Thursday, 20 March 2008

Now it's a team rule!

Ireland cricket team stayed away from any practice yesterday despite going into the second game of the three-match series on the back of a huge eight-wicket defeat at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium today.

The visitors already expressed their concern over the immense heat after their first match defeat at the same venue and as a result, avoided training in the morning to regain some energy.

Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful also admitted that the sultry weather was a big issue behind Ireland's meek surrender in the opening match and they have to brave the heat first if they want to be competitive in the remaining games.

"I must say that they were very disciplined in all departments in the first match but the weather was terrible for them. But on their day they can be dangerous so there is no scope to be complacent only after one comfortable victory," observed Ashraful.

The Tigers presence in the practice at the Mirpur indoors yesterday also reflected the feeling of their skipper. Coach Jamie Siddons conducted a short training with his batsmen only even though his top-order showed some character in the first game.

Was this seriousness for next month's tour to Pakistan? "No. Our main focus is to win the series first. We are not thinking of Pakistan right now but the win against Ireland will definitely help us get back some confidence before another tough tour," responded Ashraful.

Bangladesh came up with a new term in their book, which is 'team rule'. And what they believe was that they failed to apply it during the last series against formidable South Africa but made use of it in the first game against Ireland on Tuesday.

"As per the team rule, only the first three batsmen can play shots freely, in other words, they can play over the top. But for the remaining batsmen, it is considered a crime, as they have to avoid any kind of risk.

"I followed it in the first game against Ireland and got the result. I believe we would be competitive against the top-ranked sides if we maintained this rule," Ashraful explained.

And that was the reason left-handed opener Tamim Iqbal and number three Aftab Ahmed were not blamed for their rushed shots in the first game.

"You can say we gave Tamim free license to play his natural game because of the rule," he said.

Chief selector Rafiqul Alam was also excited by the new method and he believed they will get some results if the players followed it religiously.

"The method (team's rule) was desperately needed against South Africa but it didn't happen. I am happy they at least followed it in the first game against Ireland. As much as we follow the rules, we will be more successful in the international cricket," said the former national player.

"I will be really happy if they maintain it in the remaining two games against Ireland," he added.

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