Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2014
|I am mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it any more!|
Razab Q. Chowdhury
We have recently lost a few close games and the general consensus seems to be that we are just going through a lull in form, and that we have been unfortunate.
I could go on and on. And am I being overly harsh? Hardly
Overall Team Strategy
How many tournaments have we now missed out on because we played safe against the Papua New Guineas and Irelands of the world rather than being wise to the NRR and making sure we were ahead? By my count that number is 4+ (3 U-19 and the last WC)
Batting Lacking Confidence or Thought
A good side does not blame misfortune for a loss. When a set batsman who needs 3 runs for a win gets a full toss and doesn't connect (Anamul against Lanka in the 1st T20) and follows that with an inability to deal with a full toss from an irregular off-spinner (in the India ODI)- to me that is a SKILLS issue. Anamul clearly struggles to hit full tosses that are aimed at him (he dispatched the wide one from Aaron). SKILSS is a fixable issue, if one is so inclined. I'd love to know how many such deliveries has Anamul requested from the bowling machine since that first T20
Similarly, with India's track record while chasing known to all, it would have an explicit goal of the team to set a 320+ target (Lest I be accused of engaging in revisionism, there are public FaceBook updates right after we posted 279 where I said we were 40 short). Anyway, the Tigers knew they needed to set a 320 target and two of their most explosive players (Shakib and Tamim) are not available due to suspension and injury (respectively) and the next most explosive member of the team is going through a patch of bad form (Nasir). Yet we saw no visible team rejigging to account for this? Where was the cover? Why wasn't a Shabbir brought in for options.
During the match itself, when Anamul gets out in the PowerPlays we send in Naeem. Whose game is about getting in at early fall of wickets and building up his strike rate slowly. It's not difficult to surmise exactly what team management was thinking. If our batters went into a helter skelter hitting mode, there would be a high chance for collapse and then the innings would not have lasted the whole 50 overs.
This decision to stick with the original lineup represents timidity of the highest order. Ziaur Rahaman could have easily sent with instructions to go for broke. His present form and actual performance later in the innings shows the value of such a move. And if he had gotten out cheaply, Naeem could still have been sent to consolidate. What management seems to forget is that our batters do not have the pure power to hit sixes. There were at least 5-6 good shots that Zia and Mushy played during the slog overs, which if there hadn't been protection/boundary riders we would have gotten 10-15 more runs that way. If they were hit during the overs where the fielding side can only keep a few outside the circle, we'd have gotten our boundary count up. Our consistent inability to maximize the PowerPlays is almost criminal.
Next comes bowler rotations. Just looking at the most recent India match, other posters have remarked on the faulty thought process that likely led to Zia being taking off when Kohli came in - fearing the reputation and not respecting the match situation. Zia might be slow but he's the only pacer we have who is a hit the deck type of bowler (given his build) and earlier in the match Shami' and Bhubi had amply demonstrated that the pitch was conduciveness to back-of-length hit the deck deliveries, especially when the ball was newish.
Kohli like any batter, needs a few deliveries to get used to the pace of the wicket but his ego (which had already led him to conceding 2 overthrows) might have led to him taking undue liberties with Zia. We could have gotten him cheaply. But no - gutlessness prevailed over attack-mindedness.
Overall Un-threating Bowling
After all these years of playing top flight cricket, Bangladesh still has not had a match winning bowler. People will point to Shakib as examples of match winner. They would be wrong.
Shakib and Rafique (his predecessor), are really good spinners who have been forced to play the lead attack roles even though are limited.
Since spinners take the bulk of our wickets, the less said of the pacers the better.
Most of our pacers would struggle to break into a Ranji side (and I've been watching a fair amount of it lately thanks to Willow), never mind a County 2nd XI. They are not big on swing or seam. They don't have express pace. They do not have the height to cause uncomfortable bounce. And worst of all, they are NOT accurate enough.
Combine all of this and unless it is a very slow/low track, our bowling attack does not scare anyone in the world. And I include Afghanistan and Ireland in that list of teams who reckon they can handle their bidiness against our attack.
Now we come to fielding, the one area where poor teams are supposed to catch up. We still drop way too many catches and because we don't have bowlers who consistently create chances our close catching is very ad hoc. Most decent teams have a designated set of slippers, 1-2 cat-quick cover/point guys, a couple of strong armed, fast boundary riders, and otherwise competent fielders. In the Bangladesh side at present, Nasir is the closest thing we have to a point-specialist (Aftab was the other such player) but lately he's been dropping his share of sitters. Shakib, Tamim and Mash have let their lack of fitness take away from their mobility and thus from fielding. Other than Rubel and TiK, not a single strong-armed thrower from the deep. So hardly a top-tier fielding side the makings of.
Having exhausted the on-field or around-field aspects of strategy, batting, bowling and fielding leaves us with off-the field capabilities. BCB is inept. This administration only saves face because the Zimbabwe and Pakistan cricket administrators are even more abysmal. It is a minor miracle that we have won the few matches we have.
Not for nothing we are labeled as minnows.
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