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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 October, 2004, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
Belief so important in cricket
Mark Richardson writes for BBC Sport
By Mark Richardson
New Zealand batsman in Bangladesh

It is early in Bangladesh's Test days. They have the raw ingredients to become a winning nation - 140 million people mad on cricket helps - but they are short on cricket smarts.

I believe if they focus on situational awareness as much as they do on technique and individual skill they will become a force quicker than I bet they expect right now.

We had better belief than the Bangladeshis in the Dhaka Test
We had better belief than the Bangladeshis in Dhaka

Take the first Test in Dhaka which we won by an innings and plenty, the result expected.

I still do not know whether the hosts ever realised just how much pressure they had us under at times.

When you are a side not accustomed to winning one of the hardest things to identify is that point in the match when you are in with a show.

Bangladesh would have been a little disappointed to be rolled for 177 in the first innings.

At three for spit early on the first morning things were a bit dire but Mohammed Ashraful and Rajin Salah put together an excellent fourth wicket partnership in which they absorbed a ton of pressure.

They built a platform for the lower middle and tail to build on but were denied a good total via a hat-trick for James Franklin.

Franky continues to consolidate his comeback to international cricket and shows the great value of swinging the ball on these flat batting surfaces.

When Bangladesh came out to bowl for some time it looked like their score of 177 could be relatively competitive.

At 120-5 we were under real pressure. Our tempo had stalled and runs were a real graft. But the real difference between the two teams then came to the fore.

Mohammad Rafique was happy his team got 10 wickets
Mohammad Rafique was happy his team got 10 wickets

Our team had belief. We kept pressing on. Fortune will always favour the positive and it did just that as Brendon McCullum completed his maiden Test century and in doing so took the game away from Bangladesh as we posted 400.

That night the best Bangladesh bowler Mohammad Rafique, who took six of our first innings wickets, was asked whether he was disappointed that New Zealand had got away from them.

He responded by saying that they achieved their goal of taking all 10 of our wickets. Bangladesh should have identified that at 120-5 it was game on and should have been mortified to have let their opponent recover to 400.

The concepts of tempo, the times to absorb pressure versus the times to exert pressure, are concepts a team needs to understand as it develops into a winning team.

Australia have been great exponents of these concepts for some time and I believe England are beginning to grasp it more and more over the last year or so.

We still struggle with it but are learning game by game.

If you attain this type of awareness and have trained the tools to effect the desired processes you give yourself a better chance of prevailing.


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