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The openers saga: Guess the numbers (2006)
An overview of the debutants (2005)
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Stop Shuffling! (2004)

 
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I wonder how they come up with the batting lineup in each match. Do they write down the number on small pieces of papers and ask the batsmen to pick one? If you get one or two you open, if you get three you go to one down, and so on and so forth?

Stop Shuffling!

Published: 5th November, 2004

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I wonder how they come up with the batting lineup in each match. Do they write down the number on small pieces of papers and ask the batsmen to pick one? If you get one or two you open, if you get three you go to one down, and so on and so forth?

For God?s sake, we need to come up with a stable opening pair and a fixed batting order. In every match there is shuffling and for no obvious reasons. Why did Aftab come in one down today when it is Bashar?s usual spot? Why did Aftab open in Chittagong when Ashraful did it with better success than anyone in previous matches? Why stop the experiment before it has given a clear result? Why did Rana open in only two matches and was never given another chance even though he had done a reasonable job? Too many questions and not enough good answers.

We do have severe problems with our batting. Inability to play the new ball and mental block are just a few to mention. This shuffling is, however, harming us as much as anything else. Whatmore (Please do not take me wrong here; I still believe he is the right guy for the job) has been talking about coming up with a good team combination and I think he has got a pretty decent one. Every member of the current team has shown that they have the right raw material. You might even call it talent. With the exception Mashrafee after solid performances in the domestic league or the CCL, or a fine-tuned Shahadat, we do not need any change to this current team.

Moreover, most of the current team members are young enough to be trained and built up. Then why don?t we stop here? Let?s come up with a fixed lineup, decide on a fixed pair of openers and one down batsman and specifically train them for the new ball. They do not need to take runs; all they need to do is see the new ball through without losing any wickets.

The BCB has shown in many occasions that they do not have any problems spending money for the team. Get what you need for making fast tracks or bowling machine. It may even be possible to borrow a fast bowler from some other country who does not have a chance in their national team and will be willing to spend a month or two with BCB to continuously bowl at the nets.

Do whatever it takes, but stop loosing five wickets in the first ten overs.

My choice of openers at his stage would be Javed Omar and Nafis Iqbal. Please persist with this pair. No one has done better than this two and no one is likely to do so in the foreseeable future. Train them for what we need instead of expecting it to come out automatically from someone.

Then comes the question of the one down batsman. With Bashar frequently injured, this position is frequently open. Whoever takes this spot must also be trained for it so that in case one of the openers fails, he can take over for the opener's role of not loosing his wicket.

The next important thing is to remove this apparent mental block of our batsmen. It is true that winning is a habit and does not necessarily come without winning. But no, this is not a catch-22 situation. Here is why: everyone says that winning is a habit. But no one has said that this habit has to be formed from winning International matches. When was the last time any national team player won a match? A few practice matches here and there are not enough.

It really does not matter what kind of match they win, but they do need to play and win. This is where we need a stronger domestic league. We desperately need it and more than anything else. While I am sure no BCB official will ever read this article, but here is a small piece of advice for them. Create quality wickets for the domestic league and then encourage clubs to fill up their foreign players? quota with fast bowlers. We simply do not have enough domestic fast bowlers and this will allow all teams to face quality pacers. This may be too much to ask, but BCB could actually restrict the foreign player quota to quickies only.

The way things are going now, nothing will happen. Blaming the players is a good option from a fan?s perspective and more often than not they deserve it. But, what is the point? Playing the blame game is not going to get us back on track. We have to go with our current crop of players. In spite of all the recent terrible performances, they are the best we got at this moment. It is time for us to start fixing the problem proactively rather than reactively. The problems won't fix themselves and the old methods aren't working.


The author is a distinguished member of banglacricket forum. He goes by the nick AgentSmith - editors.

 

About the author(s): Rubu Islam, a BanglaCricket staff, goes by the nick "Rubu" in BanglaCricket forums.

 

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