Cricket again

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Tigers returned to normal cricket life today (Monday) after a three-day break following their week-long stint at the commando school.

The 15-member squad that will take part in the World Twenty20 had a short warm-up after reporting at 1:30pm to coach Shaun Williams at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium (SBNS) in Mirpur and then headed straight for cricket practice. Three groups of batsmen batted alternately at the centre wicket, the indoor facility against the bowling machine and the outdoor nets.

The team’s premier fast bowler Mashrafe Bin Mortaza bowled his first delivery in nearly a month today after sitting out the final two ODIs in Sri Lanka last month. Mortaza started gingerly but gained rhythm as he went along. The walking wounded at the camp at the School of Infantry & Tactics (SI & T) Tamim Iqbal (blisters), Abdur Razzak (ankle sprain), Alok Kapali (toe injury) and Mushfiqur Rahim (fever) all have recovered sufficiently and went through all the drills at today’s training.

The batsmen were understandably rusty as this was the first outing with the bat for most of them in weeks. They will get sufficient time to get in the groove wit a number of Twenty20 practice matches lined up starting with two against the Australia –bound National Academy side tomorrow at the SBNS. The games start at 9am and 1:30pm and all the 15 players will get at-least one match if the capricious weather holds. There are more practice games scheduled in the coming days.

Day’s quotes

Mohammad Ashraful

On playing the practice matches as preparation rather than going through the usual practice

We have played only one international Twenty20 match. Beside that we played seven matches in the last domestic calendar. So it is quite clear that this version of the game is not familiar to us. That is why I personally feel that it will be better for us to play Tewnty20 matches as preparation rather going through the usual practice sessions.

Whether this shorter version of the game will suit our batsmen more

Most of our batsmen are stroke makers. In the longer version game like an ODI or Test, sometimes we give away wickets by playing too many shots. But this is a game of 120 balls. You have to attack from the very beginning. Some of our newcomers are very attacking batsmen and they did well in the last domestic season. So I feel that we will adapt well with this Twenty20 format.

On his target of the ICC World Twenty20 Championship

We want to play in the second round. For that we have to win at least one group match. I am very much hopeful that we can do that.

On their chances of doing well

You can not win a Test by playing one good session. You have to play consistently well throughout the game for that. But in a Twenty20 match you do not have to keep up the tempo for a long time as it is the shorter version of the game. That is why I believe that we can do well in the tournament.

On newcomer Junaed Siddique

Junaed Siddique hammered a superb hundred against us in a domestic Twenty20 match. He was in blistering form throughout the domestic tournament. I hope that he will do the same for the national team and give us a flying start which is very important. In this shorter game if the top three batsmen fire then the middle and lower order have the freedom to slog.

On the importance of individual performance

Individual performance is important in all forms of the game whether it is Test or ODIs or Twenty20. If you score a hundred that will show in your team total as well.

On his bowlers

The economy rate of our main bowlers in ODIs is below five runs per over. So in the Twenty20 this might be an advantage for us.

Whether the Twenty20 format will overtake the ODI

I think the Twenty20 format will not overtake the ODI. The spectators might get fun from this version but ODI is unique in itself.

Junaed Siddique

On his plans at the international level

I will try to play my natural game and if I can do that I believe I can perform well at the international level.

On his fielding

I feel that my fielding has improved. I have been working hard with my fielding coach and practicing according to his direction.

On his thinking regarding Tests or ODIs

Right now I am not thinking about Test or ODI. My only focus is on the Twenty20 World Cup. I am eager to make an impact there. If I can do that then I will start thinking about the ODI or Test squad.

Tamim Iqbal

On his opening partner

I have little idea about Junaed Siddique but he seems a good player. After playing the practice matches I will get a clear idea about him. Who is more aggressive? I never think like that. One thing is sure that both of us like to play shots.

On his plans

In the Twenty20 games we have to score from the very first ball whether it is one or six. So I will play with full freedom.

Whether he has changed his batting approach

I have received a lot of question on this issue but I don’t know why. I have not changed my approach to the game. In Sri Lanka I responded to the match situation. The pitch was good for bowling and the wickets were falling all around me. That is why I slowed my inning in the latter stage of the third match although I scored my first 30 runs in 27-28 balls. I want to be known as a batsman not a slogger. If the ball is there to hit then I will do that whether it is the first or last ball of the innings.