Bangladesh: Target ICC Champions Trophy (ICCCT)
Before the Asia Cup I wrote a piece which was chosen by the banglacricket members to be in the front page. I was and still am flattered as that was my intention all along. I hope that this article will also make it to the front page and regardless I will from now on, inshallah, write such posts before each tour/series/tournament in which Bangladesh plays.
Before the Asia Cup, I and many others stated that success would be nothing less than to beat Hong Kong comprehensively and beat either India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka by any margin. Some thought that beating Hong Kong and playing well against the "big three" would denote success. I thought and still think, that 2 wins was minimum for success because though a close game is good, eventually we have to win. Might as well start now.
Based on the results, all of us concluded that Bangladesh failed in the Asia Cup. While this is disheartening, I think it is quite healthy. Overall, we have improved. We do not have to mention Test improvements as they are universally accepted by even our harshest critics. But the prevailing public opinion in this forum is that in ODIs we have not improved much. I say we have improved, maybe not a whole lot but we have improved. For example, our scoring per innings is slightly better than it used to be, and would be much better if our top order would stop collapsing. And in terms of defense, when was the last time the opponents scored at 6 an over at the end if their innings. Sri Lanka was scoring at nearly 7 an over when we last played them, but by the time they chased down our small target our bowlers managed to get their RR under 6. Before whatmore, our team would routinely give up 300 run innings, not so anymore.
So what is the criterion for success in the ICCCT? Well, I think it will be to win one game. Yes, beating either South Africa or the West Indies. I don't think it will happen, but still that is the mark of success. I suppose playing close games against them could be success, but if we play close games only to lose them (and we have done this too many times) is it really success?
So in the likely event that Bangladesh lose both matches, and thus having two failed tours in a row, does it mean that our ODI status is doomed? Not so, provided that we have confidence that one day our mental and physical games will gel together and we will win. For Michael Jordan once said, "I am successful because I have failed over and over again."
Here is what is needed to beat one or both of these teams. Our batsmen must click, at least 4 out of the 6. That means that more than 2 ducks or 3 players combining for less than 30 runs will almost automatically doom us. If everyone contributes, then we need about 180-220 from the top 6. A minimum of 240 is required to win if we bat first. If, as is likely, one or more of our batsmen flounder (gulp) then at least 2 batsmen need to have big innings (at least 50s). In particular, I would like to see Nafis, Ash, and Rajin put up 50s at least once in the two matches. Javed has proved he can bat, and Aftab and Rana are not yet ready to lead us in batting at the moment. However, solid contributions (at least 25) are needed from the latter 3 as well.
Bowling wise, Tapash has been quite tame lately; he has not been picking up wickets. Hopefully the pitches will assist him as they did in the Carribbean. Rafique has been bitten by the same bug, lets pray that he can do some damage. Mahmud, I feel, has some English magic "jadoo" left from '99 to pull out from under his hat. I am skeptical about the contributions that Nazmul can make as a rookie. Bottom line is we need to restict the opposition to 225 or less, which is possible. This is also the largest target I feel reasonably good about our boys chasing down.
Let us pray for success, and after that lets us enjoy whatever is coming our way.
al Furqaan The Tour Preview
Edited on, September 9, 2004, 3:29 AM GMT, by al Furqaan.