Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Zeeshan Mahmud

The Big Picture

Both are wicket-keeper captains. Both got a double ton in Test. One is brute force; another wits and wile. And both have names starting with 'M'.  McCullum and Mushfiqur are just symbols of two uncertain teams pitted against each other.  While people devoid of imagiantion likes to conceive Bangladesh vs. Zimbabwe as the poor man's Ashes, I like to state otherwise. With a less than a day to kick-off a much awaited tournament, this is just the beginning of an age old rivalry.

With Bangladesh dropping down to No. 10 in Test - below- Zimbabwe, we mustn't be disheartned but set our sights even farther to take on the No. 8 ranked Blackcaps. And no better time the augurs can conceive than this auspicious month of October itself.

It is no denying that October is our lucky charm! On October 18, 2008, Shakib would go on to leave New Zealand in tatters, and on this same day after three years would oust Windies bundling under only 61 runs. In spite of Shakib's efforts, we would lose the Test against Kiwis. However, do look at the snapshot below taken from the last 5 years chronicling BD-New Zealand encounter at home.

See any commonality?

Match results
Bangladesh won 7 wickets 27 won 2nd   v New Zealand Dhaka 9 Oct 2008
Bangladesh lost 75 runs   won 2nd   v New Zealand Dhaka 11 Oct 2008
Bangladesh lost 79 runs   lost 2nd   v New Zealand Chittagong 14 Oct 2008
Bangladesh won 9 runs   won 1st   v New Zealand Dhaka 5 Oct 2010
Bangladesh aban -   - -   v New Zealand Dhaka 8 Oct 2010
Bangladesh won 7 wickets 60 won 2nd   v New Zealand Dhaka 11 Oct 2010
Bangladesh won 9 runs   lost 1st   v New Zealand Dhaka 14 Oct 2010
Bangladesh won 3 runs   won 1st   v New Zealand Dhaka 17 Oct 2010

Yes, they have all been played in October.  But they are at 'even-stevens'  as overall figures show where they stand at 50/50 win-loss ratio.

Innings by innings list
Bangladesh 86 31.5 2.70 2 lost   v New Zealand Chittagong 2 Nov 2004
Bangladesh 146 43.4 3.34 1 lost   v New Zealand Dhaka 5 Nov 2004
Bangladesh 167/7 50.0 3.34 2 lost   v New Zealand Dhaka 7 Nov 2004
Bangladesh 202/3 45.3 4.43 2 won   v New Zealand Dhaka 9 Oct 2008
Bangladesh 137 42.4 3.21 2 lost   v New Zealand Dhaka 11 Oct 2008
Bangladesh 170/8 50.0 3.40 2 lost   v New Zealand Chittagong 14 Oct 2008
Bangladesh 228 49.3 4.60 1 won   v New Zealand Dhaka 5 Oct 2010
Bangladesh 177/3 40.0 4.42 2 won   v New Zealand Dhaka 11 Oct 2010
Bangladesh 241 48.1 5.00 1 won   v New Zealand Dhaka 14 Oct 2010
Bangladesh 174 44.2 3.92 1 won   v New Zealand Dhaka 17 Oct 2010

In October, however, it's altogether a different story:

Overall figures
Bangladesh 2008-2010 7 5 2 0 0 2.50 24.61 4.15 7 241 137

Sure, I am tweaking stats, here; however, it's a tad bit refreshing to see that for once BCB got one thing right: choosing the right month for the series! Perhaps on a second thought, this is not at all astonishing that Bangladesh beat New Zealand at home, thanks to that famous Kiwiwash, 5 times out of 7, that the host had hard time acclimitazing in different season, esp. of a pitch benefitting the SLAs. Of course, Bangladesh have won all the recent ODI matches in the 2010 series, with the brief interjection of an abandoned second ODI.

Let the viewers beware

1-2-3 and a World Record. There is no way a bruised and battered fan can forget the bludgeoning by McCullum at Pallekele  in 2012 with his 123 off 58 for a record total in T20. It's clear that McCullum likes hostile behavior against us, and like Vettori he does not particularly like us and enjoys scoring runs. If you don't believe me, just Google, McCullum + Queenstown. On New Year's eve in 2007, McCullum would punish the sorry hosts, when chasing a target of 95 in 50 overs, making the bulk of it thanks to a 19-ball 50 and winning by 10-wickets. The match would be over in six overs. This is not the first and only time the 31 year old in stubs, arm tattoos, with a Viv Richard swagger, as often seen chewing gums, or God-knows what leaf (!), is seen  to break stats. Before Gayle's 175*, his KKR innings was hailed as the highest (and brutal) innings of IPL at Bangalore. Readers have been warned; let the viewers beware!

Bangladesh 2.0

Well, it's that time of the year again! Again the Kiwis will meet us at home after two and a half years. Bangladesh have come back strong many times, not the least of which, was the dramatic victory at home, again in...yup, you guessed it... October! It was their first time in 12th attempt. While they would lose the series, at least, the first crack would be shown.

Now, that the cat's out the bag - and I refer in tongue in cheek to ACSU saga of Ashraful investigation, the team has a better perception of it's own self. Say, now we don't have to die wondering, about the question mark performances of Ashraful's commitment. Sure, his loss is a loss of big asset, but - in the same line as the post-ICL saga- this temporary setback will only galvanize us. We have Nasir in our side, Test double centurion, one of the best all-rounders --- ladies and gentlemen, it's not the Bangladesh of your grandpa' we are talking here. It's Bangladesh 2.0 where any freaky incident can happen any time.


But, as I maintain in forum, cricket can be appreciated only at the fullest level if one enjoys the game. No, by that it's not about giggling and chirping, but it's the very Mind-Body connection of an improved performance that I hint at, where only the relaxed state of mind, can yield the best results. As the KSL site describes in detail:

Bear in mind that an anxious mind cannot exist in a relaxed body or a quiet mind can not exist in a tense body.

Also remember that thoughts associated with worry and anxiety, affect heart rate, muscle tension and breathing rate. This change in muscle tension and breathing rate will have a negative affect on an archer's fine motor coordination, focus, center of gravity and timing; all critical components in archery.

Therefore, breathing properly is not only relaxing; it also facilitates performance by increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, resulting in a drop of anxiety. Breathing properly also carries more energy to the muscles and facilitates the removal of waste products.

But, I still, hark to an enjoyment in a deeper level in a conservative culture of ours where trifles is frowned upon and light-natured humor suppressed. "Be serious!" "Be serious!" But why exactly so serious?  I don't have to reiterate how often one hears it back at home. But, one can only be "serious" by giving full and undivided attention and fully engaging in a conscious activity. And that comes from relaxed state of mind.

So bring on the bee--err drinks, and the flags, paint brush, and party of five for a full-on festivity in this month. Can New Zealand break the curse of October? Well, all I can say is, we are not doomed and my spidey-sense is telling me something big will happen, say, another Kiwiwash!

I will see you at the stadium.