New-look Naeem seeks success

October 31, 2013

Batsman Naeem Islam hopes to reap the benefits of his transformed batting approach, which he developed during his absence from the national team after an injury prompted him to miss the tours of Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe earlier this year. Naeem, who was included in the Test squad for the home series against New Zealand, could not break into a Tigers line-up loaded with seasoned performers for the two-match Test series.
Despite debuting in 2008, Naeem has yet to establish himself in the national team. He made his maiden Test hundred against West Indies in December but was injured soon after, losing his spot to Mominul Haque, who has held on the spot with a series of strong performances.
He was unlikely to feature in the ODI series either before landing a spot in the playing XI through the stroke of fortune.
Naeem was chosen to replace ace-all rounder Sakib al Hasan, who was ruled out after coming down with dengue fever, in the first ODI and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands, playing a vital role in the Tigers victory with a workman-like half-century.
Though he initially looked out of sorts in his comeback match at the international level – taking 17 balls to open his account – he eventually he began to flourish and played some eye-catching square cuts and drives to make a 115-ball 84.
‘It was really hard to concentrate initially, but I was not interested in getting carried away and I kept my nerves,’ Naeem said on Wednesday.
‘Apart from working on my shot selection and improving my fitness, this was also an area where major focus was thrown into by me.’
Batting coach Nazmul Abedin added that Naeem had started to play a lot straighter.
The coach said that his physical fitness helped him not to lose focus, which also speaks to his determination, because on many occasions players will play rash shots despite surviving initial struggles. That, the coach says, is where he has grown.
He has also learned to rotate the strike, and from the non-striking end he had been able to get confidence that was badly needed at that point.

-With New Age input

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