Batting coach McKenzie defends under-fire Bangladesh batsmen after opening loss in tri-series


Bangladesh batting coach Neil McKenzie on Saturday defended their under-fire batsmen after yet another sub-par performance.

The South Asian side managed to beat Zimbabwe by three wickets in the opening match of the tri-nation Twenty20 series on Friday to end a six-match losing streak in all formats, but needed to be rescued by the unheralded Afif Hossain while precariously positioned at 60-6, chasing 144.

The teenager hit 52 off 26 balls after more experienced players like Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar and Liton Das failed on home turf against an inexperienced Zimbabwe attack.

Shakib scored just one run, after conceding 30 runs in an over earlier that allowed Zimbabwe to post a competitive score.

“I think international cricket is hard cricket. You can’t always score. And you can see Shakib. He was magnificent in the World Cup,” said McKenzie.

“There are lot of guys who played really well in the last six months in international cricket. As soon as they don’t score in one or two games… everybody gets excited and upset.”

McKenzie also backed Liton and Soumya, who made 19 and four respectively after failing to shine earlier during an embarrassing 224-run Test defeat at home to Afghanistan.

“We have so many good players at the moment and we just need guys to jump out the box and be a lot more consistent,” said the former South African opener.

“There’s no doubt about their ability. It’s all about consistency.”

Bangladesh will face Afghanistan in their second match of the tournament on Sunday.

“They are not machines. They are humans. We just get behind our team and back our team and even if we lose tomorrow, we will win the next game,” said McKenzie.

“We don’t come out to lose. Bangladesh come out to play 100 percent positive cricket with no fear.”

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