Monday, February 18, 2019
Updated: Monday, July 19, 2004
Our chances against India

Samiur Rahman

I for one am particularly worried about what our are performance is going be against India. Looking at the two games that India played, it is quite apparent that their players are lacking in match practice and suffering as a result. But this will not last forever. Tendulkar and Sehwag have been out in both games quite cheaply and it is in their nature to come back with big innings and I have a sinking feeling that it will be against Bangladesh.

Not taking anything away from our current bowling squad, I do not believe there is enough pace, guile or talent to tackle the Juggernaut that India's batting order has been in the recent past. We desperately needed our injured pace trio and I can only hope to see them in action, well rested and fully fit, in the Champions Trophy. If we allow India to post a massive total in the game, there is absolutely no hope for us to even put up a decent fight. With Dravid in the scintillating form that he is in, and with Tendulkar and Sehwag each due for a big score, the possibility of them scoring in the 280 to 300+ range is quite high. That brings us to our batting. No matter how talented many of us would like to think our batsmen are, they all have a couple of glaring shortcomings.

Firstly, none of them seem the least bit inclined to play in the V. The sign of a good batsmen is in his ability to play straight and that is also the technique any coach in this world would exhort each and every one of his batsmen to follow. This piece of knowledge does not seem to be so readily apparent to our batsmen for some reason and it was painfully clear in our game against Hong Kong. In a game where we were the favorites to win, and win convincingly, our batsmen proceeded to gift their wickets to the inexperienced HK attack with alarming frequency and reckless abandon.

One has to wonder why so many of our batsmen were out trying to guide the ball to third man, or even more importantly why such a vast portion of our runs came behind the wicket on that day. No one with the exception of Pilot seemed inclined to use his feet to come down to the pitch of the ball and hit the HK bowlers straight. Instead they were more interested in playing low percentage shots behind the wicket. Delicate late cuts and cheeky deflections to third man look good on TV but by definition they are low percentage shots and are more likely to cause the fall of a wicket as opposed to the scoring of runs.

Inability to form partnerships is worrisome

Inability to form partnerships is worrisome

What was even more alarming than this apparent inability to play straight was the fact that the batsmen waiting in the pavilion did not learn from their predecessors' mistakes or no one pointed it out to them.

The second shortcoming is one which has tormented us for as long as we have been playing cricket. This is our complete ineptitude at picking singles and rotating the strike. Our batsmen seem content to block out over after over rather than show a little urgency and take quick singles. When they do decide to try to pick off a single, it is not by playing straight but again, through that risky late cut shot. How hard would it have been for our batsmen to have milked the HK spinners by driving to the mid off or mid on? It was shameful to see a group of club cricketers (no disrespect intended) in the 30th over of a one day match having 6 or 7 fielders surrounding our batsmen and completely choking them off. Could no one think of perhaps a few lofted shots to disturb the rythm and give the HK captain few more things to think about?

These factors coupled with the fact that our middle order does not seem to have the temperament or the ability to form substantial partnerships is a very worrying sign for the future of our one day performances. The shortcomings were brought to light again in the game against Pakistan and one can only assume that they will not magically disappear in time for the India game. Without a change in this department, our performances with the bat will remain erratic and below par. I am not as worried about the bowling because they bowled creditably against HK and restricting Pakistan to a 250 odd score were satisfactory. With the return of Mashrafee, Sharif and Talha we may have a fairly decent one day attack.

However, no matter how good our bowling gets, most international teams will score atleast 230-260 runs on sub continental pitches. That is considered an average score by current standards. Without the batting to follow it up, we will never be able to chase such a target against any of these teams. Also, if we bat first, we will never have enough runs on the board to allow our bowlers to win a game for us. Even the best bowling side needs a total they can bowl and defend. A score of 180, 190 or even 220 (which is the maximum that our batsmen seem able to muster up in this tournament) is certainly not enough.

I am sure Dav is aware of these issues and I have the outmost confidence in his abilities as a coach to recitfy these issues. If this post seems somewhat negative towards our team, it is with good reason. However I have attempted to offer creative criticism as opposed to an emotional diatribe which does no one any good. I have no doubts that we have progressed considerably in the last few months but there is a long way to go yet. I mention this specifically because of some posts I read on this forum where members predicted wins against the three big guns in this tournament. I wish I could be as optimistic as you gentlemen. We need to temper our expecations in relation to our performances, and right now the gap between us and the rest of the test playing nations in the tournament seem quite apparent to me. Having said all this, I wish them the all success. I will keep my fingers crossed and like every other die hard Bangladeshi fan I will hope for the best and expect the worst.

The author is a distinguished member of banglacricket forum and goes by the nick "samiur666" - editors