Can Bangladesh's ignominious defeat to bottom-ranked Zimbabwe in the Sylhet Test be termed as just a bad day at the office?
When a Test team fails to cross the 200 mark in eight consecutive innings and has been carrying the tag of inept competitors at the highest level of the game, how logical or constructive is it to adopt an escapist attitude towards that heavy defeat by terming it a bad day?
“Everybody has a bad game guys, bad day… you guys will often go to work and have a bad day at work and we had a really bad day at work in that first innings while batting. We will try and put things right with the players we've got.”
Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes made the above statement while talking to reporters at the Sylhet International Stadium yesterday, giving the impression that the Englishman has been quite quick to embrace the country's cricket authorities' short-sighted approach towards the longer-version game.
It was nice to hear that Rhodes was optimistic about his charges bouncing back in the second Test, which will start from November 11 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
“These guys are really determined to put things right and that's what I love about the Bangladeshi dressing room. They keep surprising me and they keep bouncing back. They will fight and [about] this next Test match, they are determined,” a hopeful Rhodes said.
When asked about the reason behind the debacle and planning, he explained: “Certainly, the only thing that went wrong in this game was our batting in the first innings. We lost the toss when there was not much happening and we did a great job in bowling them out for 282. Then we needed 350 or 400 and if we didn't get that score then it was always going to be difficult batting last.
"So, we missed an opportunity in our first innings batting and there was nothing wrong with our plans or tactics; we just made a mess of it in our first innings. To get rolled over for 140 and be 140 behind going into the third innings of the game was quite disastrous for us. It's something we will have to put right, whatever happens at Mirpur with our plans."
Very few would disagree with the coach's identification of poor batting in the first innings as the main reason behind the debacle, but Rhodes will have to do a deep dive to identify the real problem in Bangladesh Test cricket. It is not as if Bangladesh batsmen commit such mistakes once in a blue moon; it is a regular feature, a perennial problem regardless of whether Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan are in the side.
There are no shortcuts to fix the 'bad days' because it is in fact the good days that are the exceptions, and bouncing back in the second Test will not be enough to change that trend.