2nd December 2020

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Mahmudullah wants to give his batsmen ‘freedom to perform’

The big-hitters at the top of the order need assurance that they can play with freedom without worrying about their place in the team, Bangladesh T20I captain Mahmudullah said ahead of the two-T20I series against Zimbabwe.

Mahmudullah is aiming for stability, a first step towards a better batting approach from the one that was knocked out of shape in Pakistan in their last T20I series. Bangladesh picked several opening batsmen for that three-match series, but that left them without a proper middle-order.

“I will seek the players’ trust as a captain,” Mahmudullah said. “I want to be honest with the players. The T20 format allows you to have one or two bad games, and a player can feel insecure. It is the responsibility of the captain and coach to give the players freedom to play. I will also make the players understand what the team wants them to do.

“I want to assure them that from now on, there will get a stable batting order so that they can have the freedom to perform. I believe that in T20 cricket, things can become easier if you know your specific role, especially if you are batting from No. 5 to 7. If a batsman gets out first ball trying to hit for the team, we will consider those situations. He will also get the team management’s support.”

For Mahmudullah’s opposite number, Zimbabwe’s Sean Williams, a more disciplined approach with improvement in the basics in all three departments is the big target. Williams believes the senior players in the middle-order – Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor, Sikandar Raza and himself – should take the onus to do the job

“As it stands right now, we will back Raza, Brendan, Craig, Wesley [Madhevere] and myself,” he said. “We can also play. The guys up the order have earned the rights to bat up the order. They have proved themselves over and over again. Having Donald [Tiripano] down the order is a good thing for us. If he carries on playing like this, we can start thinking about him moving him up the order. He is a very busy man. He is proving to be an extremely good allrounder for us.

“Our all-round basics have been poor. Backing up, walking in, too upright, letting singles and boundary balls through the last balls of the over. Small things have made a big difference for us. They have let us down badly. I am extremely hard on them now. I want discipline back.”

First up, Williams wants his new-ball bowlers to bring them early breakthroughs, so that it eases the pressure on his spinners. “For me, it was a matter of skill. Our skill levels were down. Our basics were poor,” he said. “Two new balls, but no wicket in the first ten overs meant that it was extremely hard on our spinners [in the ODI series].

“And then the spinners not taking wickets in the middle period made it hard for the pace bowlers in the death overs.”


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