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Mushfiq calls for responsible batting

Azad Majumder . Chittagong

Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim (R) inspires his team-mates during a training session at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Monday. — AFP photo   Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim (R) inspires his team-mates during a training session at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Monday. — AFP photo

Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim put emphasis on an improved batting show from the Tigers as they look to bounce back from a humiliating first Test innings defeat in the second Test, beginning today in Chittagong.
Bangladesh’s batting in both innings of the first Test was an embarrassment on a pitch that gave no real assistance to any bowlers. Sri Lanka used the simple tactic of pounding in short balls to test the batsmen, who fell into the trap easily and perished.
Barring the first innings of Mushfiq, who had scored a patient 61 off 122, none of the other batsman appeared to even attempt to play a responsible knock. The batting of Mushfiq’s deputy, Tamim Iqbal, was a particular eyesore given the manner in which he threw his wicket away.
Such was the ugliness of his batting that Tamim for the first time faced questions over his position in the team since making his debut against New Zealand with twin fifties in 2008.
In the recent history of Bangladesh cricket, Tamim is in fact the only cricketer who has never been dropped for performance in any format.
Mushfiq himself once lost his place to Dhiman Ghosh, and mercurial all-rounder Sakib al Hasan also had some struggles early in his career, but Tamim has always remained a constant.
He never had a long stretch of poor form, which helped him take his position in the starting line-up for granted. Tamim seemed to misuse that security on many occasions with carefree batting that often brought his downfall.
The left-hander always defended himself by saying that this was how he scored his runs, and whatever the situation was he would remain the same batsman. The awkward dismissals in Dhaka perhaps changed the circumstances, as many in the country’s cricketing circle are now calling for him to be taken to task for once.
Mushfiq was not ready to join the criticism of Tamim for his careless attitude after just one failure, but he urged senior batsmen like him to take more responsibility in order to prevent further embarrassment.
‘If our batsmen can play with a little more responsibility, then maybe it will be a better game for us. This is how one can make a turnaround,’ Mushfiq said in his pre-match press conference on Monday.
Instead of Tamim, team management dropped inexperienced Marshal Ayub from their 12-man probable squad for the second Test. Robiul Islam was the other cricketer to have fallen out of contention.
Mushfiq hoped his batsman would not only play with more responsibility but would also foil the Sri Lankan bowlers if they use the same short-ball tactics in Chittagong.  
‘[On] wickets that don’t have sideways movement, bowlers will try to bowl at a shorter length. Our batsmen made some silly mistakes by having a little more gutsy attitude in the first Test,’ said Mushfiq.
‘Maybe this wicket won’t have that much bounce like Dhaka. It might be more difficult to duck.
‘They can play their pull shots, but make sure they play with control. This is our message to the batsmen.
‘If we can avoid giving them a breakthrough, then later on we can create pressure on their spinners,’ said the skipper.




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Mushfiq calls for responsible batting

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