Thursday, February 22, 2024

‘Batting issues mental’

In Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim’s view Pakistan and West Indies are the favourites in the ongoing ICC World Twenty20. The logic behind his position is that
the two sides have more match-winners than other teams in the competition and this is a special strength which will help the teams to win matches in the shortest version of the game.
It is in this area that Bangladesh stand far behind the other top teams — instead of brilliant displays of talent from a host of match-winners Bangladesh have to rely on their team’s combined effort. According to Mushfiqur the defeat against Ireland again exposed their weakness in the newest version of the game, a format they have only recently started coming to terms with. The Bangladesh captain believed that Ireland didn’t win the match; rather it was gifted to their opponents mainly through the Tigers’ poor middle-order batting. The vulnerable middle-order has become a headache for the team ahead of their challenges against New Zealand and Pakistan in the group stage. The team management have to rectify the issue if they want to pull off a few surprises in the tournament because it is more or less a batsman’s game.
“You see our top order is getting runs for the last six months and they are in good touch but the problem lies with our middle order. It has happened quite often over the last six months that we lost a few quick wickets in the middle. It was a very easy match against Ireland but we lost three quick wickets though there was no hurry with the asking run rate,” said Mushfiqur, who looked confident despite his team’s five-run defeat against Ireland in the last warm-up game in Colombo.
Then the question came up of where exactly the middle-order problems lay?
“Me, Riyad bhai (Mahmudullah Riyad) and Nasir (Hossain) became cautious rather than playing our natural game though the situation was a normal one for us. And few dot balls put pressure on us which forced us to play some bad shots. We could have finished the match with a few overs in hand if we played our natural game because we are basically stroke players. This was a new experience for us because we hardly get that kind of a comfortable situation when we go out to bat. We talked with our coach (Richard Pybus) and realised our problem which is that we have to play with a positive mindset,” he explained.
“I think there is no problem with the skill; rather it’s a psychological problem,” he added.
The fourth version of the mega event has widely been considered the most open tournament, in which case Bangladesh should be looking forward to their chances in the meet.
“Previously we never took such a preparation before the tournament as this time we played 15 matches in different conditions. We achieved 80 to 85 percent of our expectations. There might be some problems with individual improvements but overall our preparation is not bad. What we must ensure is that we do not get over-excited with the tournament. True, it’s a World Cup match but it is also just a cricket match and we must think along those lines,” responded the wicketkeeper-batsman, who won nine matches out of fifteen, while reiterating that there is no small or big team in this version.
He admitted that as a captain it was painful for him when they lost the match against Ireland but like star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, he also said that he wants to take the positives from the defeat.
Rather than focusing too much on the defeat, the Tigers apparently seemed to be focused on their next challenge against New Zealand on September 21 at the Pallekele National Cricket Stadium.
“We have to do extra hard work in the next two days before the match against New Zealand. We are accustomed to the weather and now we have to adjust to the conditions where uncharacteristically pace bowlers get the favour. But our strength is spin bowling and you know our opponents have number of left-handed batsmen,” said Mushfiqur.
The Bangladesh captain thus hinted that they are not interested in tampering with the combination that played the last two warm-up games.

-With The Daily Star input

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