long process and I will never blame the players for it. The actual problem lies higher up in the management, the people who run cricket.
I do not think the management cares for the players. It's up to them whether they would prepare players who will do well on the big stage or just play for the sake of playing. I do not see a bright future for Bangladesh cricket. Our progress has been very slow since our introduction to Test cricket. The current generation should have done much better especially with good coaching, technology and all but there is a lack of planning.
We are doing wonders in age-level cricket - be it Under-17 or Under-19. But are we really playing the Under-19 team? Are the players playing in the team genuinely under 19? Our team is doing so well, recently winning a triangular series in India. But why can't they perform in top-level cricket?
The thing is, if you have a 12th standard student sit for 10th standard exams, it will seem very easy for him. That's what is happening with Bangladesh cricket. The other teams are preparing their young cricketers for senior cricket through these age-level teams but certainly not doing that. I am not blaming the players. We are playing 21-year-olds against players who are under 19 which is completely wrong.
Cricket is by far the biggest sport in our country and the board has a lot of money. More than the money, what we need is people who will know how to utilise or maximise this money and where to use it. At the moment, cricketers are not emerging from districts or small towns. Because school cricket competitions are not being held. The culture has not developed yet.
But who should be held responsible for that? Certainly not the authorities of schools or small towns because they are looking up to the cricket board. Before constructing a house, you have to have a design in your mind. If you aimlessly spend money without a fixed design, the end result will be zero.
In an extended family, trust is very important. In good times, everyone trusts each other but when the time is bad, you tend to suspect your close relatives and the trust starts to break. I think the senior players of the team have lost trust in the board and there is now a massive communication gap between them and the board.
Also, I think we are improvising too much. Too many young players have been given opportunities. Promoting youngsters is obviously a good sign but they have to do well enough to find a place in the team. Everyone is not a Sachin Tendulkar or a Mohammad Ashraful. The youngsters should be given enough time to prove themselves in domestic cricket before giving them chances on bigger stages.
As I said earlier, our cricket is suffering from cancer and to get rid of that, we have to start from zero. If we start planning now, we will see the results four-five years later.