There are alluring homologies between our team and the fan. Looking back at the batting presentations for the past 12 months or so, we can ascertain that each and everyone of our players made significant contributions one time or another. One time or another each of them failed miserably. Hannan? Kapali? Rajin? Gullu? Bashar? Ashraful? Mushfiq? Masud? Mahmud? Bidyut? You name them, all did very good at one point yet fell well short in another.
And we the fans, everytime we see someone excels, we jump up and say, he is the best, keep him and drop the other one. Whenever we find him coming back to the pavilion empty handed, we hardly miss a go at him.
When chacha failed, we were dying to get Bashar to captain the fallen team just as we did to Chacha when Pilot failed. And now we want Bashar's head. Surprise, surprise.
When Gullu sweats to open his book even after playing more than 30 balls, we want him out of the team yet when he blasts few balls to the rope we instantly make him hero. Some of us even cross extra yards to suggest him to captain the team. Big surprise.
I can go on and on with the laundry list of similar observations.
We want players to tune up and tune up fast. But we need to orient ourselves as fans too. Is it really a bright idea to support and help the team by selecting the team or changing their positions in every other posts? So far we have been showing phenomenal talent in this area just as the players showing remarkable consistency in being inconsistent.
I'm pretty sure we have many genuine analysts among our members. We want them to come out and discuss why, say, Bashar gets decent runs in tests but virtually non-existent in ODIs? Is it because he rushes for runs? Different field settings? Aggressive bowling? Exposure of particular weakness? Color of the ball? Play differently? Wrong guard? Breach of concentration? Pitch conditions? What is it that bothers most of the players in both versions of the game?
More importantly, why some of them continue to make repeat mistakes? We know, the day three or more of the batsmen will manage to rise up to the occasion, the odds of winning will sure tilt our way big time. Why then they are not clicking together, three or more at a time?
Some say it's a mental block. While it is easy to label it a mental thing, we may never know who or what leads them to develop such blocks unless we actively look for it. The block may come from lack of confidence which may stem from fear, fear of being out early. Down along the chain, we will find low scoring to be a visible one. I'll leave for the experts to dig deeper to unearth the root cause, if any; while I make a full stop right here to discuss a thing or two on that low score thingy.
In the end what matters most is not how the score comes by but what it reads. May be our players were not fortunate enough to have the same level of training and facility the current age groups have. So they might have some flawed technique and crude reflex as Mahmud complains so often. But they have almost everything now they can ask for. For Whatmore it is really a tough job to begin with as the students in his master's class directly came from the high school skipping the college. Students are talented nonetheless and they can only be refined further even if some flaws remain.
By scoring big at times, they showed their ability. They need to show it more often, but how? Of course better pitch, quality opponent and relentless training are prerequisites. Unlike the big boys from other nations, they need to be mindful of their shortcomings. They should never forget for a second that they are talented but technically disadvantaged one way or another comparing to the other test players.
Keeping that in mind, they should play each and every ball they face by it's own merit. Instead of going for big innings, like the Bashars and Ashrafuls tend to do all the time, they should always make small targets, like say, 10 runs or 5 overs and append even smaller targets to that when reached. In the dressing room they should be accounted for any failure.
The tailenders made tremendous advancements in recent past. They do fail once in a while but they have become more and more consistent and reliable. How they do that? They just don't look for big innings unlike their compatriot upper orders. They learnt to negotiate each ball by its merit and play accordingly. They do not have fancy technique at their disposal, they do not even have elegant stroke making persona, yet they regularly send the ball to the ropes and even manage to rotate the strikes every other balls.
Our batsmen seriously need to learn from the tailenders. Just because they play in the upper orders, does not make them specialist batsmen. If they need to ask for help, they don't need to look further than Tapash and Tareq.
Sometimes I have a feeling that they are not getting enough batting practice. They have only handful of days between tours and even some of those days get washed out many a times.
Apart from scoring runs, they need to learn how to survive, how to stay on the crease ball after ball, over after over. Can any of the batsmen makes assertion that he will regularly survive 10 overs? How many times they were out defending the ball? Some of the batsmen start their innings with a hunger, hunger for runs. Their aggression with the bat reminds only of an early morning fight at home.
We waited many years for a win, we can even wait more for the next. We don't mind loosing to a better team. But we do take notes of humiliation. All we want now is good fight. Loosing a few wickets at the 50th over is understandable, but all out before 45th over?
We seriously call for batting improvements. If Tapash and Tareq can do it so can Bashar and Rajin. If Rana can maintain a decent consistency, so can Mushfiq. If Masud can be patient so can Ashraful.
Part time fielding coaches, David Young and Trevor Chappel made good of our fielders. Apart from few dropped catches, which is just unfortunate part of the package at times, our fielders are quite capable of making their presence known in the oval even with some physical disadvantages.
Since the introduction of Matteau Owen as the part time specialist batting coach for the bowlers, it did and continue to do wonders for us. Relatively unknown tailenders suddenly become a class act within short span of time. Affectionately the fans call it the best tail of the world. And there's some truth to it.
Perhaps, a similar part time specialist batting coach for the upper orders would do the trick. At least no harm is apparent. Good to see that Whatmore himself recognized the current non functional installments and even hinted for changes. It is about time for the BCB to be in look out for other ways to make palpable improvements.