Let me start by saying what a truly remarkable performance it was from you guys to beat the current World Champions in that thrilling high scoring chase which kept me at the edge of my seat for four straight hours (not eight only because of bathroom breaks). You lads have done everything that I have asked of you in my previous messages and since the India match is now done and dusted I thought I should continue writing to you while you shift your focus from the celebratory sweets on to your next opponent, the mighty Lankans.
Celebrating after the win against India
Remembering past matches against Sri Lanka which reads 2 wins and 27 losses, usually brings horrible memories in my mind. Be it the dismantling of our top order in the World Cup by Vaas or the unforgettable innings played by Murali in 2009 to clinch the series on our home soil, our performances against Sri Lanka has hardly been pleasant.
I am not bringing up bitter memories to discourage you folks but only to remind you of the ground realities and the enormously difficult task that awaits us. However, despite being overwhelming underdogs in the upcoming game, I am upbeat about our chances simply for two reasons. The first reason being we are now a radically improved team in the middle of re-writing our Asia Cup history which has only witnessed dismal performances in the past. Secondly, our somewhat fatigued Island neighbors arenâ€™t exactly having the best of times adapting to pitch conditions in Mirpur having flown in from the bouncy Australian pitches. As a bonus reason we can also remember that our chief tormentors Vaas and Murali are both now retired.
So it is with great confidence, hope and optimism I send my second batch of virtual messages/letters with the hope that that somehow in the wide arena of cyberspace some of you will read and like what I had to say to you before the game:
- Tamim: The two consecutive fifties in the last two games was a great achievement but unfortunately it has also raised your probability of failure exponentially for the next game. I hope that similar to Virat Kohli, you will also defy statistics and common belief and take yourself to a whole new level by building another big score. We all know you have done very well in this tournament laying the platform for the team but please remember the dark times you had to go through before this tournament and be guarded against complacency. We don't want to see you chasing wide of off stump deliveries early in the innings and we certainly do not want to see you get outdone by a swinging yorker from Malinga. Be tight and watchful against those fast full deliveries and also remember that the Lankan's just might give the ball to Dilshan to upset your rhythm. Play him in-front of your pad at all times like you did against Hafeez in this tournament and everything will be okay. Please also remember it is important to keep pace with the required run rate at the start of the innings like the Indians did against Pakistan because Mushfiq and Shakib won't be able to blaze away every time.
Nazimuddin: People are calling for your head already man so you need to deliver a solid performance in this game. In both games you looked comfortable but gave your wicket away trying to lift the tempo. Though your aggression is admirable, your shot selection isn't. We don't want you to go down the track and slog across the line. You have 50 overs to play with so just wait for the loose deliveries to feed your hunger for boundaries. Pick the singles so that the pressure doesn't rise on you and at the same time watch out for the incoming delivery from Kulasekara. With your back-foot oriented approach you should be careful of the LBW threat from Lankan bowlers.
Tamim Iqbal playes a reverse sweep
- Jahirul: Thanks for not repeating your mistakes in the second game. You are shaping up to be a perfect number three batsman. I hope you continue in the same manner and get us an even bigger score.
- Nasir: Brilliant stuff from you yet again. You have all the talent and skill to succeed. Only thing i worry about is your ability to handle success. Please be guarded against complacency and don't be loose on your defense. As Gul showed you, it takes one good ball to undo a good effort.
- Shakib: You were an absolute champion with the bat against India but I hope you do better with the ball against Sri Lanka though. Please donâ€™t get flustered if they hit you for a six. We want to see more flight and spin from your deliveries rather than the flat stuff you have been bowling. You are our main wicket taker so go for wickets leave the containment job to Razzak. We know that the Sri Lankan batting is heavily reliant on Sangakara, Jaywardene and Dilshan so I would hope you will bring yourself on to each of these batters while they are new to the crease.
Mushy: What an extraordinary innings that was! The â€˜Chris Gayleâ€™ in you really shone against India and we really hope you get to play a similar role rather than the damage control/survival role you have had to play in the past.
Mushfiq cheering after wining the match
p.s Keep the â€œbehind the stump chatterâ€ going and make it unbearable for Mr. Sangakara to bat.
- Mahmudullah: Good finishing touch in the last game. Donâ€™t really have much to say to you except that you should work on your bowling so that itâ€™s not a buffet of runs for the opposition batsman.
- Mash: Good job against India. You kept things tight and kept the score within reasonable levels. We hope the same from you again and if possible a couple of top order wickets early would be nice as well.
- Razzak: Great job against India! While Shahadat was serving up rubbish from the other end, it was your spell that kept us in control of the situation. Thanks for putting in such an economical spell against the best players of spin. We hope things will be a little easier against Sri Lanka. If you get a chance with the new ball which I think you should (early against Dilshan), try to skid one through the defense of Dilu and tell Mr. Manjrekar to suck it on twitter.
- Nazmul: Feel really bad for you man. The foster parents/Team Management is treating you worse than Harry Potterâ€™s Uncle. On a positive note, with Shafiul injured, there is no reason not to play you now but since you are â€œNazmulâ€ we can never be too sure. I hope you get a game and cement your place (with several layers of concrete). Good luck!
- Abul Hasan: Donâ€™t know too much about you. All I can say is that please donâ€™t get hammered like the unfortunate Dollar Mahmud who sank like the dollar ever since. Also please remember that our fielding has been outstanding so far so donâ€™t want to see any drop catches from you.
p.s I have heard you are a hard hitting batsman and I sincerely hope your reputation didnâ€™t spread from the same guy who coined â€œChokkaâ€ Naeem.