IRELAND IN BANGLADESH, 2023
Talukdar heads the right way on comeback trail
by Atif Azam • Last updated on Tue, Mar 28, 2023
Bangladesh T20I’s opener Rony Talukdar is an exception. The right-handed batsman made a return to the national fold following a gap of nearly eight years with the three-match T20I’s against England, a thing not common in cricket history of Bangladesh.
Talukdar made his T20I’s debut against South Africa in 2015 where he batted at number seven instead of his favourite opening slot and managed a 22-ball 21 but since that game went into the wilderness.
Talukdar made a comeback against England on the back of a strong performance in the just concluded Bangladesh Premier League, the country’s lone franchise-based T20 tournament.
Rony became the second-highest scorer in the BPL making 425 runs in 13 games for Rangpur Riders at an average of 35.42 while striking it at 129.18 which helped his side reach the playoffs of the tournament.
“I never gave up hope and always believed that someday I will be able to make a comeback,” Talukdar told Cricbuzz after being included in the squad for the series against England.
“I’m confident because I played well in BPL and there I have played against some good bowlers,” he said.
“I have scored runs in the back foot and worked on it with Imran [Sarowar Imran] Sir,” he said.
“I practiced playing down the ground with Imran sir before the league and I used to show my practice videos to him. I spoke with him about my game and he used to tell me that I can score runs even if I play it down the ground as well as guided me so that I can be a better batsman,” he added.
Bangladesh tried many openers since Tamim Iqbal retired from the shortest format to partner Liton Kumar Das but none could cement that spot which prompted the management to try Talukdar considering his form in the domestic circuit.
The selectors gave him a break against England in the T20Is and though he failed to make any big score, making 21, 9, 24 in the three games, he certainly caught the eyes of the team management with his aggressive approach.
Talukdar eventually made his return count with an aggressive half-century against Ireland to repay the faith of the selectors, who had gone against tradition to bring Talukdar back in the national fold.
Sarowar offered more insights into what went behind the scenes that helped Talukdar stage this comeback.
“He( Talukdar) is working with me for few years. Firstly he didn’t have the self-belief that he is good player despite having all kind of shots under his repertoire. I just tried to make him understand that he is good player,” Sarowar said in a satisfactory tone after watching his student earn his maiden T20I half-century on Monday.
“His head was falling downwards while he was taking the stance and we just tried to make it upwards and as a result, he plays the straight delivery well and drives well too. These are the small things that we worked on,” he said.
“Earlier, he didn’t play straight and used to play on the onside and one of the reasons was due to his head position as it was falling but as now that is not the case he is batting differently,” he said.
“His head used to fall down on the off stump as it was predominantly downwards but now as that is not the case he is playing well at both side of the wicket,” he said adding that his approach also changed to great extent.
“He used to pull and cut well from the very beginning but previously when he used to drive he hit it over the top,” he said.
“After changing his stance and head position he is now playing the straight drive and on drive and that too with conviction due to the fact his stance is better now he sees the ball clear,” he added.
Talukdar feels that now he got the confidence that even if he is bogged down for a while he has the shots to cover it.
“Earlier I had the tendency of scoring runs in every ball and hitting every delivery and that was the reason I had more chances of getting out and used to fail more often than not but now that is not the case,” said Talukdar
“Now my plan was that even if I cannot score runs in the power play if I can stay for 10 to 15 overs, I can always cover up,” he concluded.
Bangladesh team management will be hoping that Talukdar keeps delivering considering the fact they need a stable opening partnership in the shortest format with the next T20 World Cup not too far away.