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Carte Blanche
April 13, 2006, 08:48 AM
"A skilled commander seeks victory from the situation and does not demand it of his subordinates."
- Sun Tzu

Inzy and Ponting may vary greatly in the ways they shepherd their troops, but as of April the 13th they share the sin of playing villains to a script millions of cricket followers have been weaving for over 48 hours. On both occassions, it took a heroic effort from the two captains to save the blushes for their respective teams. The brilliance and determination of Punter's dogged knock essayed not only a heartbreak for most of us, but also highlighted our frailty in rising to the occassion - a quality that distinguishes the good from the great. Compared to other typical test losses, Bangladesh enjoyed a relatively even proportion of contributions throughout this test; they, however, faltered to leaders who chose to take matters in their own hands and decisively delivered. Although the Aussies deserve all the praises for holding their nerves and justifying the 500,000$ cheque, the purpose of this article is not to embellish their victory, but to analyze the individual and collective performances of the Bangladesh team and identify the elusive piece of a heartbreaking puzzle.

The Eleven Men:

01. Javed Omar:

JO has been providing the team with decent opening partnerships lately. He isn't in a bad form and that's always a good news. He still needs to overcome the blunder blues of chasing every cuttable delivery and prodding tentatively to off cutters.
Grade: C+

02. Shahriar Nafees:

This has easily been the best test match in this youngster's career. His 1st Inn. ton will be memorable and one can only hope it's the start of many. That being said, he needs to flash back at his 2nd inn. dismissal and learn from that mistake. No time is a good time to relax, and overconfidence can be fatal when you attempt to play a half-cock stroll to a Brett lee yorker.
Grade: A+

03. Habibul Bashar:

Expectations have been high from the best batter and captain of the team. While his epic partnership with S Nafees propelled us to a commanding position, his irresponsible dismissal in the 2nd Inn. dug us an equally deep hole. To his credit, he has realized and publicly acknowledged his mistake. He also had the misfortune of witnessing what a true captain's knock is and in order for Bangladesh to win test matches in future, he must elevate his game to an inspiring level and lead by example.
Grade: C-

04. Rajin Saleh:

The former Vice Captain racked up exactly 100 runs in two innings. His dismissal in the 2nd Inn. was irresponsible, but he was equally unfortunate in the 1st Inn. for getting out off a No-Ball ignored by the umpires. He has reasons to feel confident going into the 2nd test and one expects him to add a little urgency to his batting in stead of being overtly defensive. He also needs to rotate the strike more often and not let the fielding side bog him down causing unnecessary pressure on his partner.
Grade: B

05. Mohammad Ashraful:

Ashraful has been disappointing in this test match. Lately he has been lending credence to the BanglaCricket humourists who have labelled him "The Eid" (for performing twice a year only). He has a chance of reversing it all in the two innings that await him in a week from now. While his constant chirps and friendly banter in the silly point position are entertaining, the fans would rather have his willow replicate that enthusiasm.
Grade: F

06. Aftab Ahmed:

This isn't the same fluent Aftab from the Kenya series. He had starts on both occassions, but failed to capitalize. The team benefits from his youthful exuberance and fine ground fielding, but he will be required to act more responsibly with the bat and resist the temptations to hit out against wrist spin.
Grade: C

07. Khaled Mashud:

Not quite the Pilot we are used to. His missed run out has proven costly and we expect better from the Mr. Dependable of Bangladesh Cricket.
Grade: C-

08. Mohammad Rafique:

The Keraniganj native is easily Bangladesh's MoM. His 9 wickets don't do enough justice to his character and fighting spirit that kept Bangladesh in the game until the penultimate session. This workhorse isn't getting any younger and it'll be disappointing to see him a retire without savouring Bangladesh's first test victory against an elite cricketing nation.
Grade: A+

09. Mashrafe Mortaza:

Masree drew first blood for us in the 1st Inn. when he scalped his bunny Hayden. He bowled his heart out in the 2nd Inn. but quite possibly dropped a historic victory when he dropped Ponting. I'm sure this will haunt him in his dreams for the weeks to come, but for now he needs to go back to the drawing board with the coaches and devise a dual-purpose plan of containing and attacking the batsmen who are already set. A fellow BC member has been suggesting adopation of "around the wicket" strategy against the likes of Gilchrist that evidently paid off in the 2005 Ashes series. It is unclear whether this crossed the minds of the Bangladesh thinktank, but it deserves a serious consideration seeing how ridiculously helpless Gilly can make the bowlers look almost at will. This tactic, coupled with Shahadat bowling from a different angle, will make life less easier for the batsmen.
Grade: C+

10. Shahadat Hossain:

This youngster didn't bowl as bad as his figures suggest. However, he erred too frequently in his line and length which negated the pressure he previously exerted on the batsmen. This spiral evidently had a demoralizing effect on him and the lack of consistency in his length cost him too many boundaries. On a lighter note, his celebration of Ponting's dismissal graced the newspaper headlines worldwide.
Grade: C-

11. Enamul Haq:

Another bowler who bowled better than his figures suggest. He tried his level best and revealed the weakness of Aussie batsmen against quality left arm spin - considered a dying art these days.
Grade: B+

The Team:

Leadership comes in different forms and endeavours. While it is a good sign to see Bashar take responsibility for his careless running that eventually triggered a mini-collapse, other members of the team (especially the batsmen) didn't come forward to compensate for the failures of their team mate. Not often have we seen the Bangladeshi batting line up enjoying fairly uniform contributions from all the top order batsmen in one inning. This did happen in the first inning, but unfortunately took a U-turn in the 2nd part. The batsmen folded under pressure and overconfidence was apparent. When compared to the Aussies, at least one of their players rose above the rest and made amends for the failure of his fallen peers. At first it was Gilchrist, and then very fittingly, Ponting. Given that the Bangladesh cricket administration already follows Cricket Australia as a role model, it's high time our batsmen started doing the same. A respectable 2nd Inning would have ensured at least a draw and seeing how the management emphasized on surviving 5 sessions in the 1st inning, it was surprising they didn't try a Safety-First approach for the 2nd inning. By the way, whatever happened to the tail that used to wag?

Negatives aside, this test hasn't been as bad as the last paragraph alleges. The greatest achievement has been making a point to the cricketing world about our steady learning curve and the potential of youngsters like Nafees and Enamul - something Ponting has already testified to twice within a week. This will also invariably raise the fan and critic expectations. Let us not forget that the Aussies were a relatively tired bunch before the start of the first test. Fatigue and surprise were two factors they didn't consider at first. Bangladesh will no longer hold these two trumps come 2nd test. There is a distinct possibility that the Aussies will regain their crushing form and bring us back down to earth. Hence, the expectations need to be adjusted accordingly. But that's not to discredit the positives we gained from this test. Bangladesh will be preparing for the 2nd test as a group better aware of their capabilities and will be charging to reach that extra level of excellence that seems to make all the difference. It is clear that alongside a concerted team effort, some individuals ought to step up and perform extraordinarily to make the difference between a winnable heartbreak and the unthinkable. So, will the real tiger please stand up?

6alltheway
April 13, 2006, 08:57 AM
Perfect. ;)

User Name
April 13, 2006, 09:15 AM
Javed Omar = C+ and Sumon = C- ???????????????

man!! you must have serious emotional problems!!!

sadi
April 13, 2006, 09:21 AM
after the way sumon got out and lead the team, I can totally understand

Carte Blanche
April 13, 2006, 09:24 AM
Javed Omar = C+ and Sumon = C- ???????????????

man!! you must have serious emotional problems!!!

Disagreement is part of the equation and a risk all the graders undertake. I forgive you for trying to attribute that to my psychological disorders.

I agree I have been hard on Bashar, but that is mainly because of his irresponsible run out. I simply can't forgive him for that. Also, I have higher expectations of him being our premier batsman and faltering at a crucial time which showed a terrible error of judgement. Did you actually see the dismissal? It was an easy run. He got out simply because he was lazy. He started out relaxed and suddenly realized - uh oh - this is trouble. It was too late by then.

sensible
April 13, 2006, 09:51 AM
I just have a few points to make:

1. Bashar needs to improve his body language. The truth is if we want a replacement captain, we don't have one. We Bashar is all we got at this moment. But he is not aggressive at all. I think he should study another "Bangali" Sourav Ganguly about being aggressive even if you don't have the worlds best bowlers or batsmen around you. He should remember that he is a senior member of the team and the young team members look up to him for direction. Finally he should learn how to play for the team from Ricky Ponting.

2. Ash should watch the innings of Adam Gilchrist over and over again just learn how to play for the team. This is a guy who was out of form coming into this match and his team was down 93/6 when he came on to the pitch. And look how he played. it was annoying the way Ash played and scored his 29 in the first innings. That's not what the team was expecting from the star player like Ash.

3. I think we're being too hursh on Pilot. This guy is unquestionably one of the best keeper in the world. Yes, he is not Adam Gilchrist. But when superstar bats man like Ash and Bash gets out the way they did, why expect so much from Pilot?

4. it's not yet time for Aftab to be in the test team yet. he does not understand what the team expects from him. Being a middle order batsman, he should play an anchor role. Not flashy 4s and 6s.

5. Overall, we don't have a team Bangladesh yet. We need a great leader to build the TEAM Bangladesh.

ahms
April 13, 2006, 09:54 AM
Before we start bashing our captain, we need to consider his mother's sickness. That could be contributing factor to his lack of attention. Overall, our top 5 batsman as good as any international player, and our bowlers are good enough. Two batsman Aftab and Mashud not comfortable in defensive play. They need to rectify, otherwise they do not deserve place in national team. Hope they show their best in 2nd test.

Rubu
April 13, 2006, 09:55 AM
Suman's 'worst of the century' runout costed us the match probably. given that, C- was being generous.

DotBall
April 13, 2006, 10:25 AM
Mashrafe: B- (he still bowled very well despite the drop catch)
Aftab: C- (slogging ones way out is not a thing for a batsman)
Shashadat: C (given his experience he had put his best effort; he went for more runs in other tests; still long way to go)

Bashar's irresponsibility was too big to forgive. I don't think anyone shoule use his mother's sickness as an excuse for his failuer. Fighting in cricket is not only with bat and ball, is it?

zahid
April 13, 2006, 10:26 AM
Post Mortem Lol

sunniath
April 13, 2006, 10:29 AM
i only regret three incedents,bashar's evening walk,and aftab's out in both innings.both times,aftab got out at a very crucial point.considering the fact that he is the last batsman before the lower-order begins,he should have played more sensibly.you can talk about ash.but to me,he should be kept out of any equation.if he scores,thats a bonus.even brett lee and gillespi have better temperment than him.
it was a very good performance overall.but we all know that we killed our chance to make history with our own bats.

Ejaj
April 13, 2006, 11:53 AM
Javed Omar = C+ and Sumon = C- ???????????????

man!! you must have serious emotional problems!!!

In my grading.. Bashar will get F for sure. No emotions.. pure fact. He is the culprit of the defeat.. all by himself.

i would give Both pace bowlers a better grade than C. may be B-. The tried their hearts out.

Tigers_eye
April 13, 2006, 12:18 PM
Every player have their role in a team. If he performs that role he would get a good grade. On top of it in test matches batsmen creating a partnership would get bonus points because they are playing for the team. having said that:

JO did his job alright in both innings. the 2nd innings out was unnecessary. so B or a B- would put him above the average.

Down the order Rajin would get an A+. His 2nd innings out is not his fault. He was running out of partners so tried to excellerate the runs. No harm there. Good foresight I would say.

Expected more out of K Mashud one of the senior most in the team. Few lapses he had would get him a below average. D+

Rest of the grades I would agree with CB.

Overall team: played way above average. B+ but could have easily get an A with some tight fieldings and showing urgency.

A = Excellent, B = Good, C = Average, D = Bad and F = Failed

User Name
April 13, 2006, 12:30 PM
Disagreement is part of the equation and a risk all the graders undertake. I forgive you for trying to attribute that to my psychological disorders.

I agree I have been hard on Bashar, but that is mainly because of his irresponsible run out. Isimply can't forgive him for that. Also, I have higher expectations of him being our premier batsman and faltering at a crucial time which showed a terrible error of judgement. Did you actually see the dismissal? It was an easy run. He got out simply because he was lazy. He started out relaxed and suddenly realized - uh oh - this is trouble. It was too late by then.

Thanks for your clemency.

The reason I attribute all this to your emotional distress is because you seem to be taking it personally. It is almost as if your relationship with Sumon has suffered because of this match. And you forgot how he scored 70+ and built a crucial partnership to get us where we've never been before.

fwullah
April 13, 2006, 12:31 PM
"By the way, whatever happened to the tail that used to wag?"Our tail: Pilot - has been passing a bad time with the bat since the SL tour to BD, so no surprises there, although I was expecting him to regain some form (at least score 20 off 80 balls in the 2nd innings when our chips were down).Rafique - he has always been remarkable against spinners with the bat, but his consistency with the bat and failure against fast bowling is always a suspect, especially with quality fast bowlers like AustraliaMashrafee - he, too, is always a suspect against against good quality fast bowling, and he does 'throw the bat around' rather than just think like an all-rounder and chooses shot selectionShahadat - not considered as a 'useful tail-ender' with the bat. Enamul - not considered as a 'useful tail ender' with the bat. When both or either of Shahadat or Enamul comes to bat, we have no choice but to think of themselves as unreliable since they have not done anything with the bat yet, even in ODIs. So, we can't expect anything from them.

Shumit
April 13, 2006, 12:37 PM
perfect grading CB. excellent post mortem.

Carte Blanche
April 13, 2006, 12:51 PM
Thanks for your clemency.

The reason I attribute all this to your emotional distress is because you seem to be taking it personally. It is almost as if your relationship with Sumon has suffered because of this match. And you forgot how he scored 70+ and built a crucial partnership to get us where we've never been before.
As you can see, some people actually think the C- was too generous. Bashar himself went as far as to call it pathetic in front of the press. Anyway, we are all entitled to our opinions. That doesn't make the F graders emotionally disturbed or cognitively retarded.

As for taking it personally, I was blissfully unaware of your existence till you graced this thread with your intelligent remark. The disagreement over Bashar's grading is not indicative of emotional disorder. While most have agreed with me, some people didn't. We don't see them taking a hack at X,Y or Z for that, do we? :) Anyhow, I will not let this degenerate any further. Let us move back on topic. I see that you have joined our site recently. Welcome aboard.

Orpheus
April 13, 2006, 01:18 PM
man you grading sucks!

Both Mashrafee and Shahadat should be above B definitely...It was the bowlers who kept us in the game...

Rajin Saleh is an A, he is the only one who actually played the right way in second innings.

Also Bashar should be give credit for his first innings score and some good moves on field... but that second innngs run out was pure pathetic... so I won't complain about that

Aftab, ashraful, Masud.... all F - C- ashraful's first innings batting was just pure stupidity...

Also I wouldn't complain too much with Mashud, he is just not good enough batsman - not his fault.

ChokkuMia
April 13, 2006, 02:18 PM
Good analysis. The boys will adjust quickly

Tigers_eye
April 13, 2006, 02:47 PM
Can we print the grading who got c and below and give it to the players and say "this is what everyone thinks about your performance". Those who got d and f's may not retail their place unless the improve in the next match.

TheWatcher
April 13, 2006, 02:56 PM
06. Aftab Ahmed:

This isn't the same fluent Aftab from the Kenya series. He had starts on both occassions, but failed to capitalize. The team benefits from his youthful exuberance and fine ground fielding, but he will be required to act more responsibly with the bat and resist the temptations to hit out against wrist spin.
Grade: C

This is actually the same Aftab we have seen during the Kenya series, the only difference is that he is not playing Collins Obuya or Jimmy Kammande on this occasion. The guy needs to understand he is no Tendulkar, and he needs to give respect to opposition bowlers when it is due. For the time being, he should cut off his aerial shots.

All of our batters, including him, should watch video clips of inninigs of Gilly and Hydos, two of the world's best stroke makers, to learn how to play according to situations.

Miraz
April 13, 2006, 03:07 PM
Carte Blanche post mortem is quite allright but I think he was quite generous to Pilot and a bit harsh on Shahadat.

In my opinion

Pilot - F : After such a stupid second innings dismissal when we needed him most and after missing crucial run out opportunity he should be rated F. His encouraging voice was also almost absent throughout second innings. His first innings batting was also below par.

Shahadat : B : He showed real aggression of a fast bowler and bowled quite well. He was unlucky in a couple of occasion and created a real opportunity to take Ponting at a crucial time, we failed to grasp the opportunity. His last three bouncer to Ponting was really very positive.

billah
April 13, 2006, 03:09 PM
Great analysis, Carte.

Bashar should get a D for not being assertive and for not rising to the occassion. He had the best opportunity to bring glory to his team and his nation. He blew it in the worst possible fashion.

Shahadat should get a B. Reason: regardless of his erroneous line, at an early age of 19, with all that speed, he brings is something that Bashar is so sorely missing. The magic word is aggression. He brings in this precious, enjoyable element of necessary disrespect that is so lacking in our team mentality. I would upgrade Shahadat to B even for the great show in his last over. "Never give up"! He showed us that. During the last 3 deliveries of that over, I was afraid Bashar was gonna run to Ponting to apologize for Shahadat's aggression. Bashar is so severely allergic to the stuff. Any team in the world would have been confident to throw a 307 challenge to the Aussies. Not Bashar, he conceded the match after the 3rd day's play. Whereas Shahadat - he did not give up until the last ball he bowled.

We desperately need more of that and less of Bashar captaincy.

rudro
April 13, 2006, 03:17 PM
01. Javed Omar:
Grade: C+

02. Shahriar Nafees:
Grade: A+

03. Habibul Bashar:
Grade: C-

04. Rajin Saleh:
Grade: B

05. Mohammad Ashraful:
Grade: F

06. Aftab Ahmed:
Grade: C

07. Khaled Mashud:
Grade: C-

08. Mohammad Rafique:
Grade: A+

09. Mashrafe Mortaza:
Grade: C+

10. Shahadat Hossain:
Grade: C-

11. Enamul Haq:
Grade: B+


Perfect!!!!!!! I would just add a '+' to Rajin's B, may even promote him to 'A' given the innings he played. How many runs he has scored is not a big deal. Imagine another toporder providing him company half the time he was there.

KricFreak
April 13, 2006, 03:38 PM
I would rate JO at least B+ for not doing justice to his name, which is GOLLA.
If he did, we would've been in even more trouble.

Hatebreed
April 13, 2006, 04:37 PM
I don't agree with the gradings. Rajin deserves a minimum A- for holding his nerve as long as possible, unlike our match-winning 'heroes' like Ashrafool, Aftab and Pilot whose inefficiency resulted in the overall failure of our team. Not to mention Bashar's impotency as a captain who failed to attack the Aussies when we had our claws on their neck. He batted well in the 1st inning then gave away his wicket by playing an unnecessary shot, and we all know what happened in the 2nd inning.

Shahadat tried his best with the ball. He deserves a C at least. He almost got Ponting on the 2nd inning also, which could have brought us back in the game. Aftab gets nothing more than a D for his pathetic batting.

Had we scored 50-60 more runs the result could be on our favour. I hope the players can learn from their mistakes and bounce back. Aussies managed a narrow escape, but they'll be more cautious in the next match. There's no room for error if we want to draw, let alone win against the #1 team.

Spitfire_x86
April 14, 2006, 02:03 AM
Golla deserves D at best.

rafiq
April 14, 2006, 02:40 AM
I would upgrade Shahadat to B even for the great show in his last over. "Never give up"! He showed us that. During the last 3 deliveries of that over, I was afraid Bashar was gonna run to Ponting to apologize for Shahadat's aggression.

Billah that's brilliant! Bashar's "bangaila" meekness is perhaps the most infuriating part of his character and is diametrically opposite to his aggression when batting. So he does have aggression, just not always.

Carte, great write-up! My thoughts on the team:

JO: I like this guy, believe he gives us good starts and sees the new ball off. With Nafis Iqbal, you don't always get a steady score. Really torn as to when we should go with the NI-NS combo for good, I don't think so yet, however.

SN: So SN is now ready to open tests...until he fails again? One thing he seems to have learnt, and Aftab hasn't, is to curb the mindless aerial shots that got him out against SL.

Rajin: why was this guy dropped from the team to begin with? Someone who can play pace, open an ODI, digs in, can field - why did we try all those experiments at 4?

Aftab: needs more learning. I don't think we can say he doesn't belong on the Test team, he is too good of a batsman and will be great in the ODIs. But we may want to look at Kapali or Rahim for 6, need someone to hand around given the tail isn't doing much these days.

The tail's batting: obvisouly it's gone. Most worried about Pilot's batting whch has been non-existent for some time. That error in the second innings is a mistake I would make, not a Test class batsman. I thought he was really good behind the stumps expect for the missed stumping of Gilchrist in the first innings, ultimately costly. Also, I expect him to be mentally tough and talk to the bowlers even if Bashar won't!

Shahadat: So do we need to play Russell? I don't think so, its great to see a true pace attack at last.

I think Bangladesh played exceedingly well and what hurt were singular lapses of reason. Which one is bigger:

- Aftab's dismissal end of Day 1, taking with him our ability to press 500
- Pilot's missed stumping of Gilchrist, Aussie 1st innings
- Bashar's runout second innings, confirming the impending collapse
- Mashrafee's dropped catch off Pontingh (franlky, it was too late)