Batsmen seek balance
"Watch!" a terrified Nasir screamed as a ball smashed onto the sight-screen in front of which close to three-dozen journalists were busy observing the national team's training.
One of the team's most trusted helpers, Nasir had to make the extra effort of keeping everyone on their toes yesterday as the training session was quite intense.
All four practice nets -- two on each side of the side-screen -- at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna were occupied with batsmen trying their best to get a feel of the middle of their bats. And in the process, there were a few edges and skiers that everyone had to watch out for.
The above incident perhaps best reflects the kind of intensity with which the Tigers, especially the batsmen, have been training since their arrival in Khulna. And the reason behind that could be the fact that they haven't been doing that well with the bat in this format of the game.
It was something that was evident in their last match against Zimbabwe as well. While they romped home eventually, they required all of the eight batsmen in the side to overcome Zimbabwe's total of 163, which incidentally was the highest ever total they chased down at home and the second highest overall.
The most obvious problem seems to be the batsmen's inability to make the most of their starts.
Admittedly, it is a tricky scenario. One can't just go all out attempting to smack every delivery for a boundary but at the same time, a batsman can't take too much time to get set.
Bangladesh's batsmen are yet to find the right balance. The numbers paint a better portrait. The average runs scored per wicket for Bangladesh is just 18.66. Countries like Zimbabwe, Ireland, Afghanistan and even Scotland have fared better. The highest score in a T20I by a Bangladeshi batsman is 88. Tamim Iqbal posted that three years ago.
The reason behind the bleak picture could be the fact that Bangladesh haven't played too many T20s, either internationally or in the domestic circuit.
Going into the Asia Cup T20 and the ICC World Twenty20, there are a number of things that the team management is trying out, but it's obvious that this is the aspect which should matter the most to the management; and they seem to be addressing it well in these training sessions.
Bangladesh are likely to field an unchanged side for the second T20I in Khulna today. While winning the match would be their main priority, they would undoubtedly also want to see at least one of their batsmen playing a big knock.
The player closest to achieving that target was Sabbir Rahman, who had hit a valuable 46 in the first T20I. However, he was dismissed long before the game was in hand and the management will hope that they can witness a bigger knock.
Zimbabwe on the other hand will hope they can finish the match better. A record opening partnership gave them the best possible start in the opener, yet they seemed to lack the sense of confidence that was required to finish well.
They had an opportunity to take the game away from the hosts in the last match and they will hope they get one again today.