It is a simple fact that better teams have better skills. The team that shows
better skills, wins a cricket match. And it takes a lot of time to hone those
skills. This is why there is a gulf of difference between test playing nations
and non-test playing nations.
Bangladesh was a non-test playing nation once. They are gradually improving
to turn into a skillful test playing nation. As it takes time to improve individuals'
skills in terms of cricket playing ability, so Bangladesh is also taking time
to make a name for itself in the International arena.
THE MAN behind Bangladesh's recent success, Dav Whatmore has been saying that
his primary concern is to concentrate on this particular area i.e. "skill".
He has been saying from the beginning that winning is not paramount. He wants
them to improve their personal skills, one by one. And if the players can achieve
this, then the win will come in our way ultimately.
So what is "skill"? According to Oxford Dictionary, skill is '1 ability
to do something well: show great skill at driving, telling stories, playing
billiards; 2 particular type of skill: the practical skills needed in carpentry'.
In cricket, we can divide it into two parts - mental and physical. The backbone
of the mental skill comes from confidence- the confidence from winning matches,
consistently. The coach, the players, all of them had been striving for this
confidence. They were constantly repeating and praying for just one
win. Now that they have got this win, it is time for them to show it
The players have been saying that if they face a close-match situation, then
they have the confidence to win that close match.
However, it is required to have the physical skills to turn a match into a
close one. And this is exactly where the Bangladesh players are lacking against
the West Indies team.
In cricket, these physical skills can be divided into three main parts: batting,
bowling and fielding.
We have to figure out what we lack in the batting department. Really, where
do we lack in our batting? Is it that we cannot execute pull shots, hook shots,
cover drives, square drives? Or is it that we cannot play lofted shots, leg
glances, or any other shots? Well, what is it? The answer is NO, we can play
all the shots in the book. If so, then how come our players have such poor batting
averages and such poor strike rates? I mean, the average batting average is
only in the 20s and the average strike rate is only over the 50s. Why is that?
The broader part of the answer lies in our cricket history. We have been an
ICC Associate country for so long that our skills have not developed properly
so that we can compete with the other test playing nations. Well, everybody
knows this broader part of the answer. But, there is one other answer. Our minds
are set to such low targets, that we are more than satisfied with only little
successes. We do not look into the bigger picture. Well, enough of this philosophy
talks. Let us now move on to the actual discussion of the batting skills that
needs to be pointed out.
In our batting, finding the right opening pair has been a problem for quite
some time. Because of our home-conditions, our openers, in International matches,
find it difficult to adjust to the new ball. Here is the main dilemma - we have
the perfect opener in Hannan Sarkar who has adjusted to the International matches
and is capable of things that we can only dream that they can do. Yet, he is
so inconsistent! He makes it difficult for the selectors as well as the team
management to include him as a regular in the squad. If we compare him with
the others in both batting and fielding, we can figure out our availability
and non-availability of skills. It has been recently observed that he has such
a safe pair of hands, and yet, some other players in the same side does not
have such safe pair of hands. Why is that?
I mean, if we tell these players to learn from one another, and if they are
really successful in learning from one another, then we do not even need a coach.
But, it is only a far cry and will never happen.
Where were we? Oh, right - the physical skills of our players. In the fielding
department, our players have improved so much, and we have observed this in
the first test match against Zimbabwe. But the thing is, the players are catching
good ones one day, and the same players are dropping catches on another day.
So clearly, the lack of consistency is there in the fielding department, too.
We are not certain as to how much the players have improved in their individual
skill department, but we can say one thing for sure, we have to show a much
better skill against the West Indies on their own back yards if we are to turn
a match into a close one.