One of Bangladesh’s batting linchpins Mushfiqur Rahim needs to change his batting approach in crunch situations as his pre-meditated methods may not pay good dividends said his mentor Nazmul Abedin on Friday (July 27th). Rahim swung a low full-toss straight to deep mid-wicket when his side needed 8 off 6 in the ongoing series against Windies. Eventually, Bangladesh lost the second ODI by 3 runs.
Rahim in the past has been guilty of letting the pressure get to him as evidenced in that now famous heart-breaking loss against India in the World T20 in Bengaluru. So a worrying pattern is beginning to emerge which isn’t good news for the cricket-mad fans from the small country.
Abedin has known Mushfiqur from his school days at BKSP as he was one of the cricket coaches of the country’s only sports institute before joining the Bangladesh Cricket Board later.
Though he was engaged with several cricketers of BKSP, it is widely regarded that he is a pillar of strength for the wicket-keeper batsman as far as his cricketing skill is concerned after developing a good understanding working together.
Mushfiqur is often seen spending hours with Nazmul in the nets whenever he is going through a lean patch or when he is at the peak of his batting prowess – the former to help him overcome his lean patch and the latter to continue the good run he enjoys.
Mushfiqur had seen lots of ups and down in his career but his failure to finish games several times after doing all the hard work has raised questions over his mental toughness while whispers began to grow louder that since he is getting out to a similar pattern, he is better off taking the sensible option to finish things off.
Whether be it against India at the World Twenty20, against Afghanistan in their last T20 series prior to the tour of West Indies or in the last one-day international at Guayana against the hosts he has missed out and fallen in a similar manner – finding deep mid-wicket trying to go for the glory shot.
”I don’t agree that there is any mental barrier because time and again we have seen his mental toughness in trying times,” Nazmul told Cricbuzz on Friday (July 27th).
“I think it is more with approach and application,” he said.
”If you had seen in all the circumstances he had tried to clear the midwicket region with his trademark shot that is considered to be his area of strength as far as his batting is concerned,” he said.
”It implies that he is developing a pre-meditated mindset in such conditions and that is the area he needs to work, to come over it,” he said.
”It is not a fact that he doesn’t have other shots in his disposal but he is making the same mistake because of his confidence that he can pull it through with something that he has mastered for long,” he said.
”He needs to understand that modern bowlers will try to tempt him to do it again and again as that is the only way there is a chance of removing him at those times, so instead of repeating the mistake again, he should play it a lot straighter” he added.
Nazmul believes that another reason behind his failure is lack of similar conditions in domestic cricket where the intensity level is far too less to prepare them for handling those situations.
Mushfiqur has always been one of the hardest working cricketers in the national team and his determination and dedication are credited as the main reason behind his success.
His work ethics are asked to be followed by the newcomers as he attends all the national practice sessions. He often begins or ends regular sessions with an extra-session of catching drills or with the bat trying to hone his trademark shots like slog sweep, flick of the wrist or lofted drive over the mid-wicket region or the scoop in the recent past.
“It is not a matter of practice but how you are executing it in the middle that matters,” said Nazmul.
“In our domestic cricket we hardly see many matches that go to the wire and unless you are pushed that far and prepare it will not be possible to deliver in the middle at international matches,” he said
Nazmul believes that though he played some excellent shots in the opening game it was not the usual Rahim that one regularly sees which can be attributed to the wicketkeeper-batsman being shunted constantly up and down the order.
”In the opening ODI he was sent behind Sabbir Rahman while his batting order in Tests had also been demoted in the series against West Indies.
”It was certainly fruitful for the team but my personal opinion was that he was being over aggressive in the opening game,” said Nazmul.
”I am not blaming anyone but sometimes if a batsman is not sure of his batting position it can have an emotional impact on his mind though I don’t like to believe it was the case with him,” he concluded.
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