Why can’t Bangladesh do it when Canada and even the US can?

Aaron Jones ended the match with a win under his beltAFP

You must be knowing by now that cricket was once a very popular game in the US, thanks to the ICC T20 World Cup. That was a long time ago and it seems that day would never return.

Does the US have no contribution to modern cricket? It does! The idea of ​​cricket’s prime website, Cricinfo, came from an American. Why Simon King, a student at the University of Minnesota, thought a website could be made with live cricket scores, is a story for another day. For now let’s use the information to understand cricket’s connection with the US. I will even tell you the story of how a cricket scoring site, Cricinfo, turned into a complete cricket magazine later.

All this introduction is to say that there is a section in the cricinfo site that predicts the results of a live match. Do you know what that forecaster predicted at the end of 8 overs of the US innings in the opening match of this T20 World Cup? The US had only a 5.65 per cent chance of winning. I’m sure you also thought the same back then.

After eight overs, the US managed only 48 runs, with another 147 runs needed in the remaining 12 overs. How could the batting team’s chances of winning such a match be more than 5-6 per cent? Definitely Canada is going to win this match, most if not all thought. Canada, the team that just a few days ago lost the series 4-0 to the United States.

The US-Canada match was a memorable one

You already know what happened afterwards. Let’s convert the calculations into remaining balls and required runs for the sake of a clearer picture. The US needed 147 runs in 72 balls, with 9.8 runs per over.

But the US spent only 58 balls to score 149 runs, more specifically, Aaron Jones and Andries Gous. The two scored 131 runs in the partnership with a record 14.29 runs per over. No other partnership scored over 100 runs in any T20 World Cup so fast.

After this victory with 14 balls and 7 wickets to spare, it is not unusual that the US captain Monank Patel is showing the courage to threaten India and Pakistan. I interviewed him a few days ago. I said to him, with India and Pakistan in their group, was their thought of progressing into the “Super Eight” round not a bit exaggerated? Nonchalant Monank Patel said in a calm voice, why? I know, we have to win three matches for that.

You could say this confidence or from another point of view, unnecessary arrogance. Who does not know that India, Pakistan and Canada are not the same! Monank Patel is also certainly not ignorant of this. But this courage to dream big - it is bound to touch the heart of anyone.

Before this match, Aaron Jones’ T20 career strike rate was 104 and only once he crossed the 50 runs mark. In Major League Cricket last year, Seattle Orcas also released him after a few days while no team took Jones in the first draft for next season. Second draft will be held this month. After this innings with the strike rate of 235, it will be surprising if different franchises do not lock horns to induct Aaron Jones in their side.

He scored a fifty off just 22 balls and remained unbeaten at 94 off 40 balls. Only one person has more runs in a T20 debut innings. He is also ahead of Aaron Jones for hitting most sixes in an innings. You know the name, Chris Gayle.

Bangladesh lost to India by 60 runs margin in the warm-up match

Gayle once hit 11 sixes, and 10 at another time. Aaron Jones also hit 10 sixes that day. The strangest thing is he had 13 sixes in the previous 24 innings in international T20.

With Gayle’s physical stature, it would have made it easier to clear the boundary. Aaron Jones is the opposite. It’s hard to believe that the batter who grew up in Barbados after being born in Queens, New York, has so much power in such a small body! He was  not even able to reach the microphone properly sitting in the chair at the press conference!

It is not that Aaron Jones would play the same brand of cricket in every match, nor would the US chase down every now and then with such ease. But, none could complain that the US or Jones do not have the “intent”.

This is the saddest part about the Bangladesh team. It is not that things will go well in cricket all the time. But there has to be a reflection of positive thinking in batting. In a previous interview, Aaron Jones a few days ago said about the desired style of play “Fearless Cricket”, “Positive Cricket”, “Smart Cricket”.

This is not heard from the Bangladesh cricketers much. Even if it is heard sometimes, their game on the field says that was just in words. Is it lack of confidence, crumbling under huge pressure or lack of efficiency?

Surely all this is being said as the US could play such a cricket. You even can take a look at Canada, who could not win the match. Their batters played with the same intensity from the word go to the last ball of the innings. Why can’t Bangladesh players do that? Once again the question recurs- is it fear of failure, fear of criticism, or lack of skill?

* The report, originally published in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza.