The mindset of not hitting him or trying to hit everything is not an ideal plan- Tamim
|| CF Correspondent ||
Bangladesh opening batsman Tamim Iqbal said that he is aware of his current strike rate in ODIs and would be happy if that goes up slightly without compromising on his current role in the team. While most leading openers are scoring a-run-a-ball in the shorter format, Tamim's strike rate is rallying under 80 bracket.
“Most of the times we play in Mirpur or other home grounds. The fast-scoring thing is difficult here at times. This is the only ground where you can still defend 260-270, whereas such score isn’t enough in many places across the world,” said when his attention was drawn to the matter.
“Another thing is the role I have to play – to be the anchor of the team. I try to play safely and also maintain a good strike rate and these are the things that I am working on right now.
“It won’t happen overnight. If I become successful at doing that, it will be more beneficial for the team. If you can take your strike rate to 86 or 87, things are even better.
“Some of the best batsmen in the world right now, like Virat Kohli, they bat at a strike rate of 90, which is fantastic. To take my strike rate over 80 or 85, there are some things I need to work on. I have to improve myself by not sacrificing what I am doing for the team,” he added.
“If I become 10-15 per cent better as a batsman, all these things will be taken care of. The way I am batting now is very different from how I used to bat. Through the years, through experience you adjust some things. At the same time, you need to understand the role that the team gives you.
“[My] role [in the team] has changed over the course of time. Yes, I want to give myself the first twenty balls, except for in T20Is. When I play at least 20-30 balls, my chances of scoring runs gets higher.
“That’s the change I’ve brought into my game in the last three-four years. I give myself the first 20 balls, and I see where I am at and take it on,” said the left-hander.
Tamim has been opening for Bangladesh across all formats for more than a decade now. He has had many batsmen as his opening partner, but none of them proved to be as resilient as him and hence failed to cement their place. The southpaw revealed that he would now like to have a stable opening partner and that could perhaps help him and the team as well.
“What happens [in an opening partnership] is one individual is given the role of anchoring the innings and the other one takes up the responsibility of clearing the ropes.
“Now, if a younger player is batting with me, it is not fair from my end to go and tell him to hit the ball because new players want to settle at the international level. But if you have someone who's settled in and understands his role, then your job is to take on the bowlers and make sure that there’s not much pressure on him.
“If such opening partnerships are made, it becomes beneficial for the team. I can’t specifically name any player but I’ve batted a lot with Soumya [Sarkar] in the last two-three years. He was very good at taking the pressure off me,” Tamim said, after being asked to name an opening partner with whom he has enjoyed his role.
According to the opener, BPL is yet to be as effective as the IPL although it is on the verge of getting into its own groove.
“Most of the overseas players [in the BPL] are top-order batsmen. They usually occupy the batting positions from one to four.
“So it becomes a lot difficult for us. When there were five overseas cricketers, the problem was severe but now that is not the case.
“When you score against an overseas bowler, it boosts your confidence if you have the ability to hit him. When you face the same bowler while playing for the national team, knowing you’ve hit him for a four or a six or two sixes in an over, then you have [a] different kind of confidence.
“IPL is doing that beautifully. Their [India’s] players are scoring against the renowned international bowlers, so when they go to the international arena and see someone against whom they've batted successfully, it creates a huge difference, he said.
The 29-year-old thinks that the recent win against West Indies in the shortest format will help them raise their confidence in the T20 format.
“There was always a question mark on us in this format. By beating the world champions [Windies], we’ve taken a step forward. That doesn’t mean that we’ve become a much better team.
“But doing well against a champion team has driven us away from the question mark. Now we know that we don’t need game-changers like Chris Gayle and Andre Russell, one can still win games by playing smart cricket in T20Is.
“T20 is not about just hitting sixes and fours. If you rotate the strike and hit a boundary once in a while, then there’s a way you can still win it. I’ve told it recently that we’ve to develop the ‘Bangladesh brand’ of cricket, which will suit us, rather than looking at what England or West Indies are doing,” he opined.
Tamim added that Asia Cup won’t be easy and instead of looking too far ahead he insisted that they adopt the one game at a time policy.
“In Asia Cup, you have two games to qualify for the next round. If you win one and lose the other, you never know where you might end up. My focus is on the first two games.
“We are capable and we should qualify [for the Super Four]. And in the second round [Super Four], you have [to] play your best game because you will be facing the best teams.
“We definitely have a good chance. We have done well in the last two [three] Asia Cups. We were in the finals twice. We should do well considering what we’ve done in the West Indies.
“We are on a good run in ODIs. This is the format we’re most comfortable in. It depends on how many boxes you’ve ticked on the day [of the match]. If you’ve ticked the maximum of the boxes then you definitely have a good chance,” he said.
Tamim believes that lack of wrist spinners in the country is the core reason why Bangladesh struggled against Afghanistan in the T20I series this year. He also pointed out that they don’t need to go into a shell when Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan is bowling, who remained the wrecker in chief during that series at Dehradun.
“If you don’t practice, if you don’t know, then you’re normally going to struggle. If all our bowlers were bowling at 125 [kmph] and we had to face 145 in international cricket – which was the case 10 years ago – then we would struggle.
“But we have two to three bowlers who can click 135 or close to 140 now, and it has helped us getting habituated and we don’t feel much difference when we go into international cricket.
“Same is the case with legspinners. We don’t have enough legspinners in the country. So, we don’t have enough experience playing leg spin.
“ODIs are different than T20Is. However, his [Rashid’s] bowling won’t change [in ODIs] and he will be hard to face, no doubt about that. But because you have more time in ODIs, I think you can see it off against one specific bowler.
“At the same time, if we intend to see him off, or tear him apart, both conceptions are wrong. He is a good bowler but that doesn’t mean that he won’t bowl me a bad ball. All the best bowlers in the world bowl badly at times. So we’ll have to wait for that and try to hit a boundary whenever we get a bad ball, or rotate the strike. The mindset of not hitting him or trying to hit everything is not an ideal plan,” he concluded.
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