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Old April 11, 2003, 12:18 AM
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fwullah fwullah is offline
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Join Date: June 20, 2002
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Default A batting collapse is likely

Bangladesh will be facing India today for the 9th time in One Day
Internationals. The playing eleven for Bangladesh is: Mehrab Hossain and
Mohammad Ashraful who will open together for the first time, Tushar Imran
will play at one down. The rest of the players are Alok Kapali, Akram Khan,
Sanwar Hossain, Khaled Mahmud, Khaled Mashud, Mohammad Rafique, Tapash
Baisya and Monjurul Islam. This playing eleven has been chosen by the 3-man
selection panel comprising of - Aliul Islam and Omar Khaled Rumi.

I strongly believe that with this playing eleven, Bangladesh can survive for
50 overs and can get at least over 180 runs, if not more. But the thing is
that the batting order does not seem to be a sound one. Most Bengali and
English dailies has reported that Mehrab Hossain and Mohammad Ashraful will
open, and Tushar Imran will bat at number three. The new opening pair of
Bangladesh suggests that there may be a chance of a run-out since they have
not played with each other more often. Also, Mehrab Hossain is playing an
International match after a long pause of nearly over a year. Mohammad
Ashraful is also very young, and not as responsible as we would like him to
be. Nevertheless, he had shown his intentions of becoming a responsible
player in the last 2 matches of the world cup. Whether he can continue with
the same kind of attitude, that is the question now. Tushar Imran has also
shown his intetions against Kenya. Newspaper reports suggest that the one
down position is to his liking and whether he can grab hold to this position
that remains to be seen. Ofcourse, there are other players like Habibul
Bashar and also Mohammad Ashraful who are strong contenders for this
position.

Among most of the Bengali and English dailies, only one English newspaper
has come up with the following middle order batting position - Alok Kapali
to bat at four, Akram Khan to bat at five and Sanwar Hossain to bat at six.
This is a cause of a concern for me, and if these three players can prove me
wrong, then I would be delighted. But this is why there is the need for the
existence of statistics and the requirement for taking a close look at the
statistics.

in the recent past, Alok Kapali's batting abilities have been over-estimated
a little too much. Although it has been a while since he has batted at
number four position - to be precise, it was his debut match and in his
second match for Bangladesh when he was played at number four position,
still a promotion for him at the batting order has not been a good showing.
He has performed much better at number six or seven; but he has gone nowhere
close to those scores while batting up the order at four or five. In fact,
if one looks at Bangladesh's two lowest totals in the last one year, then he
would notice it that Alok Kapali had batted at number four at one occassion
and at number five the second time. It is true that it was not his fault
that Bangladesh failed miserably in those two games, but it suggests
something that should not be done as soon as only in one years time. The
best score of Kapali at number five is 18 runs off 41 balls in the match
against Kenya. Also, his highest score of 89 not out was against West Indies
when his batting position was at number six. Besides, this is the batting
position that he likes to bat. He said so himself.

His batting technique might have forced the team management or the selection
committee whoever it is that is responsible for changing the batting order
this time around, but they would also have to look at this fact that Kapali
used to be a lower order batsman in the domestic cricket of Bangladesh and
also he has never batted as a specialist batsman in middle order like at
four or five. His batting technique is so good, that he is good enough to
open an innings for Bangladesh, but does that mean that he must open also?
That should certainly not be the case as we have already seen what opening
an innings has already done to a middle order batsman like Al Shahriar. We
should not destroy Kapali's International career by forcing him to do what
he is simply not capable of.

Besides, history also suggest that it takes a few years for an allrounder to
become a specialist batsman. Why even Aminul Islam and Akram Khan used to be
all rounders for Bangladesh - one an off-spinner-allrounder and another a
medium-pacer-allrounder. And now look at them - both are now recognized as
specialist batsman. And it took them a long time to get promoted in the
batting order at four and five. They used to bat from number six to number
eight position in their debut season. It was after two years (from 1988 to
1990) that Akram Khan was promoted at number four. But even at that time
Akram Khan was not hugely successfuly. It was not until the year 1995 that
both of them could get accustomed to their batting position of number four
and number six. Even after that they were not the most consistent, but they
were more consistent than other batsman.

The point being, if players like Aminul Islam and Akram Khan needed so much
time to get hold of their positions, then how come somebody like Alok Kapali
can do the same thing in a very short time? And it is not that we are short
of specialist middle order batsman, we have the great Akram Khan himself in
the squad, who I believe should be batting at number four, and then there is
Khaled Mashud who is the most experienced player of Bangladesh, who I
believe should bat at number five - at least in the one day matches. And
since Sanwar Hossain has not yet scored too much, so he should be given the
responsibility to bowl only and to try to save the faces of top and middle
order batsman if there is a big collapse. That is what Sanwar is capable of,
and he has shown it on quite a number of occassions in tour matches. All he
has to do is think of the International matches as those tour matches and
show what he is capable of.

I am sure in that case, we might lose someone dependable like Khaled Mashud
in the lower middle order to save Bangladesh's face countless times so far,
but we would rather like to see some fightback when we are 3 wickets down
when there is some chance of getting a respectable total of around 180 to
200 rather than with 5 wickets down when the only 'fightback' is either to
get past the 'respectable' total of 100 run mark or to get past our lowest
score ever in One Day Internationals.


















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