It was fun while it lasted. This team deserved to make it to at least the quarterfinal stage, rather than being dumped with the likes of Netherlands and Kenya. But they made a crucial mistake early on: they had no business to lose to West Indies (a team they have beaten comprehensively in the recent past), and not after failing to reach 100. (Actually, this team has no business getting out below 100 anymore. Stop doing that.)
No matter now, it’s all over. I feel most sorry for Shakib Al Hasan, the team’s captain and one of his country’s finest players ever. Unlike other captains, used to the ups and downs of victory and defeat, this guy has a harder time hiding his emotion. In a sense, he reminds me of Dan Vettori, another player who has tried to carry a team on his shoulders. The most poignant moment this tournament came when Hasan confessed he had given up hope of winning against England; in fact, he said, he didn’t believe they could win until the final run had been scored.
Maybe that’s part of the problem. The constant sense of fragility and worry. I don’t want to offer useless advice in the vein of Graeme Smith (who said Bangladesh needed to learn how to win — see definition of “begging the question”). I still say this team has the basics down: a handy troupe of spinners, a fine opener, and a couple of supporting batsmen. That’s more than they had five years ago. They also have a large population committed to supporting them (meaning, advertiser’s dollars, sponsors, and more young kids opting for cricket as a career).
Don’t sweat it, Bangladesh: there’s always 2015.