Despite being humbled in all the three Test matches since taking over Bangladesh captaincy, Mominul Haque is upbeat going into the one-off Test against Zimbabwe at home.
The Bangladesh Test skipper spoke at length with Cricbuzz about his role as a leader, Bangladesh's struggles, missing the experience of Mushfiqur Rahim in Pakistan and many other things. Here are the excerpts:
How is it to be Test captain?
I was nervous in the first series, but now I am enjoying. I didn't understand it at first but now slowly I understand how it works. Learning how I should progress and plan and make it work. It's a gradual process, I guess you learn something or the other each and every day. I am taking my time and trying to analyse where I went wrong or you can say how I could have handled that situation differently.
Do you feel you can work better with long term captaincy? I mean you are not informed whether you are a long term captain or you are appointed on series by series basis?
Yes you are right that I am not informed clearly about it [whether I am appointed on long term basis or series by series basis]. As far as long term captaincy is concerned - not only in captaincy but in any work if you are doing with long term contract, then it becomes easy. You can make plans, what players want, when you will use them, team management - everything becomes easy.
Are you bothered that your duration as a leader is not clearly defined to you?
No it doesn't bother me. I am not thinking too much about it whether I am given series by series or long term basis. And you have to face these challenges in Bangladesh as it is a very usual practice here and you learn to take it automatically.
Do you feel your leadership skill didn't get the right exposure due to the fact your team did not perform as per expectation?
Maybe. If the team does not win or perform and you don't get the desired result then it's difficult to understand the quality of the captain.
But you seemed to have a very good chemistry with head coach Russell Domingo?
Yes I do have a very good understanding with Domingo and we have almost the same mentality though it [our chemistry] won't matter until we can come up with good performance.
Let's get back to your batting? Your last six Test scores are 37, 7, 0, 0, 30, 41. Are you feeling the pressure of captaincy?
No, I don't feel like there is any pressure due to captaincy. What I feel is like I am understanding the game better or you can say trying to understand it more. And you can't make a judgement just by one or two matches because after taking the leadership I played only two Test series. I think it will get better. Now I think about many things and when I will understand these things better, my performance will get better too.
But are you finding it difficult to focus on your batting due to captaincy?
No I don't agree with that because batting is very simple to me. When I am batting I only see the ball from the bowlers. That's all that matters to me when I am batting. I don't think about anything else.
So what is going wrong?
I think I am getting out every time after getting set. Same in both innings in Pakistan and also in one innings in India. And maybe it's because we are not settling down as team. Maybe everyone is having the same kind of problem I guess.
Where do you think Bangladesh is lacking in Tests?
We are not performing as a team. This is not an individual sports like athletics or chess. Cricket is a team game and we are not playing as team. Bowling, batting or fielding wise we aren't clicking as a team that will bring out a result.
Do you feel that unable to make partnerships in batting is hurting you badly?
You are right. Big teams that perform they play as a team and they make big partnerships. We are not having that regularly. That's why most of the batsmen are failing after scoring few runs. If you are putting up a big partnership that changes the environment in the dressing room too. And not only in batting you need to have partnership in bowling and fielding as well. Suppose you made a brilliant stop and someone else just followed that with a brilliant run out that's how it clicks.
Do you feel that you are getting exposed against quality pace bowlers?
When we go abroad, they make pacer friendly wickets. Not only us, it's same for any team against India. One series should not be seen as the benchmark.
But you failed in Pakistan too?
Yes, we made some mistakes there. In Pakistan series, the wicket we batted on, we should not have lost the match in four days. We should have batted better. At least we should have drawn. Maybe we didn't understand the situation. We couldn't read how we should have played in particular situations.
Did you miss Mushfiqur Rahim in the series?
I think it's a big loss, for a captain and team. Because he has been playing for a long time now, and team gets proper service from a player who has played for long. And juniors grow watching them play. So if we don't get them, it will be difficult as a new captain and also for the team. You must understand that there is a saying that seniors not only just play but they make others play as well. Experienced players understand the plan of opposition bowlers. Then they can make the junior players play. So it's also a loss.
What will be the biggest challenge against Zimbabwe?
This is an opportunity. We have Pakistan series after Zimbabwe series. This is a good opportunity for everyone to play as a team. We have to build up well as team. Not looking at personal achievements. We bowled well against Pakistan and it indicates that our pace bowlers are improving. So I think we should make an opportunity where pacers can perform when we will play in the upcoming series [against Zimbabwe] because it will also be beneficial when we will be playing outside home. And I believe it will also help our batsmen to prepare better because we have lot of matches outside home as well in the coming days.