McKenzie bats for under-fire batsmen

Bangladesh’s batting coach Neil McKenzie (L) gives some batting tips to Mahadi Hasan during a training session at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Saturday. — BCB photo

Bangladesh’s batting coach Neil McKenzie came to the defense of under-performing batsmen after their iritic show nearly brought them yet another embarrassing defeat in Friday’s tri-nation opening Twenty20 international match against Zimbabwe in Mirpur.

Bangladesh managed to avoid the defeat, stuttering to three-wicket win but not only before young Afif Hossain rescued the side from a precarious 60-6 in a chase of 145 runs.

Afif hit 52 off 26 balls after Bangladesh’s experienced cricketers like skipper Sakib al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar and Liton Das failed to spark against an inexperienced Zimbabwe attack.

Sakib made just one run after conceding 30 runs in an over earlier with the ball that allowed Zimbabwe to post a competitive score.

‘I think international cricket is a hard cricket. You can’t always score and you can see Sakib. He was magnificent in the World Cup,’ said McKenzie.

‘There are lot of guys who played really well in last six months in international cricket. As soon as they don’t score in one or two games and everybody gets excited and upset whatever,’ he said.

McKenzie also recalled Liton and Soumya’s recent performances after they were particularly criticized for performance in 224-run loss against Afghanistan in one-off Test match in Chattogram.

Liton and Soumya continued their woeful batting in the tri-national tournament making 19 and four runs respectively against Zimbabwe.

‘I think you can trust them after what they have done,’ he said.

‘Soumya Sarkar, he came well in the Ireland final against West Indies. You guys have definitely watched that on TV. He scored fifty off no time. He is a proper player and he needs belief,’ McKenzie said referring the left-hander’s 41-ball 66 in Dublin.

‘Liton Das, we have seen what he can do. He got a 140 [121] in the Asia Cup, that’s not four years ago. It was just six or seven months ago. He has great 90 against West Indies in an unbelievable historical chase at Taunton. So these guys can play,’ he said.

‘I think the biggest thing we got we have so many good players at the moment and we just need guys to jump out the box and lot more consistent and that’s we are looking for,’ said the former South African opener.

‘There’s no doubt about their ability it’s all about the consistency.’

McKenzie had no problem with a number eight batsman, a 19-year old rookie, who was playing only his second Twenty20 international in nearly two years, in bailing out the team.

‘Obviously we would like to win with no wickets down. But this is cricket and it’s a team game,’ he said.

‘We knew we had a long batting line-up. There is trust in the whole sort of the team. We put a lot of emphasis on playing for a team and trusting the guys out there.

‘So very happy that Afif came back after his little one game couple of years ago wherever it was.’

The former South African batsman warned Bangladesh from expecting an extra-ordinary performance against Afghanistan in their second match of the tournament today.

‘They are not machines, they are humans. We just get behind our team and back our team and even if we lose tomorrow, we will win the next game,’ he said.

Source: New Age.


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