Dark clouds are hovering above Bangladesh Cricket for the past few days following the whitewash inflicted on the Tigers by the West Indies. The usual motifs and thematic passages were once again at play following the 17-run defeat in the Dhaka Test as the hosts were bundled out for 213 on a fourth day Mirpur wicket in two sessions.
The blame game, the need for an explanation for this latest kerfuffle and variations of these particular themes began re-enacting themselves as the board president Nazmul Hassan looked for familiar answers to past debacles like the lone Test against Afghanistan. It was all very familiar.
Ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, however, would have averted scrutiny that follows big series defeats as he had performed up to expectations in the ODIs and then also in the first Test until his injury rendered him unable to take the field. The Tigers cataclysmically dismantled with Shakib gone. There was, however, no sign that Shakib, who will skip the tour of New Zealand to attend the birth of his third child, had been under any duress due to latest failings of his team. But as part of the unit, the criticism often is felt even if it does not fall squarely on his shoulders.
For the record, the BCB president a day before had pondered why a spinning track was necessary while there were five pacemen in the squad and also the cause for failings in Test format from experienced batsmen. He said that he did not know about the tactics or strategies that the team were going to implement but the assertions were that there were failures in planning and the players and management will have to answer. With criticism levelled at the experienced players' aversion to playing first-class cricket, Shakib, who was attending a program yesterday arranged by social purpose organisation Friendship, said: "Whoever said that, it was his opinion. I don't want to give my opinion here and don't think this is the platform to give such opinion. Talking or mudslinging is not something I am good at or what I would like to do."
Mudslinging is one familiar aspect in Bangladesh cricket; another one is the lack of justification of decisions or having anything that resembles a process. "There is no right or wrong in cricket. Every decision taken is done by the coach, captain and board to win. When things don't go well, you ask questions. But there are times when something goes right but the process was wrong. When there is a victory you don't ask these questions. You also have a responsibility to ask questions during those scenarios," Shakib told the reporters present. From entrenched positions there are a few ways that these things usually go. While the cricketers had raised their voice against the misgivings of the domestic structure, the BCB usually countered such instances with their habit of shifting blame. While the accountability of responsibility should not be a thorn for the cricketers alone, however, given shot selections of some of the country's most experienced batsmen -- like Mushfiqur Rahim playing a reverse sweep in the first innings of the second Test during a crucial phase of the game -- the accountability must come from everyone concerned who have a job to do in their respective roles. Are the roles defined or is mudslinging all we have?