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Old July 1, 2005, 01:51 PM
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Ahmed_B Ahmed_B is offline
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Default The new-found Batting Depth: A Reputation almost reversed!

The Early Days
Yes I am talking about Bangladesh’s very recent batting improvement. Before & after Bangladesh got the ODI status... our national team players and management used to declare always that ‘Batting’ is our main strength. And yes, BD’s ICC Associate team and later on the ODI team, at their times, did show more strength in batting rather than bowling.

The ‘Test-Pains’ Begin
But since the nation gained it’s Test-Status... things started to change colors. Senior players started to retire creating a vacuum in our batting line-up like a never-ending question. Besides the frequent changes that had to be made in BD’s line-up, trying to find the answer to it, the fact that they are having to face much tougher opponents more often as a Test playing nation. All these reasons really caused a downfall in BD’s batting depth and glory. On the other hand, bowlers started to show some spines! BD stated to gain a reputation somewhat like : “...well... their bowling seems to be ok... but they really need to work a lot on their disgraceful batting!”

Thus, since the beginning of the Test Status, our batting has been struggling. Lots of experiments, shuffling and blunders started to appear... putting our ability in question. It may be marked that batting performance almost always determines the ‘victory margin’ between two teams. So BD continued to lose... and they were very pathetically odd-looking losses!!

Some Lights Start Showing...
The year 2003 started to show promises... and yes BD had a real good year under Habibul Bashar. But it was not until the later half of 2004 that something actually was born raising the level of our batting. I have to admit that this ‘Something’ is our fresh blood newcomers! With the introduction of players like Nafis, Aftab and improvements from some struggling youngsters like Rajin, Rana, Ashraful and also some sort of determination from seniors like Bashar, Pilot, Rafiq and not to mention the power plays from tail-enders like Tapash/Mashrafee... BD’s spine started to show! A memorable work was the ODI victory over Zimbabwe’s full-strength squad in their own backyard and had it not been for the overwhelming resistance from Heath Streak alone... BD probably would have come home with atleast one more win from there.

The Last Three Bright Series
It was a very usual painstaking start against India with the tests... but Ashraful’s 158* broke the jinx. The ‘ever-promising but never-performing’ batsmen our team started to realize the curse of reserving themselves in a shell and started to come out of it with courage. As if they started to take revenge of all the humiliations in the early days and BD started putting the pieces of the puzzle together one by one. The fantastic show in the ODI series vs. India earned them a victory and two other entertaining matches.

Then came the Zimbabweans... with a ‘confused confidence’ under Taibu. And what Bangladesh did was turn that confusion into reality, declaring boldly that the darkness is about to disappear. There seemed to be very obvious signs of promising returns of batting dependability. Yet, since it was a struggling Zimbabwean side, we had to wait with patience for the re-confirmation until we play an opponent very clearly superior to our strength.

So we did wait... and when the time came, BD Team started to play against the English squad with their very own ‘confused confidence’ and at the beginning it all looked dark again with ‘no-where to hide’ humiliations. After the initial shock, things again started to re-collect. And with their backs against the wall... the BD squad started to fight back. The Test series ended with some gritty show by Javed Omar, Pilot and again... the brightest star happened to be from among the ‘young bloods’. Yeas I am talking about Aftab’s 81*. The ODI Natwest Series ultimately turned out to be fruitful. Producing a much better show by the whole squad. One ODI 100, a number of 70+ scores & 50’s... all turned out to be handsome. The win over the Aussies and some remarkable blasting Innings by Ashraful really replied some harsh questions by well-known critics. But in the end what Bangladesh gained was the final confirmation that the team is on a rise, something that could not yet be said after the Zimbabwe home series with full confidence because of the quality(lack of ) of the opposition.

But there were questions as well. Even in the Natwest series, BD failed to reduce the margin of defeat vs. England except for the very last game. This dissatisfaction mostly evolved out of the fact that now BD’s bowling strength has started to fall short. One of the reasons (and surely not just an excuse) being that it was not a spinner-friendly condition which curtailed a major strength of our bowling... i.e our spinners. This whole England tour was a real test of how well we might do when an ‘all-out-pace-attack’ may be the demand. And I must admit... at times it was well below par.

With the new-found weaknesses in our bowling department... it may now be said that the story is reversed to somewhat like this: “...well... their batting seems to be promising... but they really need to work a lot on their mediocre bowling!”

But I am, as always, among the optimists.
Regards everyone!

Edited on, July 1, 2005, 7:00 PM GMT, by Ahmed_B.
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Old July 1, 2005, 03:05 PM
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Mahir Mahir is offline
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wonderful piece! I admit I had a blast reading this. A few grammatical fixings, and this is well set to be up as a front page article. Once again, well written, Mr. Ahmed.
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Old July 1, 2005, 03:07 PM
israr israr is offline
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good post
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Old July 1, 2005, 03:08 PM
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well organized and comorehensive indeed!
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Old July 1, 2005, 04:00 PM
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Ahmed_B Ahmed_B is offline
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