Sunday, July 21, 2024

Ashraful might be the answer

Bangladesh have embarked on their World Cup journey with a performance that, at least with the bat, is encouraging. To be able to score 283 while under the pressure of chasing the huge total of 370, hints at some maturity among the batsmen. What cannot be glossed over, however, is the team’s obvious Achilles’ heel — the Powerplay. In a global tournament every advantage must be seized upon, and the batting Powerplay is one such that cannot be let go of when playing the crunch games.
In the opening match, the team managed 30 runs for the loss of three wickets during the five overs of the batting Powerplay. The match may have been lost by then, but such poor returns can make all the difference in matches to follow.
As this problem has been present for some time, it might not be a bad idea to look outside the current playing eleven for an attempt at a solution.
Mohammad Ashraful is widely acknowledged to be one of the most, if not the most, frustrating cricketers of his generation for his obvious talent and even more obvious waste of it. However, he is in the squad, and must at one point be an option. Also, one of his biggest limitations is his apparent inability to plan an innings. The muddled thinking he has been displaying in his recent exploits at the crease points to a player unsure of his role in the team. Forming the basis of the frustration of most of the cricket world is that Ashraful is also one of the best, most breathtaking strokeplayers in the game — it is just that the world gets to witness it on the rarest of occasions.
Perhaps what he needs, and what the Tigers also need, is for him to be given a role that allows full expression to his most valuable asset, the seminal and inventive strokeplay that gave the world ‘The Ashraful’ — a scoop-flick over short fine leg that was at first synonymous with the mercurial Bangladeshi. The lower order, with the batting Powerplay in mind, might be the perfect position for him because he will enter the game with only one objective. In other words he will not have to worry about how to pace his innings, just about getting as many runs from the death overs as possible.
His fans, and there are a huge number of them, often advocate his selection saying that he can be used as a ‘bonus’ player so that if he clicks, he may well win the game, and if he doesn’t it will not be much of a loss because as a bonus player he is not central to team strategy. Also, it makes more sense that a bonus player be used in the lower half of the batting than at the top, where failures are more damaging to the team’s prospects. Additionally, the top five in the batting line-up have been performing well and it would be foolish to tinker with the balance there.
Also, his inclusion would not hamper the balance of the team as he has shown recently that he is capable of bowling a few tidy overs of off-spin. The Powerplay situation is screaming for a solution, and one has to be found, if only for the duration of this World Cup, and when it comes to strokeplay it is no secret that Ashraful is second to none.

 

Via: The Daily Star

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