Batting blues bring desperate moves

New AgeBatting blues bring desperate moves

Bangladesh pace bowling coach Ottis Gibson (2nd-R) gives some batting tips to Tamim Iqbal (L) as former national team assistant coach Mohammad Salahuddin looks on during a training session at Mirpur on Saturday. — BCB photo

Feb 15,2020

Bangladesh Cricket Board engaged its all available resources to fine-tune the batting skills of some senior cricketers ahead of the forthcoming one-off Test series against Zimbabwe and the second Test against Pakistan.

Batting had been the Achilles’ heel of Bangladesh team, which was evident in their recent matches, especially in Test format, when they struggled against every opposition and suffered defeat in their last six Tests — three of them by innings margin.

Senior players like Tamim Iqbal, who returned to Test squad with the first Test against Pakistan after skipping the previous three matches, could do little solve the problem as they kept tottering at the crease.

BCB invited former national team assistant coach Mohammad Salahuddin in the nets of national team for last two days and he, along with national team head coach Russell Domingo and pace bowling coach Ottis Gibson, worked with Tamim and captain Mominul Haque for the last couple of days.

Former BKSP coach Salahuddin helped these players grow up in their young age and often worked with them individually being a mentor whenever they felt it was necessary.

But he distanced himself from the national team camp, especially from the time of Sri Lankan coach Chandika Hathurusinghe, who did not cherish the idea of an involvement of someone not part of his coaching staff.

‘Probably he [Salahuddin] joined them at the insistence of the senior cricketers. We have not started the national camp yet and if the coaching staff is fine with him around during this individual training we should not have any problem,’ said BCB’s cricket operations chief Akram Khan.

Other national cricketers also welcomed the idea.

‘Tamim Bhai, Sourav [Mominul] everyone works personally with Salahuddin Sir and so Salahuddin Sir knows well about Tamim Bhai and Sourav,’ said batsman Mohammad Mithun.

‘It has been only 6-7 months since Domingo has arrived. And Salahuddin Sir has seen them almost for 10 years and so they were discussing with him [Salahuddin] what would be right and wrong for them,’ he said.

Domingo seemed to be keen to take the input from his bowling coach Gibson, who also worked as the head coach South Africa before taking up the Bangladesh role.

Domingo earlier stated that he did not want to Gibson to work only as a bowling coach and his interaction with Tamim on Saturday in the absence of batting consultant Neil McKenzie evidenced his additional responsibilities.

Mithun insisted the players were working hard to overcome their batting woes.

‘We are not playing well as a team. So we have discussed how we can bat, definitely this can’t continue like this,’ he said.

‘So we are given specific rules. And we all will try to accomplish the work. If we can do that, the performance will be better,’  he added.

Bangladesh will face Zimbabwe in the one-off Test in Dhaka from February 22-26. The series will follow three one-day internationals and two Twenty20 internationals in March.

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