Sourav Ganguly’s boldness to showcase special talents
Sourav Ganguly decided to open Virender Sehwag in Test cricket. His such a decision was not welcomed from his own countrymen as according to them Sehwag lacked the technique to survive in Test cricket, but what they did not notice was Sehwag’s fearless factor which can at times beat technique to conquer the Test arena. Sourav noticed it and opened him with Wasim Jaffer in the first Test at Lord’s where Viru cracked 84 runs in the first innings at a strike rate of 87.5 with ten fours and one six, but he was outclassed by Simon Jones in the second innings and hinted, he lacked the defense to counter incoming deliveries.
But Ganguly stuck with his plan to open with Sehwag at Trent Bridge where the wicket was a green-seamer and conditions were chilling. Sourav was taken to the cleaners again, but he did not compromise with what his cricketing brain suggested him. Sehwag smashed a hundred and since then, there was no looking back for the Nawab of Najafghar.
He had the talent to become one of the best openers in the history of Test and One-day cricket but had Sourav not recognised and backed his abilities, Sehwag’s failures in the early part of his career might bring a premature end to his international career. Again, Sourav was instrumental in unleashing the genius of Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh and helped to build the “New India”.
Fearless Imran Khan’s faith in special talents
Then, When Imran picked a 23-year old batsman named Inzamam-ul-Haq in the squad for World Cup 1992, some of the Pakistani selectors resigned terming Imran’s move as madness. Even the great Javed Miandad was against Inzi’s inclusion. Imran not only picked him in the squad but kept on playing Inzamam in every match, where he was failing to flourish. Again, Imran, persisted with another young legspinner named Mushtaq Ahmed, who as usual was not proving as productive as Abdul Qadir, but still, Imran kept on playing him. The critics back home were furious and sliced Imran into pieces, but at the end of the tournament, the talent of Inzamam and Mushtaq was evident and the faith of Imran in them paid off.
People like Imran and Sourav always used to back their talents no matter who said what and persisted with them despite going through a bad patch as such talents help in injecting the fearless factor.
Smart Chandika Hathurusingha and injecting of special talents
When the going got tough in 2014, Bangladesh Cricket Board appointed Chandika Hathurusingha as the coach of Tigers. He was not a high-profile name and very few knew about his capabilities. He took charge and thought of changing the face of Bangladesh cricket by injecting young talents. He wanted Bangladesh to play the fearless brand of cricket and he cannot proceed with the so-called experienced customers. Thus, Chandika unleashed the talents of Soumya Sarkar, Mustafizur Rahman, Sabbir Rahman, Mehedi Hasan and co, who added a new dimension to Bangladesh team and helped to script an absolute purple patch since the ICC World Cup 2015.
Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman – The gift of Chandika Hathurusingha
Soumya Sarkar was picked in the World Cup squad as Chandika witnessed his ability to time the ball and strike it hard through the square of the wicket and had the experience of playing in Australia during the Under-19 World Cup in 2012. In the first match against Afghanistan, Soumya’s wristy batting led the famous cricket writer, Christian Ryan to write a special article about him. His batting was eye-catching and gradually, he became a part and parcel of Bangladesh team.
Meanwhile, a so-called Twenty20 player named Sabbir Rahman’s talent was all set to get wasted in the shorter-formats of the game. Sabbir is an absolute murderer of a cricket ball, but amid those towering sixes in Twenty20 games, none could notice his abilities to play, ground shots through cover and backward point. Chandika noticed it and included him in the Test squad and took a bold decision to send him at number three as, Bangladesh need someone at number three to maintain the momentum and Sabbir’s ability to fetch runs fluently would help them a lot.
The bad patch and technical insufficiencies
In the ICC Champions Trophy, Bangladesh made it to the semi-finals, but during this amazing campaign, Soumya and Sabbir’s bat did not blaze at all. They were found wanting against the moving ball, especially those deliveries which came back at the batsmen. Again, Sabbir could be seen vulnerable against the deliveries bowled at the fourth and fifth stump from back of a length and his rush of blood scripted his downfall during the Triseries in Ireland.
If we watch Soumya and Sabbir’s dismissals during the mega event, we could notice, how badly they were using their feet and which hampered their defence. Instead of going behind the line of the ball, they kept on committing to the stroke early, which automatically prompted them to pivot on the front foot and exposed the gap between bat and pad and outside edge. Such a ploy led to their downfall either via getting bowled or caught behind.
Even if the gap between bat and pad and outside edge got exposed by committing to the shot early, they could have fetched runs by adopting an initial backward and then forward movement. Batsmen like Virender Sehwag adopted such and thus, despite having some technical deficiencies, he was able to score plenty of runs on seaming and bouncy wickets. The habit of adopting an initial trigger movement of going back, in turn, helps a batsman to get behind the line of the ball.
Keep the faith in Soumya and Sabbir
A section of cricket pundits in Bangladesh is bashing Soumya and Sabbir for their failures in England and blaming Chandika as, according to them, both of them are featured in the team despite their inconsistency only because of head-coach’s nepotism.The renowned cricket expert, coach and one of the sane brains of Bangladesh cricket, Nazmul Abedeen trashed such claims and requested the critics to be positive about Soumya and Sabbir.
If Chandika is persisting with Soumya and Sabbir, then, one must remember how the likes of Imran and Sourav never compromised with special talents. They always persisted with them no matter how uglier their bad patches were.
As because, special talents can conquer the troubled times quickly and if they are not given enough opportunities to play matches at this stage of their career and given a logistic support, there always remains a possibility of fading away. Special talents should be taken care with a positive frame of mind rather than criticising only to settle personal scores.
Soumya and Sabbir are special talents and they will bounce back in style.
Investing faith in the players who have past their best won’t make Bangladesh cricket great.