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Shadman's problematic footwork and his failures


Photo: ESPNCricinfo Photo: ESPNCricinfo

Shadman Islam Aneek came into the scenario of Test cricket in Bangladesh with a lot of hope and promise for the fans. His debut was at a time when Bangladesh was hardly getting an opening partnership that exceeded more than 5 overs. Losing both the openers within 10 overs was becoming a regular thing.

He made his debut in 2018 against the Windies. He played an excellent innings for a debutant of 76 (199). This along with his first-class cricket numbers made everyone believe that he has the potential to become the new long term Test opener for Bangladesh. 

However, his recent performances have made those dreams fade away. He has a Test average of 25 which is below par for an opener. At the same time, he is hardly getting big scores.

Since his brilliant century against Zimbabwe last year, his highest score is 22. He touched the double figures only twice. And he played 9 innings in between (1st innings vs South Africa included). It certainly does not look like the stats of a regular Test opener.

At first, it looked like a problem of Bangladesh not playing Tests frequently. But now they are playing the 5th Test within less than 4 months which is good enough, but not looking good enough for Shadman.

The mental factor can always be an issue. Pakistan, New Zealand and South Africa (although South Africa’s main bowlers are unavailable) all have excellent bowling units. Maybe he is not that mentally prepared to face such quality bowling attacks.

But his main villain is his foot movement. Especially his back foot which remains extraordinarily static. He got out in a similar fashion in his last 10 innings, except 1st inning of the 2nd Test vs New Zealand.

Deliveries in an intersection point of good and full length get him easily. His static backfoot does not help him there. His front foot moves, bat as well, but his back foot does not.

As a result, he is not getting in the line of the bowl, no matter what the line is, and he edges or misses. This has been a regular scenario in all of his innings. He misses the balls bowled in those areas.

He survives at times which is one of his great attributes, however, not for long. And this is becoming a routine for him.

If he cannot work these problems out, he will soon be another potential wasted cheaply.

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