Alok Kapali's dazzling 97-ball 115 against India on Saturday could well prove to be the watershed of his career. He couldn't have chosen a better time to come good after he was recalled to the squad after close to two years as a replacement for the injured Aftab Ahmed in the Kitply Cup earlier this month.
Kapali said he was confident coming into the Asia Cup considering his record while playing in Pakistan. "I had made some runs and taken a hat-trick when I was here the last time [in 2003]. I was just at the right place to start all over again," Kapali told TigerCricket.com. "My late father believed in reincarnation and, from my cricket's perspective, I hope this is a new beginning also."
He failed to get a berth in the squad during Dav Whatmore's time as Bangladesh coach, but he blamed the situation on his own form. "I can't blame Dav or anyone for that. I was not scoring runs and had to accept the fact that I was out of the Bangladesh team. I held no grudges. In fact, I always wished the team well when they were playing," Kapali said. "When I was out of form, I spoke to coaches and players about what I should be doing. Maybe I tried too many things after listening to them. That did not help at all, and I became a confused cricketer."
Kapali, however, attributed the turn-around in his fortunes to himself. "I identified the weaknesses in my batting myself. There were slight changes I had to make technically," he said. "Earlier I went across too much early on and that brought about my downfall often. I practised playing with a straight bat and made runs in the National Championship and the Dhaka Premier League this season."
There were two distinct phases in Kapali's knock. He played with a defensive approach on the way to his first fifty, which came off 65 balls, after which he cut loose, needing only 21 balls more to reach his hundred.
"All the while I was thinking of the team score and did not for once look at my score. I planned my innings and followed the team management's instructions," he said. "I knew that if I was there after 40 overs then I could play those big shots."
Rather than getting carried away, Kapali was focused on the challenges that lay ahead. "There is so much work to be done. I was out of the national set-up for a long time, almost two years, and now I need to earn my place again. I have to improve my fitness level also as I have not trained in the same pace as the national team. There is a lot of catching up to do."