Bangladesh v New Zealand 2013-14 October 25, 2013

Anamul treading on last-chance territory

Anamul Haque's poor performance against New Zealand has put his place in the team in danger. While the batsman's technique is not quite ready for Test cricket, the tendency of the Bangladesh selectors to drop openers frequently is also a problem

Anamul Haque's series aggregate of 50 runs from four innings against New Zealand, combined with the tendency of the Bangladesh selectors to frequently drop openers, has put his place in the team in danger. Questions are already being raised about Tamim Iqbal's potential opening partner for Bangladesh's next Test series, scheduled against Sri Lanka.

Anamul, who had played just one Test before the New Zealand series, had an indifferent time at the crease. In the first Test in Chittagong, a Doug Bracewell ball that jagged back in had him trapped on the crease. Four balls earlier, he had survived a catch off a no-ball. In the second innings, he attacked Bruce Martin but scooped a punch straight to the cover fielder.

In the first innings in Mirpur, he miscued a pull off Trent Boult only to be out caught. His second-innings dismissal could be described as casual: Anamul put his bat out to a Neil Wagner delivery that merely followed the angle. The ball took an outside edge for a regulation catch to Peter Fulton at second slip.

Bangladesh are scheduled to play their next Test series against Sri Lanka in mid-January. In the intervening period, there is plenty of domestic cricket. Amanul will return to play for Victoria Sporting Club in the Dhaka Premier Division and then for Khulna Division in the National Cricket League. The BCB has expressed doubts over the Bangladesh Premier League but if the tournament is held, it's another opportunity for Anamul to score runs and iron out his technical deficiencies.

At the same time,the selectors will also look out for potential replacements. Jahurul Islam, who opened in the Tests against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka earlier this year, will be looking to win back his place, while Shamsur Rahman, who is a part of the ODI and Twenty20 squads, also has a chance of making the cut. Junaid Siddique and Nafees Iqbal, who played well in the Dhaka Premier Division, could also be on the selectors' radar.

The tendency of the Bangladesh selectors to dump openers, however, is a problem. In the last three years, they have tried six openers, including Anamul, to partner Tamim. Nizamuddin, Jahurul, Imrul Kayes, Shahriar Nafees and Junaid were tested as openers, but were not given enough time to settle.

Against West Indies in November 2012, Junaid and Nazimuddin looked lost against a quality bowling attack. They are not alone. Opening batsmen in Bangladesh have traditionally struggled to handle pace, swing and seam because they seldom get to counter such bowling in domestic cricket, where the batsmen face barely 15 overs of pace spread over four days.

For the Tests against New Zealand, Anamul was brought in after finding form in the Dhaka Premier Divison and on Bangladesh A's tour to England. He had scored an ODI hundred in only his second game against West Indies and, in Tamim Iqbal's absence earlier this year, made his Test debut against Sri Lanka.

The two innings in his debut match in Galle should have been enough for the selectors to realise that Anamul was not yet ready for the Test stage. In the first innings, he batted circumspectly for more than 90 minutes and made 13 off 68 balls before being undone by a conventional off-break by Ajantha Mendis. In the second innings, seeing most batsmen make significant contributions, he chopped on a delivery from Shaminda Eranga trying to force the pace early in his innings.

Clearly, he was unsure of the method he should be using. Anamul is a stroke-player, keen to hit on the up whenever the ball is slightly short or on a good length. He drives from the crease and sometimes looks awkward, but when in form, he has control and is balanced. His lack of footwork is part of a technique he has developed on his own, and it has worked well for him in domestic cricket and during his first foray into the national team.

When he scored the century against West Indies last year, the bowlers kept bowling full and wide, and he gleefully drove the seamers. He wasn't as forceful against Sunil Narine and Marlon Samuels, and spent 22 deliveries in the nineties, delaying Bangladesh's slog. There were always signs that Anamul needed a lot of work in his technique and approach to an innings.

His innings in Sri Lanka, and now the four dismissals here, say much about his undeveloped batting in this format. Tamim though, standing at the other end in Chittagong and Mirpur, has asked that the batsman be shown patience.

"Bijoy [Anamul Haque] had a great start to his international career," Tamim said. "He should be given some time. He has played only 3-4 Test matches, it's not right to judge him. The more time he is given the more he will learn, and I am sure he will play better. I am sure sooner or later he will cope."

Tamim's message is timely one, but whether the selectors take this into account is another matter. They are likely to go for another batsman, but they have limited choices. The popular opinion would be to drop Anamul, and it is likely to be a sobering experience for the opener.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nasim on November 1, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    It's a known issue that both the problems of Bangladesh opening batting and seam bowling lies in the nature of pitches of the country. However making pitches like England, SA or Australia isn't practically possible. Moreover, those countries have problems too, playing spin or producing quality spinners, which they are trying to overcome by sending more and more players to play in India. However, it seems that India, Australia and England like to keep the benefit of playing a lot of cricket in both the conditions within themselves. What BCB can do is they can develop similar mutual relationships with West Indies, New Zealand and Pakistan to arrange exchange of players in domestic matches and play more and more first class matches as possible. Finally, there is no alternate to develop a good infrastructure starting from school cricket up to the first class cricket. After that, how hard will it be to get more world class cricketers from a cricket-crazy nation?

  • Wamiq on October 30, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    He's just not ready. Lack of footwork is not a technique that can succeed at the international level. Persisting with him right now does no one any good. He needs to step out of the spotlight and practice. He has some natural talents, but forcing him into this position now is not going to allow them to develop.

    Most of the rest of the alternatives listed are not real alternatives though. Kayes, Nafees, Junaid, Jahurul - these guys are not and never will be good enough. They do not match up to the level of talent in the team right now. Bangladesh is beyond the point where should open with some guy who averages 25.

    Tamim's partner should be someone with good technical skills and patience, who can hold down one end while letting Tamim play his strokes at the other. Naeem and Mominul are both disciplined players who let the game come to them and focus on not doing anything stupid. They have the technical skills to dig in and take some of the shine off the ball. One of them should open.

  • Dummy4 on October 28, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    @Rafelgibt: So in a ODI/T20, batsman doesn't play a ball away from his body. If footwork is really a problem then how could someone score a century in ODI or lead U19 team in a seam friendly pitch in Aus or help a BPL team to win championship. Let's not over analyze. As I stated before, the minute this guy changes his footwork, he is not going to be the same player. His problem is not footwork, once he figures it out how to play test, he will perform as expected level. So, let's not post a negative comments here and try a ruin a young talented cricketer.

  • KH. RAFIQUE on October 27, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    @Aasif A. Hawk on (October 26, 2013, 23:26 GMT) Where did you come from with Shahriar Nafees with good technique???Its 2013 not 2006 that your are referring.Frankly speaking player like- Nafees,Kapali (My most favorite BAN player), Aftab,Tapash bisya,Junaid Siddique,Kayes,Shahdat Hossain,Showrawardi,Ilias Sunny etc's career for the National team is way over.So, plz get over them......

  • ESPN on October 26, 2013, 23:26 GMT

    I miss Shahriar Nafees in the opening. Dont forget he was the highest run scorer in the world in 2006. He got the class and the technique both.

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    actualy anamul test match no have any experience so he must more play bd cricket league and then will get experience

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    I can see most of the guys are willing to be patient with Anamaul and there is nothing wrong with giving a young talent a fair chance. But my observation suggests even when he scored that century against west Indies, it seemed sluggish and selfish to me. Despite of having huge technical flaws to his batting, the bigger problem is his mindset to the game itself. Soon after that series against west indies he got out scoring 70 in a league match and he said to the media, i already have a habit of scoring centuries so i let it go today. Just because Sehwag succeeded with some problems in his technique doesn't mean Anamul will also succeed. Anamul don't have that mental strength or the right mindset as sehwag and his wild celebrations after any milestone he achieve suggests he takes a lot of pride of what he does and may be it is not something that would help him to stretch his career in the top level.

  • shameem on October 26, 2013, 4:10 GMT

    At first we all must stop whinging and give Anamul chance to play January series against Sri Lanka. And then we can talk about his footwork, technique and temperament. Otherwise this young talent will forget his batting. Best of luck Anamul, play your natural game.

  • Dummy4 on October 25, 2013, 23:34 GMT

    If Ashraful can get a million chances despite his repeating disappointing performances why doesnt this kid deserve a a chance? He is yet to learn so much, he will be a concrete player by 2015 world cup if he plays regularly. He might as well contribute to the backbone of the team, maybe the Virat Kohli of BD,

  • Nahian on October 25, 2013, 22:09 GMT

    I wanna see Marshal is opening instant of Anamul. And Naeem could be included in for position 3.

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