Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Updated: Sunday, July 18, 2004
Progress and Purpose for BD in Asia Cup

Zunaid Haroon

I haven't seen Bangladesh play cricket since the series against South Africa in 2003. However, I followed every match. The last two matches in Asia therefore, gave me an opportunity to compare. For those who complain that Bangladesh hasn't improved much in batting is not quite right. I believe Bangladesh is playing strategically, very cautiously indeed so they can exploit the resources at hand and hold on to their progress. Progress indeed is visible. The team has identified that the hole to patch is the middle order batting. The long term objective of the team should be to exploit the strengths and experiment around to build a strong middle order.

Apart from the results of win and loss in a single game, Asia cup is a tournament where the objective is also to perform the best for the right game. Bangladesh as a team really does not have much to gain from winning against Pakistan in group match. The strategy in first round should have been to ensure the move to second round by winning convincingly against Hong Kong and try out all experiments possible against Pakistan. The team has achieved that objective quite professionally. In a quick analysis, the current Bangladesh team does not have a consistent middle order. Therefore, despite having some brilliant stroke players at the top order, psychologically we suffer to exploit that due to lack of strong middle order. For example, Yasser Hamid (or Shahid Afridi) could be aggressive because they know that they have Inzamam in the middle order. Virendar Shehvag can be explosive because he has Rahul Dravid to count on.

Rotaiting strikes went well

Rotaiting strikes went well

Whatmore seems to have been very prudent in trying to experiment with all his possible options. The bowling strategy is going to be quite simple indeed. Besides Tapash, the options Whatmore have are Mushfiq and Tareq. Mushfiq has proved in occasions in the past to have containment in his bowling. Along with the swing he has the strength of impeccable line. The pitches in Sri Lanka are not going to be much pace favoured unless a bowler is in the caliber of Shoaib Akhter or Brett Lee. The key to put pressure in this tournament on any batting side is the bowling in the middle. Razzak and Rafiq are quite capable bowlers to put the pressure on.

Our coach certainly knows our limitation and certainly would play the right players to enhance the middle over attacks. Needless to say, Khaled Mahmud will probably be given a rest. Whatmore, probably wanted to see how much he can stretch Mahmud's ability by playing him against Pakistan. In more important matches, Tarek Aziz or Manjarul Rana are in. The strategy here is also to find lower order support from batting given the fact that we don't have the most consistent middle order. Despite all the lack of performance, potentially Rajin, Faisal and Alok can be a very strong middle order.

Watching the match against Pakistan, it seemed obvious that Bangladesh is playing with the bigger picture in mind and also bring the element of surprise in round two when they play all three big teams in round two. It felt to me that the batsmen, especially in the middle order, were trying to experiment with their shots as well and not because they did not know what was right and wrong. They were testing their limits. Although from a psychological point of view Bangladesh could have tried to play a more containing match in the middle order by playing more of a digging game again. In the event it had been a closer game and Bangladesh had lost, it would have been an opportunity given up in attacking the bowlers. Given the circumstances, Bangladesh cricket team has played the right game.

The author is a distinguished member of banglacricket forum and goes by the nick "ghor_jamai" - editors