Friday, September 22, 2023

Tigers positive ahead of vital clash

The Bangladesh team turned up for training yesterday after a day’s break at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, coming back in a united mood. The sentiment, as top-order batsman Junaed Siddiqui and vice-captain Tamim Iqbal said, was that normalcy has returned to the team after the shocker against West Indies and the off-field controversies that followed. The left-handers also informed that the team has recovered fully from the loss and are ready to play their best cricket in the crucial Group B match against England on March 11 in the port city.
Only a win against England can keep Bangladesh’s hopes alive for a quarterfinal berth. After the disaster last Friday, there had been a lot of controversies centring on skipper Shakib Al Hasan, so everybody will be keen to see how Shakib’s young brigade handles adversity when they take on England in the vital game.
But the main question centres on the team’s preparations to get back into rhythm with the bat in hand. Bangladesh hit their lowest ODI score of 58 against West Indies and while one might bracket it as an “abnormal day”, the fact is that Bangladesh’s batting is a real concern in the tournament. The Tigers have so far played three games and alarmingly, some of their batting seemed out of track. What was also evident was that some of the batsmen failed to carry on their innings after a good start. Junaed Siddiqui, the No 3, was among them. It seemed that the batsmen simply forgot how to build an innings by milking singles rather than looking to be too positive in their batting like Junaed had in the three games so far.
“We had a lack of partnerships in the last three games and the team didn’t get any big innings. So the batting should click and one or two of the batsmen from there must carry the innings. We are totally focused on this matter and working hard so that we can do something in the next game,” said Junaed, who scored 37, 3 and 25 thus far.
To find a solution, it is likely that the Bangladesh think-tank will make some changes in the batting order as Rokibul Hasan may be brought up to his customary No 4 position instead of wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim who has had an ordinary time in that position. There is hardly any chance to see any change in the top-order but the brains trust are considering one or two changes in the team from the last game’s eleven. There is a good chance that all-rounder Mahmudullah Riyad may be back into the side in place of Mohammad Ashraful while left-arm spinner Sohrawardi Shuvo is also under consideration. In that case, Bangladesh may play with one pace bowler but nothing has been confirmed yet.
“I don’t think there was any technical problem in our batting. The whole scenario will be changed if we can build a good partnership like 100-odd runs at the top-order. What happened has happened but we believe this team is capable of showing much better performances,” observed Tamim Iqbal, the local hero who is eagerly waiting to hit a hundred in his home town.
According to sources, it will not be an easy task for the batsmen to score runs on the track of the port city as batsmen have to apply themselves to take singles by rotating the strike and Tamim also said that they have to build up the innings first before hitting the ball hard.
“I have a particular role in the team which is to give a good start and I believe in the next match we will be able to put up a good score on the board if Imrul [Kayes] and I can give a platform for the middle-order batsmen. But we must focus on the partnership,” observed Tamim.
In the last few months, Shakib has been marshalling the middle-order almost single-handedly but the left-hander was not at his usual best in the last three innings (55, 16 and 8), making the Tigers middle-order look vulnerable.
So, the team will desperately need something from the world’s No 1 all-rounder, who is under pressure not only because of his own form and the team’s, but also for some of the off-field controversies. “He [Shakib] is okay,” said a smiling Tamim about his captain.
Junaed also said that the team is united and the team spirit is also fine and everybody is looking forward to the battle on Friday.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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