Category Archives: Bangladesh

Ten Years Of Bangladesh Test Cricket

Andrew Miller rues a somewhat lost decade for Bangladesh Test cricket:

[The ICC] might well have decided that a ten-year development programme and a November 2010 promotion was a more realistic date for which to aim.

Had they done so, they might well have encountered a battle-hardened squad boasting the sort of world-class players that Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan have become, as well as a cast of reliable sidekicks such as the wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim, upon whom expectations can be heaped without any fear that he will crack.

Some of the blame has to go to India, Miller says. The BCCI lunged for an extra vote for the Asia Test bloc, but then didn’t do all that much to help Bangladesh develop its cricket. Awful stuff.

Mohammed Aamer Is The Chosen One

I second Samir Chopra’s take on Mohammed Aamer, this 20-something wunderkind. It’s not just that he knows how to swing the ball both ways, and can do so at decent pace. (Exhibits A and B are those two deliveries post-Tea on Day 1 to dismiss S. Smith and M. Johnson.) But this guy is also really, really smart — Exhibit C is the delivery that got rid of M. Hussey on Day 3. Aamer delivered a scrambled-seam ball, but he did so, as Michael Holding said, almost like a spin bowler — the ball, rotating as if on leg spin, landed on the seam and bounced more, taking Hussey’s edge to the slip cordon.

Now, Chopra also says that if Pakistan cannot win from here — needing about 40 more runs with 7 wickets in hand — they might as well join with Bangladesh, for old time’s sake. Maybe — but I join a much older line of thought that has suggested that the perfect cricket team would combine Pakistan’s uncanny ability to produce great bowlers with India’s arrogant, thoroughly deserving and imperious batsmen (this Sri Lanka Test excepted). A fool’s dream, of course.

Bangladesh Team Once More Proves Itself Worthy Of Existence

Sure, it happens only once a year (or two), but the Bangladeshis have once again proven that they should not be taken lightly, least of all by England, previously known as vanquishers of the Australians.

Again, it’s just one game — and that too, an ODI one (the first in 21 outings against England to result in a victory, the Sky Sports statisticians tel us) — but it matters, not least because it proves wrong this little post from our friends at Cricket With Balls:

In other words, all England fans have to look forward to this month is three days of beating up a Bangladesh side who can’t even agree who their captain is supposed to be. I don’t know who arranges the international calendar, but whatever they are drinking, I want some.

No doubt, I’d prefer to watch England play Pakistan at this point, but what the hell: watching the Bangladeshis run around like mad after taking out Jimmy Anderson, only to watch a hobbling Ian Bell heroically descend on the field, and then to take out Jonathan Trott too — well, it’s fine cricket. England fans, feast on your reward.

Tamim Iqbal Progress Watch

No international Test side has a chance on tour without a solid opener. And Bangladesh have found one in Tamim Iqbal, whose average trajectory has started to shoot up this year. Seven of his ten highest scores have been made this year, and we’re only at the end of May. In 2008, when he made his debut, he averaged 24; in 2009, 35; in 2010, a whopping 60.

And he’s not even 22 years old yet. Damn him!

The Day The Game Died

Well, at least according to Patrick Kidd over at Line And Length:

A horrid innovation was unveiled at Lord’s yesterday. An hour into the day, the dulcet voice of Johnny Dennis, the longserving PA announcer, told us: “And now a Buxton’s drink break…”

It was a sad, sad moment in the history of this noble ground. It is a short journey from sponsoring drinks breaks to having Citi Moments of Success and DLF Maximums.

The Minnow Count In The Twenty20 Cup

Sure, none of the minnow teams — Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Ireland, Afghanistan — look like progressing, a la 2007, but they all did rather well, no?

Zimbabwe had two victories in the warm-up matches (which, even though they don’t count officially, still hold some importance). Bangladesh nearly had Australia on its knees at one point (96/6, I think), and it only lost to Pakistan by 21 runs. Meanwhile, Ireland could have avenged Michael Collins against England had it not been for some rain, and Afghanistan — look,  90/5 — even against those wacky South Africans — that’s something big in your second match in a global tournament.

The minnows have done exactly what they’re supposed to — they gave some amount of entertainment and suspense (even hope), and then politely caved. But next year, they’ll be back for more.

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.

Collingwood’s Golf Blunder

I see Reina, Cricket Minded and Nestaquin have all sounded off on Paul Collingwood’s gaffe:

“It won’t be easy to find a golf course in Bangladesh — if there is one, they’ll probably have wooden clubs — but if I can find a bit of grass somewhere, I’ll clear my mind by chipping balls into a net or putting along the hotel corridor.”

I’ll give Collingwood that touring the subcontinent — as a cricketer or a tourist — is not the easiest thing to do. The best, most honest account I’ve read from a Westerner came from Seth Stevenson in Slate.com (“Trying Really Hard To Like India,” Parts 1 and 2). Otherwise, most approach the place with an Orientalist perspective (the people, so spiritual! So exotic! So “friendly”), or with absolute contempt (Filthy! Smelly! Not enough baked beans and toast!)

Still, I’m always disturbed that this seems to be a one-way train, where Westerners offer their opinions about touring the developing world, but the Asians and West Indians don’t get the same privilege. When the English went on and on about the dangers of touring Pakistan — justified as it turned out — I was annoyed that they assumed touring England was that much safer:

Even England, which has been on relatively high alert since the 2005 attacks, is not immune to dangers. In 2006, the MI5 chief spoke of the range of threats his country faced:

Since [2005], the combined efforts of my Service, the police, SIS and GCHQ have thwarted a further five major conspiracies in the UK, saving many hundreds (possibly even thousands) of lives. Last month the Lord Chancellor said that there were a total of 99 defendants awaiting trial in 34 cases.

Recall the famous case of Srinavasa Ramanujan, the Indian village genius mathematician who was taken to Cambridge, but soon fell sick there, lost without his usual diet and habitat. I know the West has great roads, an occasionally balmy climate and excellent golf courses — but that doesn’t mean it’s always a walk in the park for us either, Paul.

South Africa’s Squabbles Make Me Happy

Because, for once, it’s not a South Asian country that can’t seem to get its cricket administration in order. (I know, I’m betraying some post-colonial inferiority here, but still.)

Actually, now that I think about it, which country hasn’t had a board squabble recently? England and Kevin Pietersen; West Indies and every West Indian; Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh…I hate to say this, because I think the BCCI is horribly greedy, incompetent and all-round awful (just saying), but it may just be a model of management. Incredible.

That Dravid Bouncer…

Quite brutal stuff, though it looks like Rahul Dravid fared better than poor Daniel Flynn. But bouncers are strange things, extremely violent but also the truest expression of the game. On the one hand, you have the sheer terror of the delivery. On the other, it’s clear that bowlers don’t mean to hurt, only intimidate or draw on the mistake of reflexes. Think of the many bowlers who run to the batsmen after they fall down in a heap.

The bouncer is the fine line between savagery and civilization, which cricket nicely negotiates with its norms about good sportsmanship and fair play (and, you know, its stricture that no one should kill anyone on the field). There’s a recognition of man’s violent nature, but also the prospect that it can be properly guided and channeled in modern society.

But I wonder: does the bowler owe anything to a batsman he’s hit? It’s always cheering to see a concerned bowler, but I also love hearing the crowd roar — as if watching a Roman gladiator match — when a batsman gets hit. (Though I also liked watching a Bangladeshi in the crowd break down in tears after Dravid retired hurt.) A hurt batsman is, usually, a batsman’s fault, not a bowler’s (which is why we allow bouncers in the first place; they’re meant to test a batsman’s skill. It’s fair play, but to a point — hence the infamy of the Bodyline series).

Didn’t we all thrill inside when Harmison cut Ponting and simply turned the other cheek (back to his run-up)?