Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Miscellaneous Thoughts

Syed Shehwar Hossain

It?s about time we start thinking about bringing some sort of predictability and respectability to our batting. Lets face it here, we have been disgracing ourselves in ODIs ever since that infamous reshuffling before the World Cup 2003 where players like Biddut, Opee, Bulbul, Nannu and Akram were not considered and we were embarrassed to the limit. That to date in my mind, remains the biggest mistake our cricket authority has made and it is still affecting us.

Needless to say that The World Cup was watched by millions of cricket fans from around the globe and that disastrous performance is all most cricket experts and fans from other countries have in memory when they speak of Bangladesh. It?s so pathetic! Can we ever convince them that the team selected then was an ?A? team of Bangladesh at best? Even after failing miserably series after series the current bunch of players find themselves in the team. Why? It?s not about failing so much; it?s about the way they have been failing. Let?s face it, some of them just don?t have it in them! We need a few changes which is the call of the hour.

Now let?s take a look at the opening pair. I would like to make it clear first that I have the ICC Champions Trophy in mind for now and just looking for immediate solutions of the continued batting humiliations instead of looking for a long term solution as I believe The ICC Champions Trophy is the second biggest cricketing event after The World Cup and we simply can?t afford to bat the way we have been batting hopelessly for the last 2-3 years.

It?s about salvaging our image and those of you who are screaming for youth and future please get it out of your head for the time being at least. Trust me, there will be no future if we continue to do what we have been doing as they might strip us off the elite status. Somehow we have to find a way of performing better than the Kenyans in the upcoming tourney. And I believe with proper selection it is possible.

Now let?s get back to the opening pair. Javed Omar should be an automatic selection. He has a sound technique which is essential for English conditions and also the ability of holding one end up. He will have to take on the anchoring role. Shahriar Hossain (Biddut) should definitely be selected if match fit. He has a wide range of strokes and a decent technique and more importantly has the experience of playing in English conditions (World Cup ?99).

Habibul Bashar doesn?t fit into my team for this tournament. With the technique Habibul Bashar has, he is certain not to succeed in conditions where the ball will do a bit. It may sound a bit harsh but when the ball is swinging, with his technique his chances of surviving is as good as that of a tail ender. It?s Bashar?s amazing and unique hand-eye co-ordination that enables him to score such heavily and with such consistency in conditions where the ball doesn?t swing much. And personally, I don?t agree with the theory that Bashar is only suitable for tests and not for ODIs. His run scoring mainly depends on the venue or the nature of the pitch and it has nothing to do with the ODI or test version of the game.

Bashar doesn?t fit into my team

"Bashar doesn?t fit into my team"

Ok, let me try to prove my point. Bashar has a test average of 35.84 which is pretty decent by any standards. But in Zimbabwe and Srilanka where the ball swings around a bit early on (And Vaas swings it on any surface!) his test average is 24.00 and 15.83 respectively. New Zealand is another place where the conditions are suitable for swing bowlers and surprise surprise! Bashar averages 25.00 in tests there. Compare this with the flat batting tracks in Pakistan and Bangladesh and Bashar will average a staggering 64.00 and 35.73 respectively. He doesn?t have the technique to play the swinging ball and to take him to England for the ICC Champions trophy will be a complete waste in my opinion.

But we definitely need him for the upcoming home series against New Zealand and Srilanka. Let?s not forget he has 8 ODI fifties and is well equipped to play in home conditions. I expect him to score heavily in tests as well as in ODIs in the upcoming back to back home series. My point here is don?t pick him for ODIs in places like England, New Zealand and Srilanka where he is bound to fail. I don?t think he will succeed in English conditions in test matches next year either but then again we can?t afford to drop him from the test squad.

Ashraful seems to be settling in nicely at the top of the order and should come in at number three. The number three spot is of utmost importance and should be occupied by the best batsman of the side and I believe that is exactly what Ashraful is. Next, I would love to see Aminul Islam Bulbul bat at two down and show the youngsters how exactly it is done. Pick up the ones and twos and rotate the strike. In fact any one of Bulbul, Nannu and Akram would do, depending on who is match fit. Inclusion of one of them would definitely boost the batting and the morale of the team and will ensure that we don?t collapse like a pack of cards.

Rajin Saleh should come in at number five. Here is another player who is technically very sound and coming late in the order will perhaps help him to come out of his shell. I expect Rajin to go a long way. He is full of promises. At number six we need someone who can improvise and use the long handle if needed and my pick for that spot is Tushar Imran. He has all the shots in the book and can really go after the bowling if needed. Spinners will hardly come into play in English conditions and there is not much room for more than one spinner in the playing eleven. Manjarul Rana is my pick as he will be handy with the bat too.

I don?t think there is any doubt about who the keeper will be and as for the bowlers, well they are just doing a fabulous job. There is no point in blaming the bowlers if the batters can?t put a decent total on the board. The bowlers have been consistently performing well for the last year n? a half. Even in the Asia cup they didn?t bowl too badly. They bowled out Hong Kong as they should have and the only time they got an opportunity to bowl first ? they restricted Pakistan to 257 which is by no means a bad effort.

We must play three seamers and I feel Mushfiqur, Khaled Mahmud and Tapash will do their reputation no harm in England. Khaled Mahmud in particular is well suited for English conditions and the inclusion of Mushfiqur and Mahmud would also give our batting the much needed depth. Tapash is no mug with the bat either. Once again, I must remind you that I?m not saying the team I?ve picked would beat South Africa and West Indies and set the world on fire! But it will at least ensure that we don?t disgrace ourselves in the batting department as we have been doing for so long.

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