"Maybe give the guys a bit of breathing space," said Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo in a virtual conference on Thursday, urging the media not to "harshly judge" players over a few days of cricket in the ongoing intra-squad BCB President's Cup.
According to Domingo, it was 'unfair' to ask players or management reasons behind the batsmen's failure -- especially the top-order failures which have been a common feature of the 50-over tournament so far -- as they took the field after a long seven-month halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is true that coming off such a long break, players would have to contend with some amount of rust and it would take time to regain their old form. But contrary to Domingo's characterisation of the coverage as "unfair" in its criticism, the media had mostly anticipated the rust during the lead-up to the tournament.
What was perhaps not anticipated is the manner in which mistakes have been repeated time and again. Are professional players not expected to make the utmost use of practice sessions to rectify mistakes, both technical and mental, and apply the corrected approach out in the middle?
And in that regard, the three-team BCB President's Cup is the best practice platform for players to help them realise their mistakes before they go and repeat those mistakes in international series or tournaments where the stakes will be much higher.
But it seemed as if the players were adamant on repeating the same mistakes. Mushfiqur Rahim twice, consecutively, made the mistake of throwing his wicket away while trying to scoop a pacer after being well set -- once when he was on 103 and then while on 52. Both times there were no questions about how he played -- as it was excellent -- but rather questions were raised regarding his choice of shots, having gotten out to the same shot in the previous game as he seemingly repeated the same mistake twice.
Soumya was another batsman whose batting approach raised questions -- something the selectors said they would be focusing on more than performances in order to select players for the next national assignment -- and his wayward dismissals.
And those were a few of the mistakes that were pointed out and not just the lack of runs or consistency, as those remain somewhat justifiable considering the fact that players returned after a long halt.
While Domingo jumping in to defend his charges would surely give the players a sense of comfort, the South African must consider whether he is sending a wrong message to players by doing so as he may be disappointed and may also be punitive if the likes of Soumya and Mushfiqur keep on repeating mistakes in an international series or tournament.