“I thought attack was the best form of defence” – Shakib – A Rafiqul Sharif article

“I thought attack was the best form of defence” – Shakib – A Rafiqul Sharif  article

In the post match prize ceremony Bangladeshi captain for the test Shakib Al Hasan said, “This is the best day for Bangladesh cricket. The guys have been supporting me very well so I don’t feel any pressure. Raqibul played a gem of an innings. I thought attack was the best form of defence.”

The last bit of his statement mentioned here is the biggest achievement for Bangladesh in this series in my view. And congratulations from the centre of the heart to the team specially the captain for translating his belief to implementation by leading from the front with 5 wickets and 96 not out in a test’s second innings where it had become virtually a one innings test.

Test cricket does not mean that you have to play bogged down and score very slowly. It is about how you deal with the situation and how you show temperament. Previously Bangladesh has been guilty of trying to play unnecessary slow games to hand over initiatives to the other team. An exception in Grenada has given them one of the rarest success in International cricket for them, a test whitewash on away series! That’s a big, big thing to do, does not matter who the opposition are.

Chasing a target of 215 on a match where the highest innings score was 237, is not a walk in the park and when you are 67/4, it becomes daunting along with the pressure of creating history. Previously in Multan against Pakistan, in Chittagong against Australia and New Zealand they fell to this pressure. But this time an attacking frame of mind has overcome that. The gem of an innings from Rakibul Hasan, who was hit in the arm by Roach in the first innings before falling to the bowler’s plan, along with a mature headed captain’s knock of 96 not out, has made this a reality.

But if they decided to get into shell and tried to defend everything as their coach always tells them, what would have happened? A team rule of “batting without scoring” or team rules like “the first three batsmen cannot hit anything aerial” are not really rules, but handicaps. That’s unnecessary pressure to the batsman. Rule should be to judge everything by merit. If it is there to be hit then it should be hit. And sometimes if it is not there to be hit, then also you might need to hit because you don’t want to fall in the plan of the bowlers. There is nothing better for a bowler to see that the batsman is trying hard to defend him. That gives him the opportunity to relish all his weapons one by one to throw at the batsman. You don’t even have to hit boundaries all the time. Taking singles to rotate strike is a fantastic way to release the pressure, get set and most importantly frustrate the bowler as he cannot work on one batsman for long. These things are to be taught by the coach.

I was very happy to see at last two of the Bangladeshi batsmen showing maturity and taking up the attack to the opposition. At 67/4, fast bowlers with the knowledge of known weakness of the opposition batsmen against short-pitched deliveries would be rubbing their hands in anticipation of making inroads to the tail. I am very happy that they didn’t give the West Indian bowlers that chance. And the rest as you know is history. Only braves create history! There are risks involved in anything. If they had got out trying to attack, they would have been criticised for foul shots by some people. Some people would have said “What a ridiculous batting! After being 67/4 you play that shot! How irresponsible!” The coach would have said, “I don’t know why they don’t stick with the team rule!” These incorrect justifications have so far harmed Bangladesh most. These criticisms have slowed and in some cases, stopped the progression of Bangladesh cricket for long. If you play negative, the bowlers will get you this over or in the next. The attacking intent does mean to play a foul shot or an aerial shot. The opponent needs to realise that you are on the attack on them. That’s how you win. The proverb ‘Attack is the best defence’ is not there for nothing!

For Shakib though, it is better than dream! Get captaincy of the nation’s most adorable sport team at the age of only 22, lead the team fantastically in the field, great signs of maturity in bowling changes and field placing, lead from the front with bat and ball, hitting the winning runs with a six and overall winning the “Man of the match” and “Man of series”. He was all over the attention and that produced the following commentary from the official commentator for the series:

“Shakib is also the Man of the Match. He gets a Blackberry.
Shakib is also the Man of the Series. That’s two Blackberrys!
Shakib returns to the podium for the umpteenth time, now to collect the series trophy. They might as well name the series after him.”

Yes, they might as well name the series after him.

Rafiqul Sharif

Link requested by Dany | original source

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  1. Mushfiq Chowdhury
    Mushfiq Chowdhury 12 January, 2016, 04:05

    wow, that’s a great article. The writer definitely knows his cricket

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