Duncan Fletcher Diagnoses Bangladesh

I don’t know if Duncan Fletcher, England’s former coach, has a ghostwriter or not, but he writes some excellent columns for The Guardian. His latest one about Bangladesh is also one not to be missed (H/T Old Batsman). He makes some good points: first, Bangaldesh has fared comparably to other emerging Test nations (like Sri Lanka and New Zealand) back in the day. Second, they need a genuinely fast bowler (but so does India) and third, they need to get accustomed to facing pace:

In Zimbabwe we actually recruited two South African baseball pitchers to come into the nets and throw at us as fast as they could from 19 yards, to help us adapt to the pace of top-level cricket. At first we could hardly get the bat on the ball, but over time we became accustomed to the increased speed. Until Bangladesh can find some quicks of their own for their batsmen to practise against, they may need to resort to more unnatural methods like that one.

I say this again and again, but I think Bangladesh’s gradual success is the most interesting story in cricket right now. I say that because while most people now prefer spreading Americanzied Twenty20s to Tests, we have a nation that’s trying to answer an age-old question: how do we nurture old-fashioned cricket talent (and culture) where little existed before?

We could also use another team or two in the international line-up. Not just so we can say cricket’s played by more people than it actually is — that’s not the point. Think about what Sri Lanka has brought to this game (and my Australian readers can hold their tongues here). Different countries produce variations in the game, which makes for much more rewarding time. At this point, I don’t know what Bangladesh will turn out — a spin-crazy nation like India in the 1970s, or full of pacemen like Pakistan…? Can’t wait to find out, though.

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