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March 29, 2014
Bangladesh's batsmen have not scored a single fifty in five matches of the World T20, putting into focus the entire batting order. Anamul Haque, with his three scores in the forties, has been the only batsman to get anywhere close to the landmark while Shakib Al Hasan, the most experienced T20 player in the team, has survived just three balls in the last two games.
There have been other failures too. Tamim Iqbal averages just 12.40 in this tournament. Mushfiqur Rahim has scored 69, seven more than Tamim, while Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah are going through a prolonged lean patch. Even a score of 30-odd, by Mahmudullah against India, excited the team management as they clutch to a very few straws.
It is hard to remember whether any Bangladeshi batting line-ups from the past had gone through a complete loss in form. Even the one who is seemingly ahead of the lot, Anamul, has not been able to convert his starts into a big score. He started off breezily against India, but soon was slowed by wickets at the other end. He did pick up boundaries and couple of sixes on occasions but was undone by Amit Mishra's googly at the end of the 13th over, having batted 43 balls for his 44.
Anamul has admitted guilt at not taking the responsibility of putting together a better score when clearly, he has been hitting it quite well. "I am not necessarily just concerned about my own form," he said. "The team could have had a bigger score had I converted my 40 into a 70. I think the batsman who's scoring, has to take the responsibility. I think I should be doing that.
"If either of Tamim bhai or Shakib bhai was in my situation, they would have played a bigger innings. I have to do the same. I hope to play a big innings. Not all batsmen stay in form in a team. If I get to thirty in the next two games, I will try to make it big."
Neither of Anamul's bhais have survived long enough in this tournament. Shakib, however, is keen to break free from his two early dismissals, and is looking forward to getting back at No 3, his old T20 batting position.
He did bat at his preferred position in the short chase against Afghanistan, but the team management has tried to amalgamate the top and middle-order by keeping Shakib and Mushfiqur at No 4 and 5. But so far, the No 3 position has yielded 49 runs in five innings, so it could be time to revert back to Shakib.
"I was batting at No 3 for quite some time but before the World T20, the captain and coach came up to and said that Mushfiqur and I have to strengthen the middle-order where the batsmen were not getting runs," Shakib said. "This was the plan, because I have been regular at three since the last World T20. I would definitely prefer batting up the order, but only if the need arises.
"When I was batting at four in the qualification round, I thought it was okay. We could have tried after two quick wickets fell. Maybe there will be a change in that thinking. Batting at 3 gave me 15-16 overs, and it hasn't changed much now. I haven't batted well in the last two games so I am focused on improving myself.
The other bhai, Tamim, has been out caught thrice in the last five games. Against India he was beaten by a superb R Ashwin delivery which he edged to Suresh Raina at slip but against West Indies and Nepal, he holed out to mid-off and short third-man, trying to blast out.
As a result, he has been the first man out in all five of Bangladesh's matches in the World T20. Anamul has put it down to some sort of lack of communication between the two openers, though he has also reiterated the need for the opening pair to take advantage of the fielding restrictions.
"Our opening partnership was doing well before the Asia Cup," Anamul said. "The same is not happening for us now. Tamim bhai is working very hard but I think communication is very important at this time. We have to improve upon that area.
"I have a lot to learn from Tamim bhai. He often tells me what to do. I think a wicket can fall with the new ball, so we have to bat carefully during the Powerplay. But having said that, we don't have big hitters in the end overs so we must take advantage of the first six overs, even if we lose a couple of wickets," he said.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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