Shakib Al Hasan thinks it’s time for Bangladesh to adopt a rotation policy to ensure their top cricketers remain fit and refreshed.
He wants the players, coaching staff and the BCB to be on the same page should such a policy come into effect. He believes this will also help unearth newer players good enough for the top level.
“When these breaks are in place, you can give more opportunity to players and you will have players in the pipeline as well,” Shakib said. “So we have to plan by looking at the bigger picture. I am just talking about part of it, but we will definitely discuss this in more details.
“I will give you an example from India. Their players had the least injuries in their history last year. One of the main reason was their rotation policy. It helped them build many players who got exposure. At the same time, their players were fresh when they came to the side. Everyone, including Virat Kohli, got rested for one of the formats.”
Shakib, who was granted a break by the BCB for the short ODI series in Sri Lanka, also wants the players to come forward and tell the team management that they are not fit enough. He also called for the coaching staff, including the physio and trainer, to gauge when a player is not fit to play a match or series.
Bangladesh got through their World Cup campaign with several injured players including captain Mashrafe Mortaza, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mustafizur Rahman and Mosaddek Hossain.
The BCB, however, had named all of them in the initial 14-man squad for the recently concluded Sri Lanka series which the visitors lost three-zip. Changes were made when Mashrafe aggravated his hamstring injury during a training camp while Saifuddin’s back problem persisted, and both had to be replaced on the eve of their departure to Colombo.
Batting and bowling weren’t up to the mark in the three-match series but Bangladesh’s lackluster performance was as much down to poor body language and several fielding errors. It suggested that many of the players were tired after a long World Cup and since performance and fitness are so closely connected, Shakib said that breaks are imperative.
“A player can’t play all the time, they need to take breaks. The responsibility falls on both sides. It is also the responsibility to understand. A player is saying that I need or a break, or the coaching staff is telling a player, you need a break. So both sides must understand.”
Before the Sri Lanka-bound squad was named, there was a strong case for the BCB to give few players a break to allow them to regain fitness and form. Shakib said that giving established players breaks would also mean that there would be opportunities to test fringe players.
But he also stressed that to avoid controversy, the communication should be clear between the players, coaches and the cricket board. “If we are to do this, we must have very good coordination between coaching staff, board and players,” he said. “Otherwise there will be criticism if the right message is not sent.”
Shakib, however, remained hopeful things can turn around in Bangladesh cricket if a long-term plan is put in place.
“I am sure the BCB are planning for the next three or four years. We have already appointed two coaches, and once all of them get together, the BCB can put forth their strategy. If we can work together, I think our cricket can go forward like it did in the last four years.”