It will be a battle of batting approaches: McKenzie | 2019-06-17

It will be a battle of batting approaches: McKenzie

Sports Correspondent

17 June, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh white ball batting consultant Neil McKenzie believes that they are not being able to post over 300 runs due to the wickets at their own backyard.

The former South African batsman insisted that it will be a battle of different batting approaches when they take on West Indies in their must-win game on Monday.

While West Indies are more about power hitting according to McKenzie they are placed completely on the other side of spectrum as far as their batting approach is concerned.

“A lot of it is the nature of the (Bangladesh) wickets. You don’t generally get those big scores,” McKenzie was quoted on Telegraph when he was asked why his side struggle to reach 300-plus scores in the past.

“What I have picked up from the guys however is that they are very, very clean and consistent strikers of the ball,” he said.

“They are more of a skilled hitting squad rather than the West Indian hitting to the ropes type of players,” felt McKenzie.

The West Indies play a book-ended style of cricket; they go hard at the beginning and end, but their run-rate dips in the middle.

Bangladesh, however, tend to build throughout the innings. The problem is that the rate of increase isn’t particularly fast; since the Champions Trophy 2017, of the teams competing at this World Cup, only Sri Lanka and Afghanistan score more slowly.

Bangladesh are, however, a more evenly-balanced side. They have a lower dot-ball percentage during that same period and their average in the middle 30 overs is 41.2, more than 11.4 runs higher than the West Indies. The question for McKenzie, who played 58 Tests and 64 ODIs for South Africa, is how to translate this platform into match-winning totals.

“We are really focusing on Bangladesh’s strengths, the skilled hitting, trying to penetrate through the gaps and go with what we have in terms of a talented bunch of skilled hitters,” said McKenzie. “We have tried to improve their handling of the short-pitched bouncy ball, for example, and just given the guys options. I think the biggest thing that (head coach) Steve Rhodes and we look for is that there is not one way to get a job done. So if it’s going to be unorthodox but it is going to be effective we will go along with it,” he said.

In their opening match the West Indies’ towering quicks peppered Pakistan with short balls to take 7 wickets for 55 runs and bowl them out for 105. While Pakistan average 17.85 against the short ball however, Bangladesh’s is up at 29.27. The team’s performance against pace overall has markedly improved over the last twenty years; for the first decade of this millennium, Bangladesh averaged 20.7 against pace. From 2016 until present, they average 32.

“We have tried to influence them in terms of running, and other ways of being innovative as well,” continues McKenzie.

“They are fanatical about their cricket so they are always watching different players. Always coming up with ideas. They want to bring in something different,” added Neil.

“We’ve also encouraged them to look at someone like Graeme Smith, who was unorthodox in a different way, and just trust those methods,” McKenzie explained.

“If that’s your strength, have faith in what you do. A lot of these guys are unorthodox in some of the parts that they hit the ball, which is a positive. A guy like Smith, you bowl straight to him and he hits you through the leg-side. Most guys are just blocking it whereas he is squeezing it for two runs. That is what I mean by unorthodoxy, making it work for you,” concluded Neil.