Answer lies in pre-injury methods

The two images, one from 2015 (L) and one from 2017 (R), show the change in position in Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman's delivery stride, which some local coaches have identified as the source of his troubles post-surgery. Photos: Screen Capture

 

Mustafizur Rahman had disturbing figures of 6-0-53-0 against India in the semifinal of the ICC Champions Trophy. It was not just the figures that were concerning, as a bowler can have a bad day, but it was his tendency to be full-ish on off-stump that was the main cause of concern. The left-arm pacer from Satkhira was out of this world on his arrival to international cricket, but he was nowhere near that mastery during the ICC Champions Trophy.  Since his return from shoulder surgery, the young paceman had some good performances under his belt, especially his sublime bowling in the Test series in Sri Lanka, but still many have been searching for that old Mustafizur who baffled the batsmen with his cutters and slower balls, especially in ODI cricket. Does the problem lie in him losing his mastery post injury?  Or is it that opponents can now read him well? Or did the conditions in England hinder his success?      

In fact, it is not just in England -- his record pre and post surgery are in marked contrast as he took 26 wickets from nine matches at 12.34 before injury and 18 wickets from 13 matches at 30.55 after surgery. 

Three local cricket experts -- Nazmul Abedin Fahim, Sarwar Imran and Mohammad Salahuddin -- however have some common observations about the decline. They have identified the problem in technique and a lack of patience in the bowler, rather than blaming the conditions or injury, and suggested that it is the perfect time for the young prodigy to work on many aspects of his bowling to rediscover success at international level.

Veteran coaches Nazmul Abedin and Sarwar Imran identified a major problem in the point and angle of release.  Young coach Salahuddin, who is a mentor to many national cricketers, found the problem in his line and length and he also said that the patience required to be successful in England was lacking in Mustafizur.

“We have high expectations of him. You cannot say that he was too bad since he has been returning from injury. But what I want to say is that he is now far away from where he was before injury.  In my opinion he lost effectiveness only because of changing the position of his delivery stride when releasing the ball,” said Nazmul Abedin.

 

“If you look at the videos, you will see that earlier he was closer to the stumps when releasing the ball but now he bowls from wide of the crease; that has created problems. Earlier he bowled stump to stump, and that made his cutters and slowers more dangerous. But now, going wide of the crease takes the leg-before out of contention for right-handers and also, if he bowls it on off stump, the batsman knows that the ball will miss the stumps because of the angle."

Sarwar Imran echoed the sentiment. “Earlier he was closer to the stumps but now he is away from the stumps -- that makes the difference. Because of that he didn't find the right areas, because of which the batsmen have no fear about playing shots. He should find his old release point, otherwise I am sure he will not be that effective even in home conditions.”

“Another thing is that he cannot bring the ball back [into the right-hander]. He will have to improve his bowling and add more things like the length ball,” he added.

Salahuddin said that the bowler should understand that he will need to improve a lot. “Pakistan's Hasan Ali was successful because he maintained the right length and bowled in the right areas, which was not the case for Mustafizur. I think he lacks the experience or the knowledge to be patient and maintain the basics in different conditions. I don't think he has to do many things; rather he has to stick to his strengths.”

One thing the three experts agreed on is that the Champions Trophy can be a good lesson for the young paceman.  

Warner hints at boycott of Bangladesh tour

Australia's David Warner and Steven Smith walks off accompanied by Shakib Al Hasan during the recently concluded ICC Champions Trophy.

 

Australia's cricketers will not back down in a bitter pay dispute, David Warner has warned amid fears their October tour of India is looming as a flashpoint.

As the June 30 deadline for a new memorandum of understanding between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association fast approaches, the Australia vice-captain insisted players won't budge on their demands.

"Well from July 1, we're unemployed," Warner told Channel Nine late Sunday.

"We've been threatened with that. We're hopeful there's going to be an agreement done, it's a sticky situation."

CA has threatened not to pay contracted players beyond the expiry of their current financial deal at the end of the month if they do not accept a new offer, with the governing body determined to scrap revenue-sharing after 20 years.

 

With a Test squad for an August tour of Bangladesh named last week, Warner was adamant that a lockout was possible.

"From our point of view I want to play for Australia and so do the other boys," he said.

"But if there's nothing that's put in place for what we're trying to achieve here, from both point of views, we're not going to tour Bangladesh, there might not be an Ashes if we don't have an MOU."

For all the concerns about the Bangladesh tour, and the uncertainty about the home Ashes series, cancelling the five ODI India tour in October could cost Australian cricket more than it can afford to lose.

Offending India could jeopardise the nations' reciprocal agreement that has the Indians touring Australia in 2018-19, The Australian newspaper reported.

Indian tours generate big money and Cricket Australia risks forgoing the rivers of gold that will flow from hosting four Tests against the world cricket powerhouse, it said.

The outspoken Warner conceded captain Steve Smith could "probably push a little bit more" when it comes to stating the players' case.

While standing with his colleagues, Smith has taken a less strident approach than Warner, diplomatically trying to downplay the prospect of industrial action.

"From where I stand and the position I take on this, I try to take as much heat off (Smith) as possible," Warner said.

"He does lead us on the field, and rightfully so off the field as well, he does a great job.

"In this circumstance I'm willing to go out there into bat for everyone.

"Yeah, sometimes he could probably push a little bit more, but I think he's doing a great job, as well as the other players like Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood as well."

Pay talks between CA and the players' union are set to continue this week with both sides saying they are committed to striking a new MOU before the June 30 cut-off.

Australia name squad for Bangladesh tour

Australia Test team will likely arrive in Bangladesh on August 18 for two Test matches. Photo: Internet

 

Pace spearhead Mitchell Starc will miss the upcoming tour of Bangladesh after Cricket Australia today confirmed the two-Test series and for August and announced a 13-man squad, according to Austrlia cricket board's official website CricketAustralia.

Starc was ruled out of the second half of the Qantas Tour of India with a fractured foot, and despite playing in Australia's failed Champions Trophy campaign, the left-armer's injury has not fully healed and he has subsequently been ordered rest with an Ashes campaign on the horizon.

Victoria speedster James Pattinson returns to the Test squad for the first time since February 2016 having completed a successful comeback from injury, and is joined by Hilton Cartwright, one of three allrounders alongside incumbent No.6 Glenn Maxwell and left-arm spinner Ashton Agar. Agar is set to play a prominent role as Nathan Lyon's spin twin after Stephen O'Keefe was dropped from the squad that valiantly lost to India 2-1 in the subcontinent. Although O'Keefe claimed 19 wickets for the series – the same number as Lyon – National Selector Trevor Hohns pointed out that the tweaker's performance dipped in the final three Tests, with only seven wickets captured after his record 12-70 in the first Test in Pune.

"Whilst Steve O'Keefe bowled well in Pune, he did not maintain this level in the remaining matches of the series and we believe the timing is right for Ashton to enter the set-up and test his all-rounder ability," Hohns said. "Ashton has continued to impress us with his form and we believe his bowling is at a level where he deserves to be playing on the highest stage.  "He will work nicely in tandem with Nathan Lyon and also brings a great all-round package to the team."

Despite not playing a Test on the India tour, Usman Khawaja has been retained in the squad but there is no room for veteran Western Australia batsman Shaun Marsh.

 

Marsh averaged 18.81 in eight innings during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, and while he battled injury in the final Test in Dharamsala, the 33-year-old played nine matches for Kings XI Punjab in the preceding Indian Premier League. Queensland's Mitchell Swepson, seamer Jackson Bird, injured Western Australian Mitch Marsh and allrounder Marcus Stoinis are the other members from the India tour not to get a ticket to Bangladesh, with Cartwright leapfrogging the Victorian to be the squad's only seam-bowling allrounder. "Hilton averages nearly 60 runs in first-class cricket and was the second highest run scorer in the Sheffield Shield last season with 861 runs," Hohns said.

"He is a quality player who we believe has a big future for Australia and we are very keen to see him carry on his good form into subcontinent."

Run-machine Steve Smith will lead the side and be deputised by David Warner, with young pair Matthew Renshaw and Peter Handscomb set to continue the impressive starts to their Test careers. Josh Hazlewood will lead the pace attack, along with Pattinson and Patrick Cummins, who made a successful comeback to the five-day game in India after spending half a decade in Test wilderness.

The squad of 13 is likely to increase by one, with the National Selection Panel expected to name a replacement for Starc following Australia A's tour of South Africa next month. Chadd Sayers, Chris Tremain, Jason Behrendorff and Bird are the fast bowlers in Australia A's four-day playing group vying to take the injured left-armer's spot in the touring party.

"Mitchell was due to go for follow up scans after the Champions Trophy, as part of his recovery plan," said Bupa Support Team Physiotherapist David Beakely. "These scans have indicated his previous stress fracture has still not fully healed to the extent we would like. "He will now undertake a period of rest from bowling with the aim to have him return for the one-day series in India in late September as he begins his build up to the Ashes."

After arriving in Bangladesh on August 18, Australia's first hit out of the tour will be a two-day warm-up match four days later in Fatullah before the first Test in Dhaka on August 27 and the second Test in Chittagong on September 4. The tour comes after a previously planned visit in October 2015 was postponed at the last minute by security concerns.

Executive General Manager of Team Performance, Pat Howard, said CA was happy with the current security arrangements, which have been promised to be at levels akin to a presidential or royal visit. "The Bangladesh Cricket Board and the Bangladesh Government have provided satisfactory levels of assurance and security for this tour to proceed at this stage, and we’re very grateful to them for this," said Howard.

"We will continue to work with them to finalise plans but also monitor advice from Government agencies and our own security advisors about the security risk. Our number one priority will always be the safety and security of our players and support staff when travelling to any country. "Players selected for this tour will continue to receive regular security status updates prior to travelling. "Selectors have also chosen this Bangladesh squad irrespective and independent of the status of the (Memorandum of Understanding). We are working towards a resolution being in place by 30 June and look forward to continuing to support these players to perform at their very best on the global stage."

Australia Squad for Tour of Bangladesh: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Matthew Renshaw, Matthew Wade

Fixtures 

18 August Australia arrive 

22-23 August Tour match, Fatullah 

27-31 August First Test, Dhaka 

4-8 September Second Test, Chittagong 

England 211 all out

Pakistan's Junaid Khan (2nd from L) celebrates the wicket of England's Jos Buttler with teammates during the ICC Champions Trophy semifinal in Cardiff on June 14, 2017. Photo: Afp

 

Hasan Ali took three wickets as Pakistan restricted England to 211 all out in their Champions Trophy semi-final at Cardiff on Wednesday.

Sent in on a used pitch after Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss, England found runs hard to come by, with no batsman making a fifty.

Joe Root top-scored with 46 and Jonny Bairstow, recalled in place of dropped opener Jason Roy, 43.

Paceman Hasan returned excellent figures of three for 35 in 10 overs.

Such was Pakistan's control that usually big-hitting England all-rounder Ben Stokes's 34 took 64 balls and did not include a single boundary.

 

But the way Pakistan collapsed to 162 for seven chasing 237 in their virtual 'quarter-final' against Sri Lanka in Cardiff on Monday before winning by three wickets would have given England some hope at the mid-innings break.

Mohammad Amir, who made 28 not out Monday in an unbroken eighth-wicket stand of 75 with Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed (61 not out) was missing from this match because of a back spasm.

Title-holders India play Bangladesh in Thursday's second semi-final at Birmingham's Edgbaston, with the final at the Oval in London on Sunday.

Watch Tigers’ rise through the India rivalry

Debutant Mustafizur Rahman get much love and appreciation from captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza in the first ODI against India at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on June 18, 2015 .File Photo: AFP

 

Bangladesh are set to play a semifinal match against India in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, a game which will definitely induce excitement among fans on both sides.

The rivalry has found new meaning in the recent past as both sides traded blows across several ODI series and tournaments.

No, the rivalry is not about having an equal standing – even the most ardent Bangladesh fan has to accept the fact that Bangladesh go into this game as underdogs.

However, Bangladesh have been a thorn in India’s side for some time. If anything, Virat Kohli’s side knows that Bangladesh can spring a surprise on their day.

While the India-Pakistan rivalry has been the preeminent one in the subcontinent, the Bangladesh-India match-up has formed a rivalry of its own as the babes of international cricket have inflicted some telling blows on their older neighbours over the years, giving rise to social media wars waged by the fans of both sides that gives Thursday’s semifinal the feel of a grudge match.

Here we go through a chronological journey and revisit the five Bangladesh victories over India. We look at Bangladesh’s rise in International cricket through the prism of their rivalry against India.

26 December 2004, Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka – an upset

The Bangladesh team do a victory lap around the Bangabandhu National Stadium after beating India for the first time on 26 December, 2004. File Photo: AFP

This was India’s first full tour of Bangladesh. Bangladesh just wanted to show good spirits and enjoy their cricket – and see if they can manage to spring a surprise on a formidable India side captained by Sourav Ganguly.

The first game of the series was played in Chittagong at the MA Aziz Stadium as an experienced Bangladesh side led by Habibul Bashar managed to restrict India to 245. Bangladesh made a good game of it and fell short of India’s total by just 11 runs.

In the next game of the series, at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka, -- India rested Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid coming into the game while Bangladesh were pumped after the good showing in their first encounter.

Aftab Ahmed who had made his debut ODI debut two months prior to this match, played a handy knock of 67 runs as Bangladesh posted 229 runs for nine.

 

A young Mashrafe Mortaza was bowling with fire at the Indian batsmen and led the charge by picking up Sehwag in the third delivery of the innings. He and Tapas Baisya put the squeeze on the Indian batsmen as India lost a few quick wickets.

Mashrafe would come back later into the attack to remove the dangerous Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Bangladesh were on cloud nine when Aftab ran out Murali Karthik – bowling India out for 214 to win the game by 15 runs.

Bangladesh put a great deal of effort throwing themselves about in the field and it resulted in India losing their last recognised batsman Mohammad Kaif – who was threatening to take the game away from Bangladesh -- run out after a brilliant direct hit from Rajin Saleh. 

It was just Bangladesh’s fifth win in 99 matches and only their third against Test-playing opposition. It also confirmed what many in Bangladesh already knew – that Mashrafe, who picked up the player of the match award for his two for 36 in nine overs, was a world-class pace bowler.

17 March 2007, Queens Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad -- major upset and emerging talent

Bangladesh pacer Mashrafe Bin Mortaza is congratulated by teammates after he bowled India opener Virender Sehwag in their 2007 World Cup Group B match in Trinidad on March 17. File Photo: AFP

The Bangladesh team were united in mourning the loss of cricketer Manjural Islam Rana one day prior to the Group B fixture against India in the 2007 World Cup. Rana, who was also one of Mashrafe’s closest friends, died after his motorbike lost control and collided with a mini-bus. The team felt distraught after receiving the news and Mashrafe wanted to win the game for his friend.

Bangladesh caused a major upset as a strong Indian batting lineup -- consisting of the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Virendar Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh -- were bowled out for a measly 191 runs against the Tigers.

In the match, Mashrafe bowled at high pace, often touching the 145 kph mark, and took four wickets.

An Interesting story that appeared in the Indian Express provides further meaning to the way that Mashrafe reigned on the Indian batsman that day.

Anil Kumble had bumped into Mashrafe in the teams’ hotel and in a friendly chat the now Indian coach griped about how India did not have enough recuperation time between the 2007 World Cup and the tour of Bangladesh -- which was to take place immediately following the World Cup.

“Kumble’s statement almost implied that they expected India to reach the final. He didn’t say it to spite us but I was struck by the arrogance embedded in the statement. Here the tournament was still to begin and Indians were already expecting a berth in the final. It certainly fired us,” Mortaza would say later.

Nobody was prepared for this -- least of all India as they struggled against the new ball. Mashrafe took the scalp of Sehwag and Uthappa with before he finished off the Indian innings with two more wickets in the death overs.

India found it difficult to handle Bangladesh’s battery of left-arm off-spinners as Abdur Razzaq, Shakib Al Hasan and Mohammad Rafique reigned supreme. Veteran Rafique picked up three wickets along with Abdur Razzaq who also took three.

This was also the year when Bangladesh saw the rise of three young emerging talents who would go on to become pillars of the modern Bangladesh team -- Tamim Iqbal was aged 18 at the time, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim were in there 20s  -- and all three  struck 50’s as Bangladesh chased down India’s 191 with five wickets to spare.

The victory remains a major sporting achievement in Bangladesh history. Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was again the player of the match for finishing with figures of four for 38.

The defeat would lead to India crashing out of the group phase of the World Cup. Less than a month later Greg Chappell would leave the India coaching job and Rahul Dravid resigned from captaincy some six months later.

The defeat hurt India badly and spiked the sense of rivalry between the two teams. Many of their superstar players were in disbelief. For India, losing to Bangladesh -- the new kids on the block was a major embarrassment. The victory gave Bangladesh impetus to win their game against South Africa and cause another upset in the 2007 World Cup.

Former Bangladesh player Akram Khan said: "If Mashrafe had broken the backbone of the Indian team, Tamim hammered the final nail in the coffin with dazzling strokeplay.

"I can assure you that we did not have the courage in our generation to play cricket like this," he added.

These were the first steps towards a change of mentality in Bangladesh cricket, now they had a proactive attitude -- a will to put the pressure back on the opponent -- to play with fire and trade blows. The way Tamim went down the wicket to dispatch a Zaheer Khan over long on was the defining portrait of the change taking place in Bangladesh cricket.

16 March 2012, Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur – Tendulkar’s 100th century to no avail

Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim is congratulated by teammates after he took the team home, chasing a target of 290 against India in the 2012 Asia Cup match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur on 16 March 2012. File Photo: AFP

India came into the Asia cup as the reigning World Champions after their victory in the 2011 World Cup, a campaign they started off by beating Bangladesh in the opener in Mirpur. The talk in the media was of Sachin Tendulkar reaching the milestone of the 100th international century.

The Little Master had been struggling to reach the milestone for a while but at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium he finally scored a hundred to complete his ton of tons. India posted 289 for five and while it was a slow innings from Tendulkar, India nevertheless felt happy with the target they set for Bangladesh.

That idea would change at the end of the game as the lusty hitting of Mushfiqur and Shakib saw Bangladesh overhaul India’s total to deliver an incredible win. Mushfiqur’s innings of 46 from 25 balls snatched the game away from India.

The defeat was especially difficult for India as it ruined the momentous occasion of Tendulkar’s landmark achievement. Some in the Indian media had tried to downplay the defeat saying that ‘the monkey was off the back’ referring to the fact that Tendulkar was unable to bat freely with the milestone looming ever larger and now the team could focus on winning the tournament.

That factor was ultimately negated as the defeat led to India crashing out of the tournament, coming third in the standings. The tournament saw an emerging Tigers’ outfit play the final against Pakistan.

2015 – India in Bangladesh – Mustafizur announces his arrival

Debutant Mustafizur Rahman is being hugged and congratulated by teammates after he dismissied Ajinkya Rahane. File Photo: AFP

Bangladesh had handed Pakistan a whitewash in April 2015, winning the ODI series 3-0. The Tigers’ played tremendous cricket throughout the ODI series played at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium and Tamim was in scorching form, scoring back-to-back centuries in the first two games before following up with a half-century in the final match.

The Tigers’ were brimming with confidence after the massive morale boosting victories against Pakistan. They wanted to hand India a ‘Banglawash’( a term developed by Bangladesh fans meaning a whitewash).

On June 18 Bangladesh faced India at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium and posted a formidable score of 307 after winning the toss -- a record score for Bangladesh against India in ODIs. The series saw an emerging talent enter Bangladesh cricket as Mustafizur Rahman announced his arrival -- the cutter master picked up five wickets in his debut match and vanquished the Indian batting lineup. Bangladesh won the game by 79 runs, having bowled out India for 228 runs. This was an incredible victory for Bangladesh cricket -- they mounted a serious challenge and faced India with a belief never seen before.

The hero of the Bangladesh victory Mustafizur Rahman is hoisted by teammates after his haul of 6-43 helped Bangladesh restrict India to 200. File Photo: AFP

Bangladesh went on to win the second ODI with the same authority as the first. India -- normally the best chasing side -- chose to bat first against Bangladesh, perhaps thinking it would bring a change in fortunes.

Mustafizur Rahman once again was the hero for Bangladesh as he beguiled the experienced Indian batting lineup in much the same way as the first ODI. His haul of six wickets for 43 saw India bowled out for just 200 runs. Bangladesh reached the target in 47 overs with four wickets to spare -- Shakib steered the run chase with an effective 51.

India however avoided a whitewash after securing a victory in the last game – a dead rubber; Bangladesh won the series 2-1.

With this victory Bangladesh emerged as a formidable cricketing nation -- currently ranked 6th in ICC rankings above Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

They have made their mark on this edition of the ICC Champions Trophy and have made the semifinals for the very first time in their history. In front of them lie a familiar opponent in the shape of India -- Bangladesh will keep improving and hope their rise continues through this rivalry.

Login