Chief selector Akram Khan on Tuesday rubbished the reports that a bitter feud between skipper Sakib al Hasan and his predecessor Mohammad Ashraful had cost Bangladesh the Test and one-day series against Zimbabwe.
Different reports suggested Sakib had a growing disliking for Ashraful, which created a sharp division in the team, with vice-captain Tamim Iqbal clearly siding with the skipper.
‘If Sakib had not wanted Ashraful then it would have been difficult for him to get into the squad,’ Akram told reporters at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Tuesday.
‘The team was finalised with Sakib’s consent. If that had been the case, we would have to think twice to put Ashraful’s name on the squad list. He had never opposed Ashraful’s inclusion,’ said Akram.
‘I maintained regular contact with the team. After the first day’s play of the Test five senior players had a meeting to discuss how to overcome the difficulties. Ashraful was one of them. If the team had internal clashes it would not have happened,’ added the former skipper.
‘He [Ashraful] joined Sakib, Tamim [Iqbal], [Shahriar] Nafees and Mushfiqur Rahim in the meeting and they had a crucial discussion.
‘These kinds of things affect the players while they are on a tour. They try to play as a team, sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t,’ said Akram.
Akram said the failure was due to lack of preparation and the team could not play as a unit as they failed to keep their composure after the loss in the first match.
‘We did not have enough match practice that is required for a team, who are returning to Test cricket after 14 months.
‘The players played a lot of cricket for nearly three years and then they went into a break. I thought that they could adjust but unfortunately it didn’t happen.’ said Akram.
‘The important thing is that you have to start well. After losing the practice match our confidence level had gone down tremendously and it couldn’t be raised,’ he added
‘There are a lot of other factors too, we got the coach at the last moment so it took time for him to get adjusted with the team,’ he added.
Akram praised Zimbabwe for how they prepared for the series but was not ready to admit that they were a superior side to Bangladesh.
‘They took a very good preparation. They played a lot of four-day matches against the Australia and South Africa A teams.
‘I don’t think they played extraordinarily, what I feel is that we made a lot of mistakes,’ said Akram.
-With New Age input