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View Full Version : The ‘Test Match’ Path of Bangladesh: Expectations vs. the Missing Links


Ahmed_B
June 9, 2007, 08:57 AM
Bangladesh had completed a first spell of Test Matches, consisting of around 5 years of play, which ended in May 2006 and then the BD team got a yearlong break from the Test-World. Despite all the criticisms from many, it can be said that the first 5 years have been nothing but the customization phase for the team. There has only been glimpses of promises and lot to forget as well. Right now, at the beginning of the second round, things are quite different for the team. The team itself has a fresh look, with a number of newcomers. There will hopefully be a new coach, and they already got a new package of Captain & Vice Captain. Not just that, even the expectations from them are not the same anymore. And that, mostly, because of their ongoing One-Day-Success over the last 2 years. Supporters and Fans have learnt to dream. They have started to go impatient when the team appears to lack motivation and zeal.

But that is just one side of the story. That is just the story of the dreams and frustrations of a huge 150 million population. It’s a picture vivid with emotional colors of patriotism and ego. It is all good, only when backed up with true vision and constant efforts and self-evaluation. However, there is a completely different side of the story which depicts the Test Match track-records of the tigers as anything else but effective enough.

I will not even try to assume or hope how the tigers might or might not do with the injections of fresh blood, or under the new captain and coach. But after watching them play Test matches for around 6 years, I have to say there are some very crucial missing links still quite obvious in their manner of playing and in their mindset as a whole.

The Missing Links-Batting Scenario:

1) Except for maybe 1 or 2 players, almost all the batsmen lack the patience required to see off the first few overs and get himself settled in the play. Many of them think that starting to hit bounderies is the only way to take off the pressure created by the bowler.

2) Most of the BD batsmen are quite weak in rotating the strikes. Their mindset is still totally overcast with the One-Day format of the game and when they are unable to get bounderies, their scoring practically stops. It results in frustration and ultimately make them gift their wickets.

3) Building a long patient and big innings is something still quite absent in the Batsmen’s mindsets of the team. Once again, owing to the One-Day mindset, a quickfire 50 starts looking pretty good to most of the batsmen. Whereas, the scale at which the batsmen must judge himself in Test matches is quite higher. Occasional 50’s might make a batsman quite handy in ODI games, but its not until someone has the patience to reach occasional 100’s that he can be considered a real potential for Test Matches. The patience and the willingness to play long and play high are still very much lacking in almost all the Batsmen of the team.

4) Selfishness, as I have said before, is vital for the strength of a developing team like ours. In a Test match, every batsman has to put a price to his wicket. Even it may sound stupid, but every batsman has to be stubborn not to give away his wicket before he reaches atleast the half-century mark, no matter how long it takes him! I don’t think I still see such a stubborn face in the team yet, except for maybe 1 or 2.

The Missing Links-Bowling Scenario:

Test match bowling is practically far tougher than ODI version of the game. Considering the strength of our existing and backup bowlers, I would say we still lack one good pacer and one good spinner for the 5th bowling spot. Otherwise, there isn’t much we can do about Test Match bowling immediately.

Last Few Words:
Test matches are highly dominated by Batsmen and it’s the amount of runs scored with patience which decides the final outcome. No matter how good we bowl, it will always be impossible to get ourselves in a position from where we can even Draw a match with the style and mindset of batting that the team possess right now, let alone winning a match! The overall thinking scale of the team in terms of batting is still set very low and still very much in the One-Day format. For this very reason, BD team ends up scoring a One-Dayish 250-300 runs with a One-Dayish strike rate in every innings of every test matches.

Unless we improve our batting by a huge margin and with proper mindset, we will only keep getting glimpses of hopes while we play a relatively weaker test team or only in cases when the other side has an equally bad Batting-Day as ours.

Instead of waiting for the other team to bat poorly, we need to start batting well enough ourselves soon, unless we still want to retain our identity as ‘the whipping boys’ in Test Arena.

Shafin
June 9, 2007, 10:28 AM
Front page material :up:

Aritro
June 9, 2007, 12:31 PM
Basically a spot-on post.

Carte Blanche
June 9, 2007, 01:27 PM
I agree for the most part. The selfishness you mentioned isn't selfish at all. It's a form of benefitting the team by virtue of accomplishing a personal milestone. This is something DW tried to instill in our boys when he first took the job. In fact, this is all I want from our batsmen, especially in test matches. Imagine if 3 of our top 6 batsmen managed to score a 60-70+ on a regular basis. We'd pass 300 each time.

BD-Shardul
June 9, 2007, 01:48 PM
Ahmed_B, I couldn't agree more with you on the following topics:

1. Strike rotation: Our batsmen can't rotate strike, but truely this is one of the toughest tasks in cricket. At least I think so.

2. Patience: Definitely our batters are impatient. See how Rajin got out after reaching 40s.

3. Selfishness: Appropriate not only for developing test teams, but for all teams.Test Career is all about selfishness.

4. Batting Dependent: Test matches are all about runs. If you can't score runs, then there is no need to play test match.

One World
June 9, 2007, 02:50 PM
I agree for the most part. The selfishness you mentioned isn't selfish at all. It's a form of benefitting the team by virtue of accomplishing a personal milestone. This is something DW tried to instill in our boys when he first took the job. In fact, this is all I want from our batsmen, especially in test matches. Imagine if 3 of our top 6 batsmen managed to score a 60-70+ on a regular basis. We'd pass 300 each time.

A big leap in the right direction :applause:

rah
June 9, 2007, 03:47 PM
dis is a great article man

sar2005
June 9, 2007, 04:13 PM
Nicely written.

You can't expect anything in test matches unless your batting delivers. It's all about batting, batting, batting. All other teams were scoring 400/500 regularly in early days against SL and Zim. But they were only able to fight with their batting performances. It is expected that most of the test teams will score huge total against us and if we can not bat welll, we can not save the game. Moreover, if we have a solid, consitance batting performance, we can even win a game on a bad batting day of opposition or a good bowling day of our bowlers.

Honestly, we are so far from test batting till to date.

mij
June 9, 2007, 05:53 PM
This is good article, we need to pass this idea to our team and management.

Rajowana
June 9, 2007, 05:58 PM
thnx for the article

Hatebreed
June 9, 2007, 06:13 PM
May I add, our test fielding has also been below-par compared to one-dayers. Granted it's more difficult to field for longer period of time, but so it is for other teams. Inconsistent performances and poor field placements have allowed opponent batsmen to dominate us for entire inningses. These need to be addressed with more training and better decision-making by the captain.
<o:p> </o:p>

scoilaheez
June 9, 2007, 07:20 PM
Spot on. But these problems will hopefully be fixed with the new generation of players. Players like Saqibul Hasan, Ashraful, Rahim, Mortaza have shown the right temperament.

ammark
June 9, 2007, 07:31 PM
Excellent article. Accurately examined the weaknesses, but I do think our bowling dept in test matches lacks depth too. Without Rajib providing support to Mashrafe, our pace bowlers arent of that high quality to play consistently in tests with success. Also the army of left arm spin really is one dimensional. In test matches, Razzak may replace Rafique, While enam has more flight and variety... but at the end of the day we still lack adequate leg spinners or off spinners.

Sohel
June 9, 2007, 08:06 PM
excellent observations Ahmed_B. thanks bro.

the question however remains: what do we do about it ? establish objective criteria for spotting genuine talent through a nationwide talent scouting system (NOT flash in the pan, specialized media events like "pacer hunt", but MLB-style ongoing talent scouting) ? play more first class cricket on a variety of sporting pitches that can harness that talent ? create transparency in the selection process by establishing reasonable performance standards ? establish a reasonable, case-by-case "grooming plan" for those selected for the different national and academy teams ?

oracle
June 9, 2007, 08:16 PM
Except for maybe 1 or 2 players, almost all the batsmen lack the patience required to see off the first few overs and get himself settled in the play. Many of them think that starting to hit bounderies is the only way to take off the pressure created by the bowler


I think that even with our impatient batsmen we see the possibilities of changing that behaviour. Ash plays a beautiful innings when he gets his century. It's a matter of reaching their zone . The other players have to keep on this target because once they learn to do this confidence will be boosted. Great article Ahmed!

Sohel
June 9, 2007, 08:23 PM
I think that even with our impatient batsmen we see the possibilities of changing that behaviour. Ash plays a beautiful innings when he gets his century. It's a matter of reaching their zone . The other players have to keep on this target because once they learn to do this confidence will be boosted. Great article Ahmed!

they obviously need to spend more time in the middle in year 'round domestic first class cricket before developing such "patience". the current NCL is shortened in favor of club cricket and other tournaments, and therefore doesn't allow that patience to develop adequately. i think each one of the 6 teams need to play, again i stress ON A VARIETY OF SPORTING WICKETS, a best of five, 4-day series and and a best of seven, limited overs series with EACH of the other 5 teams. practice makes perfect ... simple math.

BD-Shardul
June 10, 2007, 12:24 AM
May I add, our test fielding has also been below-par compared to one-dayers. Granted it's more difficult to field for longer period of time, but so it is for other teams. Inconsistent performances and poor field placements have allowed opponent batsmen to dominate us for entire inningses. These need to be addressed with more training and better decision-making by the captain.
<o:p> </o:p>

Fielding may be a problem, but it is nowhere close to the problems identified by Ahmed_B Bhai.

Ahmed_B
June 10, 2007, 07:52 AM
Thanks everyone for their responses and feedback. :)

Its an interesting co-incidence that Prothom-Alo published an article today in their ‘Stadium’ page (Article link here) (http://www.prothom-alo.org/fcat.news.details.php?issuedate=2007-06-10&nid=OTI5Ng==&fid=Ng==) quoting a number of BD batsmen about comparison between Test and One-Day batting. Here are the important parts translated:

Their opinions about Test vs. ODI batting:

Bashar: “Bowlers cannot go and attack the Batsmen in Oneday. But in tests, they have the opportunity to use all their weapons. The Batsmen have to score through that and at the same time not get himself out. So that’s the real tough one: Test Batting. The real test for the batsmen.”

Shahriar Nafees: “I feel that its far easier to score 100 of 50 balls than 50 in 100 balls. You can play the shots you wish in ODI. You can break the grammar of batting here. But a Test Match demands patience. It requires a reverse behavior. Here you have to stretch a 50-run innings to as far as you can. Its always tough to reverse your habit.”

Ashraful: “Bowlers get more freedom and opportunities in Tests. You can hit the ball through third slip and get a single in ODI, but in Tests it’s a definite catch.”

Mashrafee: “As a bowler I know, that bowlers are more aggressive in Test matches than ODIs. One-Dayers are not really a place for bowling experiments. Getting dot-balls is more important that getting wickets there.”

So what is the ultimate solution?

S. Nafees: “These habits cannot be changed overnight. Even one National League a year is not enough. IMO, cricketers should be introduced to 4-day cricket from the U-13 & U-15 level. In that case, they will get used to it from early age.”

Bashar: “Our Test Batting is so poor because we are not habituated to play long and extended innings. It is best if this habit is acquired in younger age.”

Mashrafee: “There is no other alternative to working very very hard for batting well in Tests. Even Sachin took 200 balls to score his 100. He could have played more strokes if he wanted. But he didn’t! Because he did not offer one single chance in his whole innings. That is Test batting!”

My Two Cents....

After reading the interview-based article, its obvious that the basic problem in the current BD players, both young and elders, is the lack of temperament. Unfortunately, the system we have adopted is good enough to produce flashy ODI players only. And ofcouse, there is another added technical problem of all the batsmen having a weaker defense technique when they are trying to stretch their innings to a long one.

Mashrafee probably spoke the real truth about this acute crisis.

ammark
June 10, 2007, 01:48 PM
Thanks again Ahmed_B. I agree with SN.... U-13 and U-15 should be introduced to 4 day matches too. Its very disappointing to see the sluggish growth in our 4 day domestic structure to nurture aspiring test cricketers.

With a little more effort perhaps the pitches in the major stadiums can be prepared to offer more bounce and carry, and also last 4 days - that would also be essential.

WarWolf
June 25, 2007, 08:01 PM
Quoting myself from another thread.

In domestic cricket, the longer version of the matches should be of 5 days long. In current 4 days long matches, each inning is supposed to be around a single day long which is not enough long to me. To do better in tests, we need to have same length of first class domestic matches.

The commentators were discussing about lack of spin variations in our team and they pointed out that there might have not been enough search for spinners in root level around the country. We have some very good SLAs. But they lack variations. In order to do well in test level you must have some spinners who have something exceptional in them.
So far I can remember only 2 leggies who can be counted a bit. One of them is Ash and another is Alok Kapali. We managed to find only two leggies in the last 7 years. So pathetic!

There is no single good off-spnner. I am waiting eagerly to see young Riad in action. May be he is the guy we have been looking for. Yet only 1 good off-spinner from the whole country in last 7 years. Pathetic!

Same thing goes for pace dept. We should seriously look more and more for quality bowlers and place them in good tournaments like NCL.

Batting problem lies with the lack good bowlers in domestic cricket. Our batsmen finds it too easy in domestic cricket and all on a sudden when they go in international level they finds to too hard to cope with quality bowlers. Specially in tests. Cause good bowlers have liberties to make enough experiment in longer versions.

bharat
June 25, 2007, 08:16 PM
Thanks again Ahmed_B. I agree with SN.... U-13 and U-15 should be introduced to 4 day matches too. Its very disappointing to see the sluggish growth in our 4 day domestic structure to nurture aspiring test cricketers.

With a little more effort perhaps the pitches in the major stadiums can be prepared to offer more bounce and carry, and also last 4 days - that would also be essential.

You'd kill the yound kids is they were to play 4 day matches in U-13 and U-15's.During my playing days in India ( early and middle '90s) we had regular 50 over matches for all the prelims and had a two day 90 over matchs for the finals (ofcourse the format varied from torney to tourney ..but was similar in structure)

The longer version was only introduced in the under '19s and the Rangi level.


By introducting 4 day matches for kids you would be exposing them in long time injuries ...I guess the idea to increase the matches is a good one but I guess it should be at a later stage

Electrequiem
June 25, 2007, 08:58 PM
These sorts of articles are the sole reason why I think Banglacricket forums should be the homepage for every PC in the BCB office.

WarWolf
June 25, 2007, 09:03 PM
These sorts of articles are the sole reason why I think Banglacricket forums should be the homepage for every PC in the BCB office.
I don't think they have internet connections in most of the PCs.:lol:

Electrequiem
June 25, 2007, 09:05 PM
I don't think they have internet connection in most of the PCs.:lol:

...what do they do with all the money we earn from winning games? :-p

SS
June 25, 2007, 09:15 PM
Great write Mr. Ahmed. And also few good quotes from our players. We are lacking the basic structure of longer version of the game. u19 players and A team need extensive exposure to league matches lasting atleast three to four days. Though we started playing test matches, it will take more time to even reach to the desired standard. On the other hand, we are not having any more test matches (correct me if I am wrong) in this year. During this time we should try our best to send these players to our leagues to play longer version of the game, introduce to good batting coach, or send them training abroad.

SS
June 25, 2007, 09:23 PM
I will add some quote from Mr. Oracle who posted in a different thread

".....should get a thorough audit. For example, I was disappointed last year when we did not get a fast bowling coach which we could easily have afforded. (By the way, hate to say it but this is a phenomenon that I have seen in many BD organisations and inevitably it always smells something foul).

In fact, I recall that a foreign coach was so eager and ready to do that but had been rejected because of some lame excuse. The bottom line is that past accountability of BCB is unacceptable and it has not completely been rectified.

I hope the military government (that's what it is) reconstitutes/reforms(whatever you call it) this organisation from top to bottom . Also never allow these politicians who were responsible for damaging BCB back in."

This is another thing that is an obstruction to our path to 'test match' and overall improvement. This is the time we need to step up and all of us with whatever we have, we have to fight the corruption that spreaded even in BCB.

Ahmed_B
June 26, 2007, 02:43 PM
Corruption might not be the biggest problem here. Its actually the lack of vision. I was watching a Channel-I live program today where Bulbul & Rakibul was present. Bulbul was saying "the presend bangladesh cricket doesnt know where they want to be in 5 years from now". It did sound very true... we hardly have any strong vision and solid plan yet. We are still solely dependant on the Developement program support from Australia.

Its time we start to form our own visions and use the Aus and other supports only as tools and stop treating them as real achievements!

sadat_04
June 26, 2007, 03:10 PM
Could not agree more!! most bangladeshi orgs lacks vision, we r too eager to follow others...we try to copy India or Australia for most things...after every tour outside the country we talk about bouncy pitches briefly...and then we forget..why do it..India does not have any.. they r doing fine... not really.. this is why India struggles against teams that use pace as their main weapon for bowling...australia have different pitches around their country....
same idea goes for our coach selection...we r waiting for Ind/pak to select one first...why can't we just pick one ourselves first......
we never have a long term plan...cricket results r not going to change overnight...but we need to set directions first.. and then just follow the plan...

SS
June 26, 2007, 03:16 PM
Bulbul was saying "the presend bangladesh cricket doesnt know where they want to be in 5 years from now". It did sound very true... we hardly have any strong vision and solid plan yet. We are still solely dependant on the Developement program support from Australia.

Its time we start to form our own visions !

Agree, I believe BC, if permitted by BCB, can come up with suggestions/plans and help BCB organize about own future plans for cricket structure, development, etc. There are so many members in BC who have great insight about planning, but we do not have the authority. Do you guys think we can contribute and send the message to BCB and even we can help them initiate the planning. If not BCB can we work with other sponsors like Grameen.