During the third T20I between Bangladesh and Pakistan, a post from the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) social media handles created a stir. Pacer Shohidul Islam's head was morphed on Shakib Al Hasan's body in that image attached to the post. Days after that, it made another comical error as the tickets suggested that play would begin at 10 pm in a Test match. And then during the Test match, the BCB misspelt the name of the team on the official team sheet. It seems like nothing is going right at the moment for them. Whatever they are doing is turning into a disaster.
Bangladesh had probably the worst World Cup campaign in recent memory. They didn't get much time to relax as Pakistan arrived in Bangladesh to play three T20Is and two Tests soon after that. The BCB announced a young and inexperienced squad for the T20Is. But the biggest talking point was the 'axing' of Mushfiqur Rahim. And that's where began a series of events that was absolutely uncalled for.
Chief selector Minhajul Abedin insisted that Mushfiqur was rested ahead of a busy schedule. But days after the announcement of the squad, Mushfiqur told the media that he was dropped, not rested. The aftermath was ugly. A player of Mushfiqur's stature was issued a show-cause notice and later warned and asked not to speak to the media.
Let's switch to the on-field issues. As mentioned earlier, the T20I squad was young. Saif Hassan, someone who is considered a player for the red-ball format, was suddenly called up to the squad out of nowhere. There wasn't much to talk about his T20 record.
Saif played two matches in the T20I series but failed to register a good score. Just before the third T20I, opening batter Parvez Hossain Emon and pacer Kamrul Islam Rabbi were called up to the team and it looked like Emon would replace Saif in the XI.
But Najmul Hossain Shanto, who scored a solid 40 at number three in the previous match, was asked to open the innings in the third match. Then what was the point of suddenly calling up a young player in Emon and keeping him away from the action? And why was Shanto not let to bat at the position where he scored runs?
What about Kamrul Islam Rabbi? He did well in the domestic T20s and could have replaced Taskin Ahmed in the XI. Taskin, who is a key member of the Test side, should have been rested in the third match ahead of the Test matches. Rabbi was ready to replace him. That's why he was called up to the team. But it's the BCB and you cannot predict what would happen.
Taskin played the third match as Rabbi didn't find a place in the XI. He picked up an injury and was ruled out of the first Test match. And at the end of the third match, Emon and Rabbi were released from the squad and they went home on their own.
The T20Is took place in Mirpur and there the pitch is a major issue. After winning back-to-back series playing on slow, sluggish surfaces, Bangladesh faltered in the World Cup in the UAE where pitches were way better.
In between the New Zealand series and the Pakistan series, the pitches got enough rest and everyone including the players hoped for better pitches, keeping in mind the next World Cup in Australia. But things did not change as the Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur saw three low-scoring matches and the likes of Shahid Afridi criticised Bangladesh for continuing to prepare such surfaces.
Bangladesh announced a 15-player squad for the first Test match against Pakistan. All of a sudden, just a day before the commencement of the first Test, pacers Khaled Ahmed and Shohidul Islam were added to the squad and the number of players in the squad was increased to 17. This happened on the same day when Pakistan announced a 12-member squad for the first Test.
And none of those two players found a place in the playing XI and it did not surprise anyone.
Bangladesh had their moments in the first Test in Chattogram but Pakistan in the end emerged victorious. And before the completion of the first Test, opener Saif Hassan contracted typhoid fever.
Probably that's why Mohammad Naim, who opens the batting in T20Is, was added to the squad. Now that very selection raised a lot of eyebrows. Naim has so far played six first-class matches and averages only 16.33. And most importantly, the last time he appeared in a red-ball match was more than one and a half years ago. It raises an important question. Why have the other players who are consistent in the domestic circuit been overlooked? Do the selectors follow what's happening in domestic cricket?
With the addition of Shakib Al Hasan and Taskin Ahmed, now as many as 20 players are part of the squad for the second Test. If the BCB can afford to have this many players in the squad, then why was Aminul Islam Biplob sent back home during the World Cup?
There are so many questions unanswered and so many problems unsolved right now. And it's up to the BCB to find the answers and solve the problems before they go beyond the remediable stage.