Target: Asia Cup
Last time when I put together some target for the West Indies tour, it was beyond my imagination that it would go so far. Not only a moderator generously turned it into an article, it made its way toward few other cricketing thread as well. Well, that was a big inspiration for me, and was the motivation to set some target for the upcoming Asia Cup as well.
Asia Cup is a prestigious tournament to ensure the dominance of a team in a region where cricket is the most popular game. Not only that, with all those sinister of n-tier cricketing thoughts in market, we have a duty to prove ourselves in front of the eyes of some pioneer of this idea. With this ultimate goal for the tournament in mind, we need to look for the means that would take us there. There are my few pennies.
Beat Hong Kong: At the very first game, we need to achieve our first target. We need to beat Hong Kong, and beat them up real good. We need to remember Canada, and has to make sure we do not take any whimsical step that would jeopardize this win. If we do not award them a win, they can not snatch a victory against us. We need to make sure this does not happen.
Opening Pair: There is one thing certain about opening in this tournament. We will see Ashraful with the bat at the very beginning. Ashraful, as we all know, is the best for ODI opening in theory, and the worst so far in practice. He has all the materials needed to be an opener, but never could use it. This is a big challenge for him. His personal target should be to make sure he does not loose his new found confidence. He has just proven himself to be a useful middle order. One might argue that this shifting would shatter his confidence. It is time for him to prove that wrong. His partner, regardless of whether it is Rana or Javed, has their own strengths and flaws. But there is not much to talk about since we already know that they will neither do too astonishing nor too dismal. To win ODI matches, we need to learn how to use the first 15 overs, and only Ashraful can do that.
As Many Win As possible : In this tournament, we will meet three test playing nations in four occasions, facing Pakistan twice. This is our best opportunity to prove that there was neither accident nor fixing in World Cup 1999. Yeah, I am talking about beating Pakistan once again. This team is in greatest disarray and this has opened a door of possibility for us. Sri Lanka and India are much stronger opponents, but beatable, nevertheless. Is this really true that we can beat India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka? I donít know, and I donít care. It is time for us to believe that we can. We need to play with the target to beat the opponent and go all out to snatch as many wins as possible. As I mentioned in somewhere else, we have no excuse now. We have spent over a year under Whatmore. We are playing in known condition, and had three week time to get use to the environment. Our opponents are not Superman, and most important of all, some wins have been long due. It is time for us to get our fair share.
Centuries: Now that we have eight centuries in test, the number of ODI centuries are crying for a raise. In ODI, centuries and wins go hand by hand. One fast pace century from a single person can entirely change the result of the game. Unfortunately, we do not have many candidates who can step forward to do that. In this tournament, Bashar and Ashraful should take this responsibility to reach three digits to present some win. Iím not
saying that one century automatically ensures win, but it certainly increases the chances, and makes othersí job easier.
Stress Handling: There could be many people who disagree with me on this, but I think if we knew how to play the natural game under pressure, we could have 2-3 more wins in last one year. In Pakistan, in Zimbabwe and in WI we lost games where we were so close to win. The analysis goes kind of like this, because we are not use to winning, we do not know how to handle situations like those and loose the game even if we had the advantage. This is an infinite loop, and we need to break it. Since this problem is mental, seeking help for it should not be too hard. Believing is winning.
We need to have at least two wins to call this tournament a success. Well, that does not say it all. Say, we get the two wins in the first two matches, and then thinking that we have reached the goal, we give up fighting for the last three matches; I would not call it a real success. Fight for everything, with every possible mean in every single match is what we need to do, does not matter what the scenario is. Let the opponents feel tigersí bite every time they face us.