Bangladesh surprised even themselves by beating world champions West Indies in the recently concluded T20I series, according to the new coach Steve Rhodes. Though he praised the team's comeback in Florida, where they won both matches after going down 1-0 in Basseterre, he also warned against complacency going into next month's Asia Cup.
Bangladesh arrived in Dhaka on Thursday morning after winning both the ODI and T20I series by margins of 2-1. It followed an ordinary showing in the Test series where they lost both games inside six days.
"The Test series was tough," Rhodes said. "We took a bit of a beating. But I am very proud of the way the boys came back strongly. Winning the one-dayers was something that we fancied. It was great to have achieved that. The T20s came as a bit of a surprise. We really did play well in the second and the third game. I am delighted that we have two series trophies. It was a great effort. I am very pleased for Liton [Das, who scored a match-winning fifty]. He played magnificently in that final game.
"I think it would give confidence to the squad. There's nothing better than winning. We have already played pretty well in ODIs previously, so we are optimistic. We don't want to get carried away, but certainly, we are very pleased. We could have won the ODIs 3-0."
Rhodes said he wanted the Bangladesh batsmen to adapt quicker when they go overseas, although he did add that conditions in the first Test in Antigua - where Bangladesh were bowled out for 43 on the first day - was far from suitable for batsmen. Shakib Al Hasan and Nurul Hasan were the only Bangladesh batsmen to score fifties in the Test series, with Bangladesh's tally of 504 runs in four innings being their lowest-ever series aggregate.
"Our batting was exposed a little bit in the Test matches," Rhodes said. "I think we need to generally tidy up a little bit and try to improve our Test-match batting. But we have got quality players. We just need to adapt to conditions and opposition a little bit quicker in away Tests.
"I think in the first Test, the toss was crucial. The wicket seamed, bounced and swung. The West Indies attack - [Kemar] Roach, [Shannon] Gabriel and [Miguel] Cummins - with the Dukes cricket ball were very useful. Most batting [line-ups] would have struggled in Antigua."
Rhodes said that he will be on the lookout for taller and faster bowlers in Bangladesh, particularly for Test cricket, although he added he was quite happy with their performance with the white ball. Mashrafe Mortaza and Mustafizur Rahman did well in the limited-overs formats but they had to rely on the spinners in the Test series, despite conditions favouring seam bowling in Antigua. The rookie Abu Jayed's seven wickets at 20.42 was the only bright spot.
"I think both captains [Shakib and Mashrafe, respectively] in the ODIs and the T20s handled the bowling magnificently. We have some quality spin bowlers, and actually, the pace bowling [attack] proved to be more effective than the West Indies'. I am very happy.
"For the Test matches, we have to try to find a couple of quicker and taller bowlers who can hit the wicket, which the West Indies bowlers did."