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
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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

  • Bangladesh_Forever 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?

  • Joamiq 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.

  • 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.

  • Rafelgibt 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......

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • AusieBangaleeShameem 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.

  • 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,

  • NahianKhan 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.

  • Bangladesh_Forever 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?

  • Joamiq 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.

  • 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.

  • Rafelgibt 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......

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • AusieBangaleeShameem 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.

  • 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,

  • NahianKhan 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.

  • NahianKhan on October 25, 2013, 22:03 GMT

    I wanna see in the next test that Marshal is opening instant of Anamul. And Naeem can be included in for batting position 3.

  • on October 25, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    You don't really expect technical fault at this level of the game .The very first innings I saw Anamul I was sure that he would struggle at international level.it is so awkward to see especially his foot work. And it is very easy for opponent to find his weakness and especially weakness as such wouldn't give you any chance at this level. When Mominul bat you can see the ease and class of his technique. I think BCB should send Anamul to the coaching school again !!

  • The_Ashes on October 25, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    He has the ability but not ready. I forgot he was still only 20 years old so he's very young and has time. For now in tests, Naeem and Marshall can fill the 2 and 3 positions and for ODIs again Naeem and Shamsur. Don't mind if Anamul plays ODIs still as I still think he so okay but he's definitely not ready for tests.

  • on October 25, 2013, 19:18 GMT

    We have to get rid of our fragile mentality of dropping a young and talented player after one or two bad series. Remember legendary West Indies bowler Walsh said "Form is temporary but class is permanent". Please stop complaining against our players frequently. Let them settle into the team.

  • i_golam on October 25, 2013, 18:48 GMT

    I like Nafis ! There is an advantage to have him in the team & that is the good contest between tow brothers & You will never see tow duck in a row

  • r0ketman on October 25, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    @Talha Syed: The fact that you are even mentioning Ashraful says a lot. Ashraful has no place in BD cricket now with the merging players we have in our country, even without his match fixing debacle. The guy has played hundreds of matches, and barely averages 20. Anamul has proved himself in 8 ODIs? This is exactle the reasoning why so many BD supporters still root for Ashraful. Anamul has scored 248 runs in 7 innings, if you take out his century, he has scored 128 runs in six innings, at an average of 21 runs. 8 ODIs is not enough to "prove" anyone, I don't care if they have Bradmanesque batting technique. As for Technique, Anamul will be slaughtered when he plays oversees on bouncy pitches, as he does not have the techinique to know whether to play off the front or backfoot. Most of his shots are made without using feet at all. I had high hopes of Anamul when he scored heavily in domestic cricket. But now I know it just only speaks about the low quality of FC bowling in BD.

  • on October 25, 2013, 17:21 GMT

    I see no issue with Anamul. He has Sehwag like footwork and will be better in days. NAEEM/JUNAID/SHAHRIAR NAFEES are not the same class as Mominul/Anamul/Nasir. All former three have major weak points and they are scared of short balls. Shamsur may be a go but Mahmudullah needs to be back at test line up. So yeah, Marshall can be developed or Mahmudullah or Nasir can be moved up.

  • Fogu on October 25, 2013, 16:49 GMT

    Anamul is young and should be coached to improve his footwork. He has the shots but his footwork lets him down since he plays away from his body at times and can not control his shots as evident by the nature of his dismissal. He could play ODIs and may be T20 (Ashraful may be better for T20) but he needs to take a break away from Tests and work on his technique. A stitch in time saves nine as the old adage goes. If he takes the time now to correct his flaws, he will have a long prosperous career, if not, he will fade away.

  • on October 25, 2013, 15:35 GMT

    Give him more opportunity and more support. His problem is his Technic or footwork. Coaches should work more with him. or selectors can ease his pressure by allowing him play oneday and t20. and give him more time to come back in test with solid technic. mentally he is strong and good enough. need more support and care. BD selectors and coach should more work with inconsistent test bowling line up and good supporting pitch for BD bowlers.

  • Rafelgibt on October 25, 2013, 15:13 GMT

    @Titu Zaman on (October 25, 2013, 14:06 GMT) I would like to completely disagree with you regarding footwork/Technique of Anamul.With your lack of footwork you can still play ODIs and T20s but you would definitely struggle in TEST.For example-Afraidi,Raina,Rohit Sharma, Hafeez,Ed Morgan,Wais Shah,McCullum,Pollard,Duminy etc are very good ODIs and T20s players.But their very lack of footwork/Technique never helped them to be regular part of TEST squad.So, that's why i would suggest our selectors to give Anamul a 2 years break from international level and guide him to work really hard more on his footwork and comeback with more vengeance as he is only 20.Still plenty of years is left if we guide him properly.Otherwise he would be another ashraful.What do you say???

  • Captainman on October 25, 2013, 14:25 GMT

    He's only 20 years old so plenty of time for him. Needs to go back and use his feet a lot. He has even more ability than both Mominul and Nasir. In tests for next few years, Marshall should move upto 2 and bring Naeem at 3. ODIs, Shamsur and Naeem can fill the top role for now.

  • on October 25, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    @hasib I agree with u .. but Shamshur Rahman is so quick to be debutant in Test. And Marshal Ayub never played in opening position in domestic cricket... I strongly Think Junaed Siddique can Suppurt Tamim better than any other at this time.

  • Masking_Tape on October 25, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    Why did the bring him into Test? The selectors also have the tendencies of mixing up formats. He should've kept playing shorter format for a while before dragging him into the Test.

  • on October 25, 2013, 14:06 GMT

    BD selectors will make another mistake if they left out Anamul Haque from the lineup. His footwork/technique is not a problem. If Anamul could be successful with same footwork in ODI/T20 then he might be successful in TEST as well. The minute he changes his footwork, he is not going to be the same player. So, BD fans should stop complaining about his footwork/technique. I think he is a very young kid and still hasn't figured out how to play test whether to play fast or slow. One good innings will do the trick, his confidence level will build up.

    Bolttom line, Anamul Haque should be given lot more chances in all format even if he doesn't perform well in next few series. From past results, it is evident that this guy is a good talent and will be successful in future.

  • British_North_America on October 25, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    He cannot change his technique in 3-4 months.Why do not we go for Shahriar Nafees?

  • hasib9 on October 25, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    I'm sure Anamul will develop his test batting skills in the future. But for now, it is best for him and his team to drop him. Let him gain more ODI and T20 experience for now. Shamsur Rahman will be a good choice. But I think the best option is to promote Marshall Ayub into opening and bring in Naeem into number 3. That will add bowling option as well. Naeem has shown his patience and has some success at number 3.

  • hasib9 on October 25, 2013, 13:21 GMT

    I'm sure Anamul will develop his test batting skills in the future. But for now, it is best for him and his team to drop him. Let him gain more ODI and T20 experience for now. Shamsur Rahman will be a good choice. But I think the best option is to promote Marshall Ayub into opening and bring in Naeem into number 3. That will add bowling option as well. Naeem has shown his patience and has some success at number 3.

  • on October 25, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    How could you even write to drop Anamul. His last ODI score was 40 against Sri Lanka which was vital at that time. He has 35+ average. And he has THE CLASS which matters. There is no other opener except Ashraful to replace him in BD domestics. He plays Sehwag and scores quick runs. He proved himself in his 8 ODIs and BPL that he is not a typical one. He should be given a go in all limited over games. Don't bring back Shahriar Nafees or any other ones. May be drop him from test team but he is a must in limited overs.

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  • on October 25, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    How could you even write to drop Anamul. His last ODI score was 40 against Sri Lanka which was vital at that time. He has 35+ average. And he has THE CLASS which matters. There is no other opener except Ashraful to replace him in BD domestics. He plays Sehwag and scores quick runs. He proved himself in his 8 ODIs and BPL that he is not a typical one. He should be given a go in all limited over games. Don't bring back Shahriar Nafees or any other ones. May be drop him from test team but he is a must in limited overs.

  • hasib9 on October 25, 2013, 13:21 GMT

    I'm sure Anamul will develop his test batting skills in the future. But for now, it is best for him and his team to drop him. Let him gain more ODI and T20 experience for now. Shamsur Rahman will be a good choice. But I think the best option is to promote Marshall Ayub into opening and bring in Naeem into number 3. That will add bowling option as well. Naeem has shown his patience and has some success at number 3.

  • hasib9 on October 25, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    I'm sure Anamul will develop his test batting skills in the future. But for now, it is best for him and his team to drop him. Let him gain more ODI and T20 experience for now. Shamsur Rahman will be a good choice. But I think the best option is to promote Marshall Ayub into opening and bring in Naeem into number 3. That will add bowling option as well. Naeem has shown his patience and has some success at number 3.

  • British_North_America on October 25, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    He cannot change his technique in 3-4 months.Why do not we go for Shahriar Nafees?

  • on October 25, 2013, 14:06 GMT

    BD selectors will make another mistake if they left out Anamul Haque from the lineup. His footwork/technique is not a problem. If Anamul could be successful with same footwork in ODI/T20 then he might be successful in TEST as well. The minute he changes his footwork, he is not going to be the same player. So, BD fans should stop complaining about his footwork/technique. I think he is a very young kid and still hasn't figured out how to play test whether to play fast or slow. One good innings will do the trick, his confidence level will build up.

    Bolttom line, Anamul Haque should be given lot more chances in all format even if he doesn't perform well in next few series. From past results, it is evident that this guy is a good talent and will be successful in future.

  • Masking_Tape on October 25, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    Why did the bring him into Test? The selectors also have the tendencies of mixing up formats. He should've kept playing shorter format for a while before dragging him into the Test.

  • on October 25, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    @hasib I agree with u .. but Shamshur Rahman is so quick to be debutant in Test. And Marshal Ayub never played in opening position in domestic cricket... I strongly Think Junaed Siddique can Suppurt Tamim better than any other at this time.

  • Captainman on October 25, 2013, 14:25 GMT

    He's only 20 years old so plenty of time for him. Needs to go back and use his feet a lot. He has even more ability than both Mominul and Nasir. In tests for next few years, Marshall should move upto 2 and bring Naeem at 3. ODIs, Shamsur and Naeem can fill the top role for now.

  • Rafelgibt on October 25, 2013, 15:13 GMT

    @Titu Zaman on (October 25, 2013, 14:06 GMT) I would like to completely disagree with you regarding footwork/Technique of Anamul.With your lack of footwork you can still play ODIs and T20s but you would definitely struggle in TEST.For example-Afraidi,Raina,Rohit Sharma, Hafeez,Ed Morgan,Wais Shah,McCullum,Pollard,Duminy etc are very good ODIs and T20s players.But their very lack of footwork/Technique never helped them to be regular part of TEST squad.So, that's why i would suggest our selectors to give Anamul a 2 years break from international level and guide him to work really hard more on his footwork and comeback with more vengeance as he is only 20.Still plenty of years is left if we guide him properly.Otherwise he would be another ashraful.What do you say???

  • on October 25, 2013, 15:35 GMT

    Give him more opportunity and more support. His problem is his Technic or footwork. Coaches should work more with him. or selectors can ease his pressure by allowing him play oneday and t20. and give him more time to come back in test with solid technic. mentally he is strong and good enough. need more support and care. BD selectors and coach should more work with inconsistent test bowling line up and good supporting pitch for BD bowlers.