Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim referred to his side’s 32-run loss to Afghanistan as a “shameful defeat”. The Bangladesh captain cut a frustated figure in the post match press conference after his side slumped to a defeat at the hands of minnows Afghanistan and called on the players to show more committment.
“This is a shameful loss. For a split second I thought we wouldn’t lose this game, being honest with you. I thought that someone or the other would stand up and bail us out. But in the end we were not good enough.”
The foundation for Afghanistan’s historic triumph over the hosts was laid by a 164 run stand for the sixth wicket between Asghar Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari which took the underdogs from a precarious situation at 90 for 5 to a competitive score of 254.
Bangladesh were taking the game to an interesting climax when a middle order collapse in which Bangladesh lost four wickets for four runs cost them the match.
Mushfiqur questioned the determination of his players and urged them to raise their game, saying that those not motivated enough will be replaced : “We have to replace those players who, after being motivated, do not understand. It is not my or someone else’s team. It is a matter of the nation. I think it is time to replace those who cannot perform. If they don’t feel bad after losing to Afghanistan or Sri Lanka, they should not play cricket. After seeing some of their cricket, I think some of us can’t feel what is going on. The team management and selectors will probably think about changes.”
“If I knew what was wrong, I would have fixed it after a game. I don’t have any answers about fielding. Our fielding hasn’t been this consistently bad for so long.
“I have to answer this question time and again. If the players don’t understand, it becomes tough. I cannot spoon-feed all eleven players. If they don’t show responsibility at this stage, it becomes very tough.”
Mushfiqur’s defensive tactics have come under question after Bangladesh failed to up the ante with Afghanistan at 90 for 5, instead allowing Stanikzai and Shenwari to play their natural game. Much like Bangladesh failed to capitalise after reducing Sri Lanka to 67 for 8 a couple of weeks back in the 1st ODI, a combination of very ordinary fielding and Sohag Gazi’s finger injury handicapped the hosts.
“We were one bowler short so I had to make do with some part-timers. I think they batted really well at that stage. We dropped a couple of catches. But I still feel we should have chased down this target.”, reasoning that he had to make do with part-timers like Nasir Hossain and Mominul Haque.
With Gazi ruled out for the rest of the Asia Cup, Mahmudullah has been called up the squad.