BanglaCricket.com: Article


Monday, October 20, 2014
Updated: Saturday, December 30, 2006
2006 Year End Player Evaluation and Beyond - Fans' Perspectives

Fazleh Chowdhury
 

It is the end of year 2006. Overall it has been a good (if not spectacular) year for Bangladesh. Statistically we have improved a lot from last year. However, the year-end figures can be deceiving as we have mostly played against weaker teams. Furthermore, there is no doubt in my mind that, due to the inclusion of a few new players in the team, we are better off in almost each position with good standby players. The team is now more balanced, and thereby reduced its dependency from a few star players to a bunch of good players. Even though batting is still something to worry about, the team has improved a lot in terms of bowling. Due to the inclusion of new players, the team’s fielding has improved significantly.

Following is a discussion about all the major players of 2006 and a prediction of their contribution in 2007. We all have certain bias towards or against certain players. Therefore please take that into consideration. My evaluation may not be as neutral as you are hoping for. Followed by my views are going to be the views presented by BanglaCricket forum members. With these differing views, we can probably get a more all round evaluation of the Tigers.

Aftab Ahmed

Aftab Ahmed
Aftab Ahmed

Aftab is a Bangladeshi player with great talent. He is so dominating that, if he does not continue to throw his wickets away, Bangladesh will have many more great innings from him. Unlike Ashraful, I still have high hopes for Aftab. As time goes, he will hopefully rectify his mistakes a little bit and produce few more great innings in 2007. I like him batting at number three. I hope selectors do not tweak his position before WC '07. I am also wondering what happened to his useful and effective ODI bowling. If he bowls four to five overs, then we can afford to add Farhad instead of a third fast bowler, and minimize Farhad's mediocre overs.

BanglaCricket members' view: Aftab is seen as a much better batsman than any others that Bangladesh has at the moment. He is a player of choice for both Tests and ODIs. His inability to play the spinners is a weakness seldom talked about. He also needs to convert his quick half-centuries into centuries sometimes, and in many cases into 70+.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Same]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Up]

Mohammad Ashraful

Aftab Ahmed
Mohammad Ashraful

Inclusion of new players like Saqibul Hasan, Farhad Reza and, to some extent, Mehrab Hossain Jr. has not only created pressure for Ashraful, but it has also opened some breathing room and opportunity for Ashraful to bat at number seven with less pressure. With all these prospective all-rounders, another batsman can be added. This opens up the opportunity for off-from Ashraful. As usual, he has had a very eventful and roller-coaster year. He has shined some times and was not so bright at other times, so much so that the selectors temporarily dropped him from the squad. However, whether you like it or not, Ashraful is guaranteed to be in the WC '07 team. So what do we do with him in the team? The best that can be done is letting him play at number six or seven where he can play his natural game from thirty five to fifty overs in the innings. He will score some quick 20+ with good scoring rate and a few not outs. That will pad his statistics and enhance his confidence.

As Aftab is batting well, and is managing the job quite well at number four, the best that can be thought of for Ashraful is batting at number five or lower. Ahmed and Ashraful should not bat one after another, since that is a recipe for our batting collapse. Ashraful batting at number five or lower is good for both himself and the team in the short term. Overall, it has not been a good year for Ashraful, although I hope he is feeling the pressure from the new players and realizing that time is running out for him. If there is another bad performance from him in WC '07, we might see a lengthy time-off for him from the team.

BanglaCricket members' view: There has been a general agreement that the pressure on Ashraful in the team has now been lowered with the inclusion of Nafees, Ahmed, Hassan, and Hossain Jr. Keeping him at number 5 or 6 in the batting order will let him boost his confidence and also help the team post decent totals.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Same]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Down]

Tapash Baisya

tAPAS bAISYA
Tapas Baisya

I do not think he is done yet, specially for ODIs. If he can fix his no-balls and his high economy rate problem, he can be very well be the team's third fast-bowler. This is desperately needed to keep the team's fast-bowlers fresh. Additionally, he has definitely proved that he can be a very good slogger. Thus, if he is included, the team's batting strength is going to enhance. Now the question is whether can he effectively bowl. I hope the answer is yes for 2007.

BanglaCricket members' view: Baisya has lost the battle to Shahadat Hossain and Syed Rasel. There are disagreements whether he should be considered as the third or the fourth fast bowler. As new players emerge, notably Shahzada and Shafaq, he may be considered as a number five fast bowler. His no-balls and the loose deliveries must be cut down.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Down]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Slightly Up]

Habibul Bashar

Habibul Bashat
Habibul Bashar

I am not sure whether Bashar has regained his form back (after injury). And that is a big concern before the World Cup 2007 (WC '07). Personally, I think due to the age factor, he may not regain his old form back any time soon. Captaincy wise, he has improved a bit. However, his performance is still below par. Sometimes his captaincy matches with his personality, i.e., he becomes too conservative. That may cost us some matches in WC ’07. I hope that after WC ‘07, he takes some time off from ODIs once in a while, and let Shahriar Nafees lead a few more matches. I see 2007 is the year when he retires from ODIs.

BanglaCricket members' view: Bashar cannot be expected to perform very well in the ODIs, and there can be a much better ODI team without him. However, he is seen by many as the best batsman ever in Bangladesh team, and the best batsman at number three. His captaincy is seen by some as below par, and thus his role should be taken by someone from the new generation.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Down]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Down]

Nadif Chowdhury

Nadif
Nadif Chowdhury

There is not enough known about Chowdhury. He has appeared from nowhere as the next batsman on the line waiting for opportunity in the national team. It is too late for his inclusion in WC '07. But one should make no mistake that we will see him more in 2007. Just like rest of the young players that has come recently, he is likely to take the full advantage of every opportunity he gets. If Bashar takes off from ODIs, or if Ashraful falters, Chowdhury may get his chance in 2007. Although it is most likely to happen after WC '07, he is going to create more pressure to be established as a middle order batsman like Aftab, Bashar, and Ashraful. At the end of 2007, Chowdhury is going to be the talk of the town in the same way that Hasan was for 2006.

BanglaCricket members' view: He must wait until after WC '07 for his chance, and prove his talent for further on.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Incomplete]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Up]

Enamul Haque Jr.

Enamul Haque Jr.
Enamul Haque Jr.

Enamul is definitely the future number one spinner for the Bangladesh Test team. But I am hesitant to add him in the ODI team. He should be allowed to concentrate on Tests in 2007 and prove his merit against stronger teams first. When Rafique retires from ODI, we may include him in the ODI team at that point, and only once in a while in spinner friendly pitch.

BanglaCricket members' view: Haque's presence in the Test team as a second spinner seems to be something that most agree upon. He is seen by many as a good turner of the ball and a world-class spinner, although some think that he will only make a mediocre bowler. Most agree that he has not been tested too much in 2006, but deserved quite more opportunities as he always looks for wicket.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Incomplete]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Up]

Saqibul Hasan

Saqibul Hasan
Saqibul Hasan

Many thought that Hasan was prematurely included in the team in 2006. But these kids are well prepared. Thanks to Under-19 coaches for preparing them so well. We have not seen anything yet on what Hasan will bring to the team. After the confidence-building innings, he is playing more confidently with a good scoring rate. More importantly, he is relying less on fours and sixes, and more on singles and doubles with good strike rotation skills. And it has been a pleasant surprise! He may be the best number four in the making that we have been looking for a while. He has mainly played and shone against the weaker teams. And when he plays against stronger teams, he is likely to fail a bit and also learn a bit. But without a doubt, Hasan is going to experience more success than failure.

Even though he started as a below par bowler, he has quickly become an above average bowler. His bowling is going to open the opportunity to add another batsman in the ODI team. We are likely to see two things at the end of 2007: his batting is going to flourish with good scores and scoring rates; and he is going to do very effective bowling for ODIs. Spinners are like wine - with age they get better. Thus, Hasan's current bowling should not be worried about. Additionally, his fielding was excellent in 2006. He is one of the top three fielders of the Bangladesh team. He is going to be a great all rounder for the ODI team.

BanglaCricket members' view: Although Hasan has proved his bowling capabilities against the minnows, he still needs to prove his talent against the stronger opponents. His batting abilities has been praised widely, though some argue that he is by no means a number 4 batsman. He does not seem to be a Test class player, which many argue that he should take into consideration. With his current performance, he should be considered for the next one year automatically.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Up]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Up]

Shahadat Hossain

Shahadat Hossain
Shahadat Hossain

In 2006, Hossain has showed his potentials, which has allowed us to see how good he can be in the future. And he grew leaps and bound within a matter of few series early in the year. He has the potential to be even better than Mashrafee. Hossain is the much needed second fast bowler that the team needed for so long. He, however, has to take care of his extras and economy rate when he plays in the ODI. In 2007, I feel that Shadhat will further blossom and shine as an excellent pacer. Plus if he fine-tune his batting a little bit, that will help us a lot. That will be a dream come true kind of scenario for the team.

BanglaCricket members' view: Although he is the second best pacer in the team, he could very well prove better than Mortaza by the end of 2007. He is genuinely quick, ultra-aggressive, and will soon be recognized, along with Mortaza, by the cricket world.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Up]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Up]

Mehrab Hossain Jr.

Mehrab Hossain Jr.
Mehrab Hossain Jr.

Hossain has managed to bring the stability in our innings that has been lacking for a while. We do not have to worry loosing too many wickets during the first ten to fifteen overs now. However, I have to admit that even though I have not given up on Mehrab yet, his lack of good scoring rate is still a major concern. Playing against weaker teams and good batting with a good scoring rate by Shahriar Nafees and Aftab Ahmed is hiding his weaknesses for now. Things can get really ugly when we play stronger teams in future. However, given time, he may end up more innings with a scoring rate of 60. If not, we may need better alternatives like Sadat or Tamim after WC '07. But definitely no more of Javed Omar or Rajin Saleh. We have passed that point, and there should be no going back to the past. In the long-term view, I see Mehrab more as a Test opener. Mehrab's bowling is another aspect which has not blossomed yet. Think about the possibilities: if he manages to increase his scoring rate, and bowls five to eight overs as a sixth bowler, it will just open-up another slot (number seven) for a fulltime batsman.

BanglaCricket members' view: Members feel that Hossain should replace Omar in Test squad soon, as including him with the other teenagers in the team will not make it much worse. It has been noted by Nafees and Dave Whatmore that even though Hossain has a slow scoring rate earlier on, he makes up for it towards the end. Furthermore, for all the matches that he has played, there has not been an urgency in scoring faster. In most cases, Nafees and Aftab have made up for his slow scoring rate. Additionally, his contribution in stabilizing the opening pair is seen as a big advantage to the team.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Up]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Up]

Tushar Imran

Tushar Imran
Tushar Imran

Whether we like him or not, I am quite sure he is not going away from the picture in 2007. He will be there knocking the door by performing well in domestic league as well as in the A-team. And I have no problem with that. He is still young and, relatively speaking, he has not been given opportunity for long enough. He has been given chance here and there, by bits and pieces. Unfortunately, he has not been able to take advantage of those opportunities. I feel sorry for him, and hope he gets some more opportunity in 2007. But as we all know, as the day passes, opportunity for these kind of AAAA players (baseball terminology) reduces. I see him a solid backup player for us in the near future.

BanglaCricket members' view: Some intense criticism has been noticed about Imran. Many feel that he has received a significant playing time in the last eighteen months. He should thus play in the domestic and A-team level for two years with a 50+ average before being considered for a spot in the preliminary national team squad.


[Year-end 2006 Stock: Down]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Slightly Up]

Nafis Iqbal

Nafis Iqbal
Nafis Iqbal

2006 was a very disappointing year for Iqbal. Where one Nafees shined, the other completely vanished from the scene. What a pity. However, I think the selectors did the right thing by not trying to force the issue. To me, it is always better to let the player get the form back in domestic league and A-team instead of trying to regain the form in the national team. This is specially true when the player is young and not yet accomplished. Iqbal is young, and he may still have chances. He can still come back in 2007. But one thing that we know for sure is, this time it is going to be harder to get a chance, as we now have so many players in the pool.

BanglaCricket members' view: He started with a great promise, and disappeared. Bangla Cricket Board should work on him to get him back in form. Nafis Iqbal and Shahriar Nafees can make a great opening partnership combination.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Way Down]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Uknown]

Manjural Islam

Manjural Islam
Manjural Islam

I feel really sorry for Manjurul Islam. He has been dropped even after he produced for the team. And now with the flow of so many new players, and yet so many in the wings, I see no chance that he will be back in our national ODI team any time soon. Even with this bleak future picture, I hope he does not give up hope. Who knows, opportunity can come in 2007, and when it comes, I am sure he will take full opportunity of the situation.

BanglaCricket members' view: Since Islam has not played in 2006, it is hard to tell anything about him in 2007. Some have argued that he can be a better bowler than Razzak, although some disagreed greatly, and also argued that he can bat much better than other distinguished batsmen in the squad, such as Haque. Also, he has been praised for his fighting characteristic, and predicted to be back in the team once Razzak faces quality opponents. Some believe that he will be back in the team soon.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Incomplete]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Slightly Down]

Alok Kapali

Alok Kapali
Alok Kapali

If you have nothing good to say about a player, I guess the best thing you can do is stay quiet. And that is what I was hoping to do here. But there is so much emotion involved with this player its hard to do that. Only one thing that I have to say is, I am so glad that we do not have to go through those same nightmares anymore from 2007 and beyond.

BanglaCricket members' view: It has been argued that Kapali has had very little exposure in 2006, although there has also been a few notable innings under his belt. Thus, there is an incomplete record of his performance in 2006. But he seems to be a great middle-overs batsman, who has can score at a great scoring rate with only ones, twos, and threes.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Down]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Down]

Khaled Mashud

Khaled Mashud
Khaled Mashud

Mashud has given us so some great performances in the past. But for a while, he has been out of batting form. His wicket-keeping has also not been like his old days. I am afraid that due to his age, he may not regain his form back in future. As we have never invested our time to build a 2nd wicketkeeper, I am afraid that we may need to bite the bullet for now and play with him up to WC '07. But after that, we definitely need to find multiple potential wicketkeepers for our ODI team. I see 2007 will be end of Mashud's ODI career and 2008 will be end of his Test career.

BanglaCricket members' view: Almost all members have showed high respect for Mashud, noting the fact that he has fought for Bangladesh throughout its infancy. It is now time for others to take over.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Down]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Down]

Mashrafe Mortaza

Mashrafe Mortaza
Mashrafe Mortaza

Overall, 2006 was a very good year for Mortaza as a bowler. When healthy, he is a world-class bowler. Moreover, he has recently regained his batting touch at the end of the year. He is now our slugger for the last 10 overs of ODIs. Time and time again he is making up the slow run rate of our batsmen with his exploding slog. I hope he can carry his great form in 2007. As a bowler, his striking ability is not in question, but his economy rate is kind of high as he gives too many runs. He needs to take care of that in 2007. Plus as our number one bowler, he needs to bowl effectively during the last few overs of the innings too.

BanglaCricket members' view: He is seen as the best all-rounder fast-bowler in Bangladesh team, as well as the only other world-class bowler in the team other than Rafique.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Up]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Same]

Shahriar Nafees

Shahriar Nafees
Shahriar Nafees

2006 is the year when Nafees distinguished himself from the “boys-club” to the “men’s-club”. At the beginning of the year, he was just another good batsman. At the end of the year, we can now say that he is a great batsman-in-making for Bangladesh. 2007 is the year where he can check his upper limit as to how far he can go. The only thing I hope is he addresses his fielding. Sometimes, he looks un-attentive in the field. Otherwise, it has been such a great year that he has had.

BanglaCricket members' view: Nafees, with his 75 in his debut series against Australia, shows his abilities against class opponents. However, his recent failures to score over thirtys in ODIs after the three unbeaten centuries has been noted by a few members.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Up]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Same]

Javed Omar

Javed Omar
Javed Omar

In 2006, we have seen the last of Omar in ODI. And I suspect that by 2007, we will see the last of Omar for Test as well. He was great in Test and served his tour of duty for our national team. We salute him. But I feel, it is time for us to acknowledge his contribution and move on. It is now time to look forward, and not backward.

BanglaCricket members' view: Members generally give Omar high value for his contribution to the team. It is, however, agreed that it is time for him to retire and take some rest.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Down]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Down]

Mohammad Rafique

Mohammad Rafique
Mohammad Rafique

Rafique is, with no doubt, a fighter. He regularly contributes in the team one way or another: either with batting or with bowling. Even though Rafique's fielding is not great, there is no denying of the fact that 100% of his effort is there. He can still continue bowling for two to three more years if he wants. But the good thing is, due to emergence of some few new young spinners, the team will be less depended on him to save it single handedly. Thus, the management should let him take rest once in a while.

The only concern about Rafique is his recent deterioration in batting form. The team used to rely heavily on his batting ability. I hope he regains his batting form back soon, as that will give the team two excellent sloggers in Mortoza and Rafique to end the innings and extend the scores from 240s to 280s. And that may be the difference between loosing versus winning. I hope age is not catching up with him. After WC '07, he should be given more rest and let the team create their next Rafique from the next generation.

BanglaCricket members' view: Rafique should continue in Tests, and retire from ODIs. Some feel that he should retire from Test by the end of 2007.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Same]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Down]

Mushfiqur Rahim

Mushfiqur Rahim
Mushfiqur Rahim

It is quite disappointing the way selectors have used Rahim. When he was in a better form in summer, he was not given an opportunity against Zimbabwe and Kenya. Now that he is out of form, he is given two opportunities to play. Out of these opportunities, he has failed to show his batting skills. On the other hand, the quality of his wicket keeping has surprised everyone. Now that Mashud has sort of lost his batting touch, which he is unlikely to regain due to his age, 2007 is the year of opportunity for Rahim and other young wicket keepers to take advantage of that. Even though he has the potential, it is too early to say whether Rahim is the next national wicketkeeper. Nothing about his potential is concrete yet. On principle, there should be vigorous competition for every slot, including the one for the second wicket keeper. So who is next in the line after Rahim? It is unfortunate that this is still not clear to anyone yet.

BanglaCricket members' view: Some members have shown their deep disappointments about Rahim. Although he may be the long term solution, some hope that someone else will fill in the gab between Rahim and Mashud.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Incomplete]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Up]

Syed Rasel

Syed Rasel
Syed Rasel

Rasel should be seen him as the 3rd fast bowler in the team, and therefore he should be used when the pitch is fast bowler friendly, or if we need to give rest to Mashrafee or Hossain. I don't expect him to increase his speed, which is below par at the moment. However, he can still be very effective for ODIs if he is accurate. Plus, in future, if he can concentrate on his batting, then he can make a good case to include him as a bowling all-rounder. But nothing so far gives us any indication that he can be a decent all-rounder. So 2007 is a “do or die” year for Rasel.

BanglaCricket members' view: He is going to face great challenge from Baisya, and the upcoming pacer named Shahzada. Even though he can swing the ball greatly, his pace at 120 km/hr gets easy punishment by good batsmen.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Up]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Same]

Abdur Razzak

Abdur Razzak
Abdur Razzak

I was never a fan of Razzak. But it really amazes me the way Razzak has blossomed in 2006. I agree he has played most of the games against weaker opponents. But it is also true for all of the Bangladeshi players. In 2006, Razzak was one of the top 3 performers for the team. Game-in and game-out he helped the team with his bowling during power plays as well as at the end-of-the-innings. In both cases he has been very effective. And that brings more value to the team. During 2006, statistics may prove that he has played at least as good as Rafique. And knowing how good Rafiq is for the team, that is something Razzak should be proud of. He has the potential of a decent batsman with good scoring rate. I hope in 2007 he prove himself a good bowling all-rounder: helping with bat if needed and bowling with good economy rate.

BanglaCricket members' view: Razzak's abilities have been questioned several times and debated upon. The general view is that, he has not proved anything yet, since he has not played many strong opponents. However, some argue that he has past his test, as he has played fairly in the matches against strong opponents. It is hard to tell which argument is right, and so it is better to leave it on time to answer the question. The question about whether he can keep his spot in the team will be answered in 2007.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Up]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Up]

Farhad Reza

Farhad Reza
Farhad Reza

Reza’s arrival in 2006 was a very pleasant surprise. When given opportunity, he held his own with the bat and created pressure to other fellow middle order batsman to perform more to retain their position. His bowling is below par (in general) for the national team. But then again, given opportunity, he may turn out to be a very good ODI middle order batsman and a serviceable fifth bowler. Personally, I think Forhad was one of the few bright spots of 2006. Nothing but sky is the limit for him. But whether he will get the chance consistantlyy, that is the real question. He is also a good fielder. I think his potential as a middle order batsman is under-appreciated while the problem with his bowling is over-emphasized. Over time he has the potential to be a very good batting all-rounder.

BanglaCricket members' view: Reza has started as a great striker of the ball, although with few bowling talent. Some members see no future in his bowling. He is seen as a batsman in the future, and argue that he should compete the place for a batsman.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Up]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Up]

Nazmus Sadat

After WC '07, this kid is going to get some exposure. I do not how ready he is. But, at the end of the year, he will create some positive splash in Bangladesh Cricket. If Mehrab Jr fails in ODI, Nazmus will get a chance sooner than later.

BanglaCricket members' view: Members seemto have a general agreement about Sadat.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Incomplete]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Up]

Rajin Saleh

Rajin Saleh
Rajin Saleh

I have high respect for Saleh, but I am happy that he was not needed that much to the national team in 2006. And I hope, we will need less of him, or players like him, in the year 2007. And that just tells that how much we have progressed in 2006. From now on it will be very difficult for players like Saleh, with limited capabilities, to be included in the team. And I am saying that not to demean him, but to elaborate the current talent level of the national team.

BanglaCricket members' view: Some feel that Saleh can contribute in the Test at number four, and when Bashar retires, Saleh can take the number three spot. Some members argue that positive intent and natural strokeplaying ability is required at number three for Test matches, which Bashar has done very well. This gives Saleh the opportunity for number four or five in Test, and some members have showed their interest in seeing him back in Test. He has been praised by a few for his technique and mindset, and for taking the time to set himself in the wicket.

[Year-end 2006 Stock: Down]
[Predicted 2007 Stock: Down]