An all-round performance by Shakib Al-Hasan powered Bangladesh to a 50-run victory in the third ODI against England, giving the Bangla Tigers a consolation win after they lost the first two ODIs.
This is the first time in five years that Bangladesh have lost an ODI series at home with the last series defeat coming against England back in 2016. The South Asian side is phenomenal on home tracks, displaying the sort of dominance that India displays on its spin-friendly tracks across all formats of the game.
While the loss to England will hurt morale in the dressing room, Bangladesh will look forward to the upcoming T20I series against England starting on Thursday. With a consolation win preventing a historic whitewash of the series, here’s a look at Bangladesh’s incredible form in ODIs at home.
ODIs are the most popular format
Ever since their rise on the international stage, ODIs have been the signature brand of cricket in Bangladesh. Even among the fans, the demand to watch ODIs exceeds that of Tests by a wide margin, sometimes even rivalling the interest shown in T20Is.
The primary reason for this attraction towards a format of cricket now on the decline can be explained by how well Bangladesh have fared in the format compared to the other two.
Of the 406 One-Day Internationals they have been a part of since 1986, Bangladesh won 147 games, giving them a win percentage of 36.20%. While this figure is low, most of the team’s losses have come in their early years when they were regularly outclassed by much stronger opponents.
Since 2013, the team has won 13 of the 14 ODI series they were a part of at home, which included victories over South Africa and Pakistan as well as two historic series victories over India.
The popularity of ODIs can be attributed to the success of the Dhaka Premier League which ensured financial stability for its players over the years. Attendance for Test matches has always been low in the subcontinent, and it is much more costly for the Bangladesh Cricket Board to organise a five-day game in place of a one-day fixture.
The relative failure of Bangladesh’s national team in T20Is on the international stage meant that the format never really picked up the following as it did in other countries.
Lack of specialists
The lack of financial security and proper infrastructure to nurture talent meant that Bangladesh have been short of specialists over the years.
There has been no Cheteshwar Pujara in the Bangladeshi ranks who confined himself exclusively to one format of the game with all the players taking part in all formats. This bits-and-pieces approach meant that One-Day Internationals hit the sweet spot for almost all talented players as they give them ample time to settle on the field while not taking a heavy toll on their fitness level over the course of five days.
Bangladesh’s success at home can be attributed partly to their imitation of India’s approach to home games. Spin-friendly tracks mean that the Bangla Tigers always have an advantage over the visitors, especially so against the likes of Zimbabwe and the West Indies.
The duo of Shakib Al-Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraz has been phenomenal over the last two years with both players featuring regularly at the top of ICC rankings. Add to this the bowling prowess of Mustafizur Rahim and Taskin Ahmed, the talent justifies Bangladesh’s reliance on their bowlers to win most of the games.
The batting department itself has a long way to go, with Shakib Al-Hasan still doing most of the work even after a decade.
The development of Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah is a welcome development, but Bangladesh still need to find specialist batters if they want to convert this home advantage into overseas success.
Start of England’s resurgence?
England’s revolutionary ‘Bazball’ approach in Tests is the leading headline in cricket these days, but what goes unnoticed is their laid-back approach to ODI cricket since the team won the World Cup back in 2019.
The Three Lions have shifted their focus to T20 cricket over the past few years with their efforts fetching them the T20 World Cup last year. But back-to-back series victories to Australia and South Africa over the course of 2022 have led to questions back home about England’s preparedness for the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup 2023.
With a comfortable series win on spin-friendly Bangladeshi tracks, Jos Buttler and his team have silenced the concerns for a bit. For now, all the attention will be focused on the Ashes scheduled to be held in the summer.
England will have ample opportunities to prepare for the World Cup as they face New Zealand and Ireland in bilaterals before the tournament, but it remains to be seen if the defending champions can fare equally well in India.
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