CHITTAGONG: Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons, batsman Mohammad Ashraful and opener and home boy Tamim Iqbal look ahead to tomorrow’s fourth ODI of the Grameenphone Cup.
(How he expects the team to perform tomorrow)
Always a little bit nervous thinking whether the boys would perform to their ability. As I had said at the start of the tour that we’ll get better as the series goes on. I expect that to continue. We think we have done that so far. We weren’t quite ready in the first game but we’ll continue to get better.
(On the underperforming opening pair and especially the performance of Zunaed Siddique so far in this series)
I don’t have a problem. We were none for 50 in the second game. That was perfect. He (Zunaed) is not performing but the team is winning so why change a winning combination? Besides, we don’t have any one better at the moment and unless someone else is scoring lots of runs and saying pick me then I don’t see any reason why we should change anything.
(What he thinks is the reason for Zunaed not scoring runs)
He is hitting the ball in the air too much. A bit like (Mohammad) Ashraful. If you hit the ball too many times in the air you get caught. It’s as simple as that. That’s what he (Zunaed) has done. It’s a mental problem.
(On the fact that the squad of 14 has only two specialist openers and whether there is a possibility og Mushfiqur Rahim promoted to the opening slot)
We are in Bangladesh so we can pick anyone we like if we want to from the 200 playing top class cricket. Mushfique is going beautifully at where he is now so we don’t need to experiment. I expect Zunaed to perform tomorrow.
(Combination for tomorrow’s match)
It would probably be very similar to the last game.
(The wicket at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium)
I think it is a lot more like Zimbabwe where a lot of runs can be scored. We’ll have to bat well and bowl really well to contain them. It could be a big-scoring game.
(On the Tigers losing the plot with the Power Play in the last match with four wickets going down)
That was a bit stupid. Taking the power play and trying to entertain the crowd. That was what we were renowned for, entertaining but not necessarily winning games. I want them to have the mentality of winning the game first. Otherwise Ash (Ashraful) wouldn’t have taken power play and hit the ball in the air. Don’t worry, I spoke to him after the game!
(Whether his slow in the last match was a deliberate plan)
You can say that. I am trying to change my game a bit. My focus now is to settle down first and then make up later on. I admit this is not what the crowd wants but for greater consistency I have to adapt. I had consciously started slowly in the last match and plan to play the same way in the remaining matches as that approach haqs brought be runs in the West Indies and Zimbabwe also.
(Whether he thinks this Zimbabwe team is weaker than the one that had visited Bangladesh earlier in the year)
On the contrary I think they are a much improved side. Last time they were here we made 120-odd in a match and they had lost eight wickets before winning. Also they have had good starts in every match they have played here. They have been together for a number of years and the improvement is definitely there.
(On playing in Chittagong and the fact that this could be a ICC CWC 2011 venue)
I always look forward to playing at home and it will be a fantastic thing for Chittagong if the World Cup comes here. It will be a renaissance for cricket here and youngster will have renewed enthusiasm to become cricketers. Remember there was a time when there were as many as nine players from Chittagong in the National Team. Now I am the only one. So the World Cup could be a massive boost.
(His message to opening partner Zunaed who is struggling to score)
Look, we don’t talk about problems too much in the team. If you keep giving suggestions to a player who is not in form then more times than not it has a negative effect and it doesn’t help. He knows what he needs to do and that goes for every player in or team. When I am having trouble I tend to take my mind off cricket because the more you think about it the more confusing it gets. He (Zunaed) just needs a bit of luck and a good score. That’s it.
(On the wicket in Chittagong)
I never comment on wickets. Good players score runs on every wicket. If pitches were a reason then Tendulkar (Sachin) would have made runs only in India. Most of us have played around 70-odd ODIs already so we should be able to adapt to any wicket. I am a firm believer of batsmen winning matches. No matter how well you bowl if the batsmen don’t make runs you don’t win games. In Chittagong batsmen usually have a lot more going for them.