Vol. 5 Num 1062 Mon. May 28, 2007  

grameenphone TEST SERIES
Another Bashar surprise

One would be inclined to think that fielding after winning the toss was the most shocking decision in the second and final Test but even that was overshadowed by Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar's decision about his future plans.

The under-performing Bashar told the press yesterday after losing the series deciding match by an innings and 239 runs inside three days that he wants to quit one-day captaincy but will be available as player for both versions of the game.

"I expressed about my desire to a board official today. It's up to the board whether they will continue me as a captain in the Test team or not. As a player I will be available for both one-day and Test teams. Captaincy is not the last thing to me rather I think the time has come to prepare someone for the job," said the most successful Bangladesh skipper.

But the fact remains that he has not been criticised as a captain rather came under scrutiny because of his extended bad patch with the bat, especially from the World Cup he looked completely out of sorts as batsman and fielder in the one-day game and his batting in the Test series added more misery to his wounds.

"I have taken the decision of quitting one-day captaincy because questions have been raised that I was in the team because of captaincy. Because of this I want to prove myself as a batsman. If I can improve myself then I will stay in the one-day side," he explained.

"I don't want to keep my position in the team as a captain rather I want to stay here as a performer," declared the right-hander.

His decision simply threw a challenge to the board as well the selection panel led by Faruque Ahmed ahead of next month's Sri Lanka tour where the Tigers will play three Tests and as many one-day internationals.

Many believe that except experience, he has nothing more to offer and has to battle for a place with players like inform Tushar Imran and Aftab Ahmed.

Regretting the decision to field first, Bashar however said that he was not the only captain in the world to make such a blunder.

"I must say we should have batted first. In the morning there was some moisture in the pitch but soon it appeared as so easy for batting. But everybody should understand that sometimes your decisions might backfire. I am not the only captain to make mistakes and if I am not wrong, many others did the same kind of mistakes previously.

"The pitch was absolutely okay but our shot selection was poor. I think the long 13 months' break from Test cricket was one of the main reasons behind repeating the same old poor batting. We have had very impressive performance in last two years before going into a long break."

Bashar said that they had a plan in the second innings to finish the match with some pride but it did not happen as his side were bundled out for 253 in the second essay after being dismissed for 118 in the first.

Bangladesh vice-captain Mohammad Ashraful made an entertaining 41-ball 67 but if the dismissal of Bashar was pathetic in both innings, then the way his deputy departed was simply frustrating because the team needed his stay at the crease more than a 46-minute fireworks.

"We failed to go with some pride which is most frustrating," said a disappointed Bashar, who was hopeful that the team will bounce back in the Sri Lanka series.

"It is not unusual what happened in this game but I am hopeful that we will come back in the next series in Sri Lanka," he vowed.

India captain Rahul Dravid (L) holds aloft the winners' trophy while master batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who scored centuries in both Tests, poses with the man-of-the series award at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. India won the two-match Test series 1-0. PHOTO: STAR