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Old June 29, 2008, 07:02 AM
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Sohel Sohel is offline
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Join Date: April 18, 2007
Location: Dhaka
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Originally Posted by Pundit
Why do you call it moronic - maybe a publicized target that in concept is reachable helps lay the foundation of a good stable innings.

Siddons is training the batsmen for 240, the difference between the 240 and the final score is a reflection of the batsmen's grit and focus of the day.

I am saddened that you have joined the bandwagon of crazy bashers who infest BC more than they ought to.

You certainly don't sound like a surfer dude sometimes.

I like you and respect what you have to say, inspite of the unpleasant way you do it on occasion. So, I felt I needed to clarify my position to you the best way I could. The result, sadly, is this Vlad Mamu-esque post. Apologies in advance.

Things may not always be as they appear my brother. What you consider a “bandwagon” may actually be a gathering of legitimate opinions different than your own in the matter. Those opinions can come from a real Cricket giant like Ian Chappell who throughout the pre, mid and post game show in Star Cricket yesterday took potshots at Sid’s “team rules” as something absurd and amusing, or it could be my nephew Mugdho who lives in the immediate moment, doesn’t care too much about consequences, and just wants to see 4s and 6s. Mugdho is 8 years old.

You can see what you want to see in what other people have to say and make it all about your own POV, or, you can assess some of those opinions according to their own merit. You can either hear what you want to hear in light of your own unique experiences, or you may try and understand the same thing the way the author him or herself understands it or wants it understood.

The choice is always yours.

I can only speak for myself, so here it goes.

For me, good batting means “playing each ball according to its merit while being fully aware of the match situation.”

Choosing to play low percentage shots irrespective of match situation, or not paying attentions to footwork, back-lift and other fundamentals of batting or both, tend to make you overly generous to the opposition and pretty much eliminate your chances to compete in a competitive sport.

Now that’s bad batting because by playing those low percentage shots, or getting trapped and caught with your pants down or both, cannot constitute “playing each ball according to its merit while being fully aware of the match situation.”

Doing the opposite, meaning blocking bad deliveries, half-volleys and full-tosses and showing absolutely no interest finding the gaps or rotating the strike, all in the name of “staying in the middle” is also bad batting leading to the same ugly outcome.

Md. Al Shahariar Rokon and Javed Omar Belim Golla are two very different batsmen who despite the differences in their mindset, style and approach towards batting, have created the sort of undue pressure the rest of their team simply could not bear and still manage to compete.

There are other, perhaps better examples but I hope you know what I’m talking about.

Our young batsmen tend to be aggressive, often disinterested in good footwork, grip, back-lift and other basics, and lost enough in the rush of their mysterious compulsions and impulses to consistently black themselves out of match situations.

Sid, in order to address the destructive pattern, instituted “team rules” and “match goals”. Fine.

Sadly, something got lost in the translation and put our players in two minds with results far below our perhaps inflated expectations after the ODI World Cup of 2007. Zunaed Siddiqui, Aftab Ahmed, Dhiman Ghosh and even Md. Ashraful Matin, all young and gifted stroke-players despite their issues, handed their cojones to Sid, perhaps to be pickled for posterity, and became Gollafied.

The buck-wildin’ Gangsta Tamim Iqbal Khan on the other hand, decided to quit whatever he was on during the T20I World Championships, and learn to harness his God-gifted hand-eye coordination and become more of an orthodox batsman in the NCL, months before Sid arrived in the picture, by applying the fundamentals he has learned in the middle.

Sid’s abilities as a batting coach made him even better and he stands alone in a group where his teammates, by trying to follow the “team rule” of holding on to one’s wicket NO MATTER WHAT, simply robbed their team the chance to compete whenever they succeed in being what they are not. The fetish of improving their pitiful batting averages or scoring in “double figures” became more important than the fundamental purpose of representing your country at the highest level of a COMPETITIVE TEAM SPORT while the world was watching.

Md. Ashraful Matin has always been fond of playing low percentage aerial shots, but he also had the ability to play wonderfully middled high percentage drives along the ground and in the V. Since “team rules” those shots have pretty much disappeared. Instead, we see him just lose it from time to time after blocking half-volleys and full-tosses, and then try to dangerously late-cut deliveries that could be driven safely hoping the inside edge misses the stumps! Then there’s the lofted sitter to mid-on and the heartbreaking yet infuriating sight of our dejected Captain walking back to the dressing room, shaking his head at another missed opportunity.

But that’s A-OK because he has been scoring in “double figures” with a few match-killing 50s against the Top 8, and a match-winning 100 against the worst associate side I’ve seen in 10 years. When you’re not playing to win, complacency sets in, and some find success in personal achievement according to Big Brother.

Those who don’t or simply can’t be what they’re not, guys like Zunaed Siddiqui and Dhiman Ghosh, get demoted to the A Team after getting just a handful of chances. This pattern of punishing the wild Mustang simply because he can't quite hack it as a donkey, is dangerous and will get us nowhere.

Far worse than that, “the will to compete” in a sport that is after all a competitive one, is gone from their collective body, mind and spirit as a team. Scoring 200 or 240 has became more important than competing. A sort of quasi-nihilistic defeatism enshrouds the team with Jean Paul Sartre’s cross-eyed ghost brooding on from the depths of nothingness.

Shakib Al Hasan and Alok Kapali have been the sole exceptions during their magnificent knocks against Top 8 giants Pakistan and India respectively. Their free flowing improvisations on those “team rules” not only gave their team the theoretically probable chance to win, but also went far beyond the “team goal” in terms of runs.

The unorthodox Shakib possibly benefited from Sid’s real expertise, but Alok simply delivered the class we have witnessed first hand in domestic cricket since the 2006 season of the NCL at the highest level, after hopefully managing to chase away the purely psychological demons that have haunted him most of his International career.

Now no matter how Sid may try and spin his way into the maverick successes of Shakib and Alok, he continues to be on the defensive followed by one PR disaster after another.

By skewing actual facts from our past to suit his way of thinking – those not in agreement with that way simply being people who “know nothing about cricket” -- and on occasion being downright wrong about those facts, he ended up belittling the few achievements we have had, and playing with our intelligence and passion in an unacceptable manner. So the gloves came off and it got ugly.

Not very good cricket overall.

I for one, simply want him to succeed, and in order to succeed, he must overcome his denial of what went wrong and why, and how to set things right and move forward.

According to Ian Chappell, a coach needs to correctly assess the natural abilities of a batsman, help him harness and balance that talent in terms time-tested cricketing technique and wisdom, and motivate him to apply that balance in the middle so that he can help his team compete and win.

According to him, killing, rather than harnessing and developing the natural instincts of a player is not only counterproductive and absurd, but also akin to killing the spirit of the sport itself. Playing not to compete and win but simply to a meet some other, ultimately negative goal infuriated him enough to provoke bitter humor throughout the course of the match. He praised Alok because he “threw team rules out the window.”

Ian Chappell wants good batting just like most of us cricket fans.

In order to do that, Sid needs to clearly understand that besides the footwork, grip, back-lift and other technical issues, he needs to: -

> Teach our aggressive players how to 1) find the gaps and rotate the strike to keep pressure on the opposition, and 2) play high percentage strokes along the ground.

> Show his disapproval of bad blocks, gifted dot balls, and finding the fielder as passionately as his disapproval of playing low percentage aerial shots irrespective of the match situation. They need a balanced enhancement of what they are, not the sad caricature of what they cannot be without damaging themselves and their career.

> Pay attention to statistical details and facts of our past as they are. Instead of belittling our rare achievements as a test playing nation and killing the fire inside our young cricketers in the process, Sid needs to use those rarities to light the brighter fire that can take us to the next level.

These are basic things he needs to work into his system if he wants to succeed here in Bangladesh. While he’s at it, having a specialized and dedicated bowling coach by his side, not to mention a few more specialized bowlers such as Syed Rasel will also help quite a bit.

Sorry about the long post, but I’m certain that if you choose to have the time and do me the honor of putting yourself though it all, my position may actually become a bit clearer to you. I honestly don't see my position simply as jumping on a bandwagon, basking in the company of a lynch-mob looking for a new National Coach without granting Sid ample time to get real, learn from his errors, and succeed.

I try hard not to play such bad cricket, but at the end of the day, I'm a much better ice-hockey player who can surf a bit.

Peace …
"And do not curse those who call on other than GOD, lest they blaspheme and curse GOD, out of ignorance. We have adorned the works of every group in their eyes. Ultimately, they return to their Lord, then He informs them of everything they had done." (Qur'an 6:108)

Last edited by Sohel; June 29, 2008 at 06:19 PM..
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