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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.

Skills need time to improve

Published: 9th May, 2004

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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 on field.

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.

 

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