It is not usual in Bangladesh to see a local coach working with a cricketer after he is included in a national squad ahead of any series or tournament, even if he is taking part in an optional skill session.
The arrival of local coach Mizanur Rahman during the last day of an individual training session at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in the capital did raise quite a few eyebrows.
Nurul is certainly the number one wicket-keepers of the country but the right-handed batsman is well aware that he needs to score runs to retain his place in the playing XI against New Zealand.
Three years ago, Nurul’s unexpected exclusion from the national set-up after the disastrous Test against West Indies, where he scored only a half-century, thus left him flabbergasted.
Even though he has now made it back to the national set-up with an across-formats return during the tour of Zimbabwe and retained his place in the following T20I series against Australia. Nurul’s place in the playing XI against New Zealand is not guaranteed considering it remains to be seen whether he can retain his place in the eleven after returning of Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das despite being included in the 19-member squad for the upcoming home series against New Zealand.
After recovering from the setback following being sent into the wilderness by the team management against West Indies series; Nurul decided to hone his batting skills and the duo agreed that they would work together on developing his skill set.
Since then Mizanur had been a guide and mentor of Nurul, who is working hard to make a slot in the T20 set-up as a finisher that he had been doing quite successfully at the domestic level.
“Usually when the national coaches are working we hardly go but he (Nurul) told me to come and have a look at him in the nets as he is not working with the members of the national coaching staff,” Mizanur said.
“I had worked with him for approximately two hours and it was all about working with his basic along with involving him in some batting drills,” he said.
“He worked with the bowling machine and then he later batted in the central wicket and all I did was just reminding him about the basic techniques and the process that he maintains during the training session,” he said.
There were times when Mizanur was seen going to Nurul and talking with him at length in between the deliveries at the center wicket that the latter tried to absorb and execute afterward.
“I’ve told him to play shots when it is needed and you will see that at times he tends to play an easy shot in a hard way. I just asked him to remain focus on finding the gaps,” he added.
“He generally tends to come down the wicket during the death overs; to hit in the cow corner, as I’ve told him that if he does that continuously one shot too many times, then ultimately the fielder is going to hold him in the position, so you got to back away a little to play in the extra cover region as well, so that the bowler and the opposition captain feel anxious about where you are going to play the next ball. You can’t expect to pick-up runs only being strong in the leg-side,” he concluded.
Earlier, Nurul had worked with Mizanur mainly with his balance because balance is important when it comes to big-hitting while they had also worked with batting stance and batting grip and it proved dividend for Nurul in the domestic circuit that paved his way into the national team.