October 23, 2021, 5:37 am

A challenge fit for a Prince

Sports Reporter [Adeel Mahmud] : One of Bangladesh’s biggest weaknesses over the years has been a lack of adaptability when faced with unfamiliar conditions, especially in the shortest format of the game from the batters’ point of view.

Although the Tigers had a successful outing in Zimbabwe with the bat, things were almost the opposite against Australia at home, with difficult batting surfaces testing batsmen to the fullest.

With Ashwell Prince being appointed as the Tigers’ long-term batting coach until the 2022 T20 World Cup, it will be interesting to see how the South African works on that aspect to prepare Bangladesh as a better batting unit in the coming days.

Prince was not present during the historic 4-1 win at home over Australia, but the 44-year-old is expecting similarly slow and low conditions against the Kiwis, which means adaptability will be key for batsmen.

“I think one of the biggest differences between the Zimbabwe and Australia series was the difference in batting conditions. Adaptability is a very important aspect of batting. I think the team adjusted well to the bouncy conditions in Zimbabwe. We were victorious in that series. Then coming home to Bangladeshi conditions where bounce and scoring rate are a lot lower,” Prince said in a video message relayed by the BCB yesterday.

“I am expecting similar conditions against New Zealand. The batsmen from the Australia series had a nice discussion yesterday, sharing with guys like Liton Das and Mushfiqur [Rahim] who didn’t play in that series. These are experienced guys but they shared what worked and what we would like to improve upon from the Australia series to take into the New Zealand series.”

There has been plenty of discussion regarding Bangladesh’s opening slots, with the position of Soumya Sarkar being questioned after the left-hander made just 28 runs across the five games against Australia. His best score was an 18-ball 16 that came in the final game after he was demoted to number four in the batting order.

“Personally I am not really concerned about the opening batsmen. I think we had one or two good partnerships in Zimbabwe but conditions were tough against Australia. It is not easy to score boundaries as frequently as you would on pitches where the ball is coming on. Adapting to conditions is important. I think we have a strong competition in the opening position. I am sure Liton Das will get an opportunity in this position as well,” he said.

Prince also opined that Mushfiqur and Liton’s return to the squad would help the team find a better blend of youth and experience.

“What really excites me about this Bangladesh team is that we have a good mix of experienced players and young players. Not just in the batting department, but also in the bowling department. We have some Under-19 World Cup winners, so they are bringing youth and the experience of being successful in a big tournament. It really feels as though there’s a good connection between experience and youth. There’s a good quality in every department — fast bowling, spin bowling, and batting,” Prince added.

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