Head coach wants “one or two big away wins” to bolster his side’s confidence
“The big challenge for this ODI team is to try to win away from home under different conditions,” Domingo told ESPNcricinfo. “They are a very good team in Bangladesh. I think if we can get that confidence going away from home, it will be a big thing. I think playing away from home, we need to win one or two big games. Once you get the confidence and belief that you can do it, that will put the team in a much better place mentally.”
Domingo wants all-round improvement in skills to win outside of Bangladesh more consistently. “There’s a certain bit of up-skilling that needs to take place with bat and ball,” he said. “People need to improve in various departments to make sure they can win some games away from home. This team has won away from home in other conditions but to challenge them to win in those conditions is something that the team needs to embrace and take it forward.”
Top among Domingo’s priorities would be improving his side’s scoring rate. Bangladesh have an average of 238 runs in the 38 ODIs at home since April 2015, which goes up to 248 at a run rate of 5.68 in their 29 wins. There is a marginal difference in their average scoring away from home, with the figure going up to 241, but when they win abroad, that shoots up to 269 runs at a run rate of 6.13. Thus, Domingo says, Bangladesh must look to score 300-plus regularly to be at par with the teams ranked above them in ODIs.
“I am not at all concerned by the number of runs we are scoring in Dhaka,” he says. “You can only score as much as the wickets allow you sometimes. Not many times teams get 300 in Dhaka. Definitely when you are playing away from home, 230s or 240s are not going to win you many games. We have to be able to challenge ourselves, play expansively to get up to 300 and 350. It is of paramount importance in the modern game.”
To get to those scores, Bangladesh would need to change their approach. Their over-reliance on the four senior batters – Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah – remains unsustainable in any conditions; particularly when playing abroad, 300-plus can’t be managed by relying on just this quartet every game.
“The younger players have shown some glimpses and positive signs, but it would be good to see them perform a bit more consistently,” he said. “A guy like Afif has only played three [four] ODIs, so it is very hard to judge. You have to be patient with them, and they can learn a lot from the older players. I hate to put them under severe scrutiny and pressure. They are trying to find their feet at this level.”
Domingo said while the current group of senior batters in the side are, as a bunch, at par with some of the best batting groups in the world, even those four accomplished batters took a bit of time to get accustomed to international cricket.
“Obviously, it would be great if they started producing runs in every single game,” he added. “All teams rely heavily on their senior players to perform. India has Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli. England has [Joe] Root, [Jos] Buttler and [Ben] Stokes who are big players. The responsibility comes with the older players.
“If you go through examples, you think so many of our big-game players like Tamim, Mushfiq [Rahim] and Shakib, they also took a bit of time initially to find their feet in international cricket. Some of the wickets in Dhaka are not easy for batting. It has taken Mushfiq and Shakib a little bit of time to figure out what’s the best way to play in these conditions.”
“I am really pleased for Mehidy. He is getting recognised for his consistent performances,” Domingo said. “He is a wonderful team guy. He always has a smile on his face. He is willing to do whatever it takes to put the team in a better position.”
Bangladesh’s next ODI assignment will be against Zimbabwe, where they will be playing three ODIs in July. The Harare Sports Club, the venue of those matches, has an average score of 201 batting first, thus requiring a different type of adjustment for the side. After Zimbabwe, they also face England, Afghanistan, South Africa and Ireland in their remaining ICC ODI Super League matches, sides that would again test them differently.
Hoping to consistently successfully defend around 240 against teams such as these, or being given targets of around 250, seems increasingly outdated thinking. They have done really well to become a huge threat at home but, to be counted among the global game’s top sides, Bangladesh must look to bolder strategies on foreign shores.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84