Earlier in Dharamsala, Hathurusinghe had said he was fine with the make-up of the management, but Mahmud felt differently three weeks later in Delhi.
“I am performing only the role assigned to me by the BCB,” Mahmud said. “I don’t have the decision-making role as I have had in previous tours as a selector. Previously, I tried to keep myself involved with the team. This time, I don’t have a cricketing role. Firstly, I don’t want to be in this role like this. I have cricket in my blood. Coaching is my profession. But I am not involved with coaching with the Bangladesh team.
“I had a technical role even at the last World Cup when I could speak to players. But this time, I am keeping myself away. I am definitely not enjoying this role as the head of the delegation. I am just roaming around, playing the role as a guardian to the players. I am taking care of discipline, but this is not really my work. If I knew this was my role, I wouldn’t have come to the World Cup.”
Mahmud pointed to Bangladesh’s series against New Zealand in Dhaka (Mirpur) prior to the World Cup to suggest their preparation was not well planned. Bangladesh had played most of their ODIs in 2022 and 2023 in Chattogram and Sylhet to get used to good batting conditions, but then went to Mirpur just before the World Cup.
“I don’t know what I was thinking when I said before the World Cup that we’d play the semi-final,” Mahmud said. “Maybe I had seen the boys’ body language and playing style. I honestly thought they would do well in Indian conditions. I had great expectations. But I am feeling very bad that we just don’t have a fighting mentality.
“I was not in favour of playing against New Zealand in Mirpur before the World Cup. Why did we have to play on those spinning pitches? Why did we want to win that series?”
“I was not in favour of playing against New Zealand in Mirpur before the World Cup. Why did we have to play on those spinning pitches? Why did we want to win that series? We should have played in Chattogram and Sylhet. We lost the series despite New Zealand not bringing their main players. We should have been more serious, well before time, about the World Cup.”
“We have to play our best cricket in the next two matches. We must beat Sri Lanka,” Mahmud said. “Our players aren’t in a great mood. They have to do everything as they do, but they also are hurting. We had high expectations. We haven’t done well as a team. They [the players] feel that they have failed. The dressing room has become very quiet. We came here as a good team but we couldn’t perform as a team.”