We have managed to play our two worst games to date against the two worst teams we have played. In both games we have bowled first. First game we won the toss and bowled as we were not sure what the new wicket would be like, very hard to read. We should have bowled Canada out for about 60 or 70, but we let them get away, couple of lusty swings from the middle order batsmen. We then had to chase a middle of the road target, which can bring many teams undone. We started well, to be none for 60 odd off 11 overs and then had to go to lunch. Naeem got a good ball first over after lunch, then Nafees played a ridiculous shot 4 balls later. this started a slide that should never have happened. The players are still very mentally fragile. This is something that will take much time and lost of tough cricket to change. We managed to sneak home for a win. The players almost were scared of losing and went into their shells, and managed to get out to nothing bowling. I certainly grew a few more grey hairs watching it.
The game agains Uganda was almost a replay except we lost the toss, We were going to bat today. We bowled very well with Nazmul poicking up his first 5 wicket haul ever. Enam bagged 4 and Rubaiyat one.
The batting was similar story, Naeem and Aftab played stupid shots, caught hooking couple of good bouncers. Nafees and Ashikur were both LBW to balls that stayed low, little unlucky but that happens. Riyad, edged one to second slip and then Nazim skied a drive when we needed 2 to win to be caught at mid off. A few more grey hairs for me.
I see our main problem as a lack of what i call "Sport Intelligence" and can really only be gained through match experience. The ability to make the right decisions at the right times. For bowling it is easier to develop as you have more time to think about each ball. Batting is tougher, as it is an open skill. We worked a lot on this in our preparation with many centre wicket practices and creating different scenarios for the players. The problem that occurs is one of time. We need players to be able to bat for long periods of time. To do this you need to have practice matches or net sessions where players can bat for 2 or 3 hours. To do that you need a lot of bowlers too. Any you need quality wickets to bat on, so that batsmen can actually "get in" and build and innings, with out worrying about a ball running along the ground or jumping off a good length as happened many times in our practice sessions.
If anyone has any suggestions for me on how to develop players "sport intelligence" as i term it then let me know. I don't have all the answers. Look forward to your suggestions.