"I had got out a couple of times to balls bowled outside off stump. So I decided not to play the cover-drive. They were bowling consistently outside the off stump, and I decided to leave all those balls," were the words of the great Sachin Tendulkar after he played an unbeaten 241-run knock without a single drive through the off side during the Sydney Test of India's 2004 tour.
What was more remarkable than the unbeaten double hundred was that Sachin had not given in once to the temptation of playing the cover-drive -- one of his trademark shots -- in more than 10 hours of batting while negotiating the likes of Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie and Nathan Bracken, who were in constant pursuit of tempting the little master to have a go outside off stump.
Tendulkar had learnt from scores of 0, 1, 37, 0 and 44 in his previous Test innings on tour and decided not to repeat the cover drives that had proved his downfall, leaving a lesson for all batsmen in the world about how not to be easily tempted and fall prey.
Learning from their mistakes, just like Tendulkar did back then, is one of the most crucial traits an athlete can acquire. Unfortunately, Bangladesh batsmen in the ongoing BCB President's Cup seem to have completely forgotten about that trait as they kept repeating the same mistakes.
In Saturday's game, Najmul XI's Soumya Sarkar, a regular face in the Bangladesh national side, dragged an outside off delivery onto his stumps while trying to smash Mahmudullah XI's Rubel Hossain, an experienced fast bowler, for the third consecutive boundary. Soumya probably was reeling from the criticism he faced for his sloth-like 47-ball nine in the previous match and was trying to score as many runs as possible in quick time.
But the situation was set up for the left-hander to slow down and take his time. After playing a cracking drive through the off side for a boundary, Soumya tried to follow that up with another but was luckily avoided being caught at mid-off, courtesy of the fielder's misjudgement that saw the ball running to the boundary. While most batsmen would have deemed that misjudgement from the fielder as a sign and regroup, disappointingly, a player who has played 15 Tests, 55 ODIs and 50 T20Is, again slashed hard at an outside off delivery off the very next ball and ended up dragging that onto his stumps.
The trend of repeating mistakes continued. It was then the vastly experienced Mushfiqur Rahim. Mushfiqur repeated the same mistake he made in the previous game against Tamim XI when his attempt to scoop Mustafizur Rahman cost him his wicket -- and with it the possibility of winning the game for Najmul XI -- after a brilliant 103-run knock.
And just like the previous match, Mushfiqur once again tried to scoop a pacer -- this time Ebadot Hossain in the 42nd over -- and was only able to offer a simple catch to the wicketkeeper. Mushfiqur, who played the anchor role during a crucial 147-run fourth-wicket stand with the brilliant Afif Hossain, could not cash in on the chance to accelerate at the latter part of the game and returned after a 92-ball 52 that featured a solitary boundary.
Maybe it is not possible for Bangladesh batsmen playing in a 50-over tournament to replicate what Tendulkar did in Sydney more than a decade ago in a Test, but what they can at least try to replicate is reining in their urges and not repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Because, if they keep repeating the same mistakes during an intra-squad domestic tournament, chances are that the same thing will happen during a high-voltage international series or tournament.