Bangladesh had a lot of ambition going into the recently-concluded ODI series against England. Given their form at home and having secured a series win against India in their last home series, there was a serious chance to thwart the world champions. But, as the ODI series showed, the game has been evolving, and the Tigers were left with too many gaps to plug, even in their strongest format.
But, T20Is have always been a problem for Bangladesh; thus, it was a surprise when a new generation of players brought enough energy to win the series 3-0 and dethrone the reigning T20I world champions. However, the Guardian’s Simon Burnton, who was in Bangladesh for both white-ball series, felt that the T20I squad lacked a certain energy that was present in the ODI lineup.
“The T20 side appeared to have a bit more in terms of team dynamics, but I guess many variables are hard to quantify. Liton Das, for example, was abysmal in the ODI series and got out for two ducks. But in the third T20I, he played quite a magnificent inning. Unfortunately, I think England have a better side in ODIs, stronger batting, so there’s been a less impressive opponent in the T20 series,” Simon told The Daily Star during the third T20I at Mirpur.
In the first ODI, the Tigers put up a fight and pushed England, but a Dawid Malan ton denied them before Jason Roy left his mark on the second ODI. The batting approach from the hosts in the second ODI lacked conviction as no one, bar Shakib Al Hasan, showed intent after a top-order collapse.
When it came to the T20Is, however, there was a significant improvement in the batting approach compared to past T20 performances, and the effort in fielding was a cut above the ODI unit. The squad also rallied around Shakib, who kept England guessing throughout the T20Is.
Was the ODI side more traditional? “That’s certainly what we are seeing,” Simon said. “There is less energy. Lots of potential reasons for that.”
The likes of Mahmudullah Riyad and Mushfiqur Rahim have been mainstays of the middle-order in the ODI team, but with them already out of the T20 set-up, new batters are showing the way. So were older names responsible for fragile dynamics?
“That’s the key question. Younger batters coming into the T20 side played well, and batting in all the matches has been excellent. There have been very few disappointing performances, and Shanto has been the one who looked really strong throughout both series. So whether you lay the blame on the older players is difficult to say. But clearly, there is talent coming through,” Simon opined.
For Simon, the conditions were not conducive to going for more runs in ODIs, resulting in an issue away from home on better batting surfaces.
“I think that’s maybe the issue with playing in these conditions when there are often low-scoring matches, and you defend low scores. It doesn’t encourage a team to be as aggressive as they need to be to become a force on the global stage. Of course, you want to win games against big names on the international stage. But what you end up with is a kind of team with two faces — different as a prospect to face in home conditions than when away,” he said.
Simon also watched both captains at work, and when asked if Shakib was making a statement with his captaincy in terms of being more aggressive, he replied: “I think that’s probably a fair comment. It’s hard to judge over a short period, and the England ODI side was stronger.”