Friday, March 23, 2018
Updated: Sunday, October 22, 2006
|World Cup 2007 : A new approach|
Mohammed A Alam
After watching the latest episode of controlled implosion against WI in a crucial tie to qualify into the main tournament, a devout fan like me and many others can't help but wonder why are we repeating the same mistakes. Despite having the resources available better than our other sports brethren, the cricket team is continuing to present us the same inconsistencies that has plagued us throughout our elevation to the elite status. No doubt, we have made progress in the last few years. We have beaten some elite teams and went ahead of fellow minnows like Kenya and Zimbabwe. But, that is hardly a consolation when we aspire to be among the elite eight of the international cricketing order. I will focus solely on our One-day team in this article with the World Cup coming soon and no Test matches scheduled for the next six months.
It is time for Bangladesh to find a new captain for the One-day team. Bashar has zero tactical acumen. For a young team like Bangladesh, a dynamic pro-active captain is more necessary than for an established power house team. Warne may be of better leadership material than Ponting but it hardly matters in the grand scheme of the Aussie juggernaut, full of world beaters and seasoned pros. We do not have that luxury. Each saved runs, each wicket taken- matter more to us than to any other team. Bashar is a creature of habit and has a very rigid mind set. He is not prone to any change. Every thing seems to be scripted even before a single ball is bowled. All his fielding patterns, power play employment etc. point to a man who either follows the script or simply is not able to see the game as it unfolds and react accordingly. On top of that, he is less than adequate as a One-day batsman and even worse, a liability at number five, where he has been batting recently. His one day record is nothing to write home about. Someone who has played 70+ One-days with no centuries and a 21 average, is someone who would not merit a spot in a line-up.
Times up for the older generation
It was a good move to replace Javed Omar from the One-day team. A similar fate has to be dealt to Khaled Mashud. If this is not the right time to bring in a wicketkeeper batsman, then I don't know when it is? Mushfiqur Rahim is the first choice and he has to be drafted in now. To be competitive in World cricket these days, you need a wicket keeper who is also a batsman by his own right and who can bat anywhere up the order. Why is England and WI are not in the class of other one day teams? Answer: Unsettled wicket keeping position. They don't have quality batsman- wicketkeeper and have to play with either one less batsman or bowler. We,a s a struggling team, can least afford to have a ageing wicketkeeper pretending to bat number 7. Rahim is a top order bat and let us give him the chance to settle down.
Lets be frank: Bashar and Pilot would not bring us the World Cup anyway. We have to wipe the slate clean. These two have served us well but should not be in the picture any more in the One-day team. Younger replacements have better upswing and we have to afford them every chance to settle in. Mohammad Rafiq should not be considered as an automatic choice either. To me, Abdur Razzak is the number 1 spinner in the One-day team now. If we need two spinners for a given match, only then, Rafiq should be considered as the second spinner. If we are in need of a third pacer, it is Rafiq who should be replaced and not Razzak. Rafiq's famous willow has also rotted to the core with age related diminished eye sight. I would like to see an entire new mindset with replacements for the two mentioned, starting with the winter series against Zimbabwe and leading up to the World Cup. A lot of criticism will be dished out for this measure but one has to see the picture ahead and realize that forward thinking is required. There is every chance that some of the newly drafted in players will fail. But that is to be expected. Trial and errors will occur, but at least with the younger players the door is never shut, and they can always come back after a while . The decline of our three stalwarts in Bashar, Rafiq and Pilot is unfortunately irreversible.
The new ODI lineup
No 1 : Shahriar Nafees - He is here to stay. I will make him the captain of the One-day team. You never know how good he will become unless he is given the oppurtunity. He should be a given a long period of time to settle in regardless of wins and losses.
No 2 : Meharab Hossain - He is the first choice. We may have to continue searching for this spot until we are sure. They all have to be from the younger generation. Looking back, Javed Omar is not the answer. Rajin Saleh, Nafis Iqbal, Nazmus Sadat and a few others could also be in the running. We should always keep three openers in mind for every future squad.
No 3 : Aftab Ahmed - This boy is prodigious. We have to stay with him through thick and thin and as long as it requires.
No 4 : Mohammad Ashraful - He still is the best option we have at number 4. Opening with him is a big mistake. I don't know what was the thinking behind his promotion. He had failed in that slot before and he failed yet again now. Most of our match winning knocks came off of Ashraful batting from the anchor position at number 4. Currently., he is going through a bad time mentally. I have faith in his abilities and hoping he will flourish for us. He can milk the middle overs better than anyone else, provided he is in the right state of mind. Put him back in his comfort zone and hope he will work his way out of this wretched spell. He should not be dropped unless someone in the domestics or the "A" team is doing better than him in that position consistently.
No 5 : Sakib Hassan - Batting all-rounder with upswing. Better option than Bashar at number 5, a spot, that is meant for quick runners and improvisers. Bashar is neither. If you close all the gaps with the spread field, Bashar will not produce minus his cuts and pulls batting at this position.
No 6 : Mushfiqur Rahim - Need a solid batsman wkt keeper. With performance, if he succeeds, may be one day he can move up to number 4 with Ash and Sakib dropping one spot respectively. We have to create a batsman-wocketkeeper if we want to find the right balance. We have to give him the opportunity to find his feet.
No 7 : Forhad Reza - Batting all-rounder. He can provide the quick runs when needed unlike Mashud. One has to accelerate from this position. If we argue for the value of Pilot in case of a top order collapse, then I am afraid, we are on a losing cause anyway. We have to hope that the top order will do their job collectively so that number 7 can come and do what is required - score quick runs.
No 8 : Mashrafe Mortaza- Best pacer we have. Period.
No 9 : Abdur Razzak - He is the first choice spinner for the One-day team.
No 10 : Shahadat Hossain - He should play before Syed Rasel every game. How else he is supposed to learn if he doesn't play? He has what Rasel doesn't - pace.
No 11 : Syed Rasel - if we need to go with three pacers, he can come in place of Rafiq and not Razzak.Mohammad Rafiq is still in the picture. If we need an extra spinner, than he will come into the squad before Rasel, and off course, he will bat ahead of Shahadat and Razzak.
Lets give this squad the full support with future in mind. They will not win the World Cup for us, but in time, maybe and maybe they will transform into a fighting One-day squad with youngsters running the show under a different captain from the new generation. If we fail, at least, we gave our newer blood the chance to succeed. The longer the younger players play under Bashar, the worse they would collectively be in their maturation process. I firmly believe that. A new approach can filter through out the squad. Cricket is unlike any sport where a captain actually can make the difference. With Bashar- it is "indifference" that describes him. His approach is static and uninspiring. He doesn't demand. He doesn't take responsibility. He bats the way he thinks is right regardless of the situation. Why isn't he removed from the One-day team one might ask? Hey, If Steve Waugh can be replaced from the one day team, who is Bashar, need I ask?
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