Bangladesh look to negate end-of-tour fatigue


 Bangladesh team is hungry enough to not let their customary end-of-tour fatigue get in the way of their improvement in Test cricket, according to Tamim Iqbal. Although there is a considerable threat of rain on all five days of the second Test in Mirpur, the pursuit of one last achievement is set to drive the home side.

The question comes up whenever Bangladesh are ending a series or a tour. There have been many instances when they have impressed at the start but end with a poor defeat. Against Pakistan earlier this year, they won the ODI series 3-0, the lone T20 and drew the first Test. But they lost the second Test, the last game of the tour, by 328 runs.

It happened against India too, when they drew the solitary Test and won the first two ODIs but lost the third one. Against South Africa, Bangladesh lost the T20 series 2-0 but fought back to win a maiden ODI series. Also, having dominated parts of the drawn first Test against South Africa in Chittagong, the team now believes that a better result is possible in Dhaka.

Tamim said that the coaching staff has kept everyone interested in training by trying things differently. They have been successful as the Bangladesh players have felt relatively fresh despite playing continuously since the World Cup.

“I think it depends on each individual’s mindset,” Tamim said. “It is true that before this year, we haven’t been able to achieve anything big. But we have done that in one-day cricket this year. Every player is hungry. They want to improve in Tests. We have a lot to improve on and if we get tired mentally, it will affect our performance.

“The physiotherapist and trainer are working closely with us. They try different types of training every day, so that nobody gets tired. We now enjoy training and team meetings. I think that if we are enjoying what we are learning, it gives you better results.”

While they have won more matches in 2006 and 2009, this year has been significantly better than any other in their international cricket history simply for the quality of opponents they have beaten. Since last October, they have won a bilateral series in each of the three formats.

While these are genuine signs of improvement, their progress in Tests has not been as rapid this year. They did well against Pakistan in one Test but from selecting a lopsided line-up to batsmen performing below par, they are yet to become a better Test team.

Tamim sounded out a warning that despite the confidence from the Chittagong Test, playing at their best is a prerequisite to stay competitive. He said that starting as well as they did in the first Test would be important to have a good game in Mirpur.

“2015 has been a good year, especially in ODIs,” he said. “We have a considerable break after this game, we all know that. We also know that the remaining match is against the No. 1 Test team in the world. We have to perform in all departments if we are to have a good result.

“We have to play at our best. We have to execute our plans. We cannot leave anything to chance because we are playing against the No. 1 side. Starting well will be important, with the bat and ball.”

Tamim will be responsible for one part of that job. Alongside Imrul Kayes, he gave Bangladesh a good start in the first Test but got out to the part-time left-arm spin of Dean Elgar. Tamim was bowled around the legs to a full toss after batting solidly for nearly four hours to score 57 off 129 balls. He, however, said that he would keep playing the shots he prefers even if they have some risk attached to them.

“I think I made one mistake in the whole innings, I shouldn’t have played that shot,” he said. “I don’t think I tried to do anything else in the other deliveries I faced. But you need to play one ball poorly to get out.

“I will try to play watchfully but at the same time, I have to play my shots. If I get out trying to play my preferred shots, I will not be disappointed.”