IPL vs Bangladesh/England

15 03 2010

Lalit Modi must be loving the ICC and the ECB at the moment. The IPL launched with its usual razzmatazz and thunder last week, and whilst not quite grabbing the same amount of headlines as it has done over the past 2 years, has ensured that it is very firmly on the map. Competing with this behemoth of a competition for viewer numbers is the Bangladesh versus England test series. Small wonder that the march of 20/20 cricket continues when even the Compulsive Hooker, as ardent England cricket fans as there can be, have been relatively uninterested in the ongoing test match. It follows then that if we aren’t interested, then really there is only one competition that your average neutral cricket fan would be watching.

Realistically a test series involving Bangladesh or Pakistan was the only option for the ICC’s future tours program if the series was scheduled as the same time as the IPL. The Indian franchises for many reasons showed an aversion, mainly political, to signing Pakistani players and unfortunately the Bangladeshi’s simply aren’t good enough to excite the viewing public in India. Now it is important to note that we believe the more cricket Bangladesh play, the better they will become and this will only be a good thing for world cricket. Yet the timing of this series, coming as it does alongside the IPL, is unfortunate as it simply does not have enough of a competitive edge to be interesting to the average fan.

*********

For all that, the Compulsive Hooker has been almost totally unmoved by the IPL. Regular readers will know of our worries regarding the shorter form of the game and what it might mean for test cricket, yet this is not to say that we do not like 20/20 cricket. We do. We are interested to see how the English players go, with particular reference to Eoin Morgan, Michael Lumb and one or two others such as Owais Shah. We were also suitably astounded by Yusuf Pathan’s extraordinary display of hitting 2 nights ago, scoring a hundred from only 37 balls (and his team still lost). Shane Warne said that it was the greatest innings he had ever seen, which is some praise when you consider some of the gems players like Lara or Tendulkar have had to play against the Aussies over the last 2 decades.

As a whole however, we have come to realise that essentially the competition is simply another domestic cup and these days is not even unique on the types of players it attracts. Australia’s Big Bash competition and the English 20/20 cup are similar in that both attract international stars for their respective durations. (Virender Sehwag has just signed for Northamptonshire which is quite a coup for them and should raise interest levels in that part of the world massively when he plays). Once everyone else around the world realises this too too, cricket will (we hope) return to some sort of normality although irritating as Lalit Modi is, you have to admire him for making the IPL seem more important than almost everything else.

*********

Moving to Chittagong and England’s slow but steady progress in putting the Bangladeshi challenge to bed, we have been fairly underwhelmed by the fare on offer. It is true that England are not at full strength, and it is also true that Bangladesh are, well, Bangladesh. Yet being a fully paid up member of the ‘Bangladesh aren’t that bad, give them a chance’ camp we had hoped for more. We have laid a few thoughts out below, both bad and good (there has been some..):

Bad

Captaincy: The level of captaincy from both Cook and Shakib has been pretty desperate on occasions over the last few days beginning with Shakib’s decision to bowl first on a flat wicket. This was reinforced by some bizarre fields set and bowling changes although Cook, it must be said, was no better when he got his turn. Why, when you are 599 runs ahead you don’t have more than a couple of slips, or in Bangladesh’s second innings with a target of 500 plus you need 2 sweepers, I don’t know.

Shakib: Shakib Al Hasan is rated as one of the worlds leading all rounders, and judging by his stats you have to say rightly so. In our desire to see improvement, we hoped that Bangladesh had a true star on their hands, sadly though we have been disappointed by his performance. He appears to be a fairly innocuous looking, non turning spinner, more Paul Harris than Bishen Bedi which by itself is disappointing. His batting did show glimpses of talent but sadly he was not present long enough in either innings to really show it off. (To be fair to him he did get a poor decision second time round).

Imran Kayes: How does a man who averages less than 14 in test cricket after 11 tests, still get the opening berth? He looks like a walking wicket against the short ball despite all his recent successes in one day cricket.

Jonathan Trott: He is looking less and less like a test match number 3 batsman. Plus he is also incredibly irritating to watch.

Michael Carberry: Likely to retain his place but was not the fluent player reported from the England A tours of the last year or so. Seems also to have an ability to dive over the ball at cover…..

Good

Mushfiqur Rahim: The diminutive keeper has been in fine form with the bat and gloves all game. A fighting 79 in the first innings has been followed by a still unfinished 47 not out in the second. He also reached a 1000 runs in test cricket during this innings and is proving to be one of the potential gems of this team.

Tamim Iqbal: Far and away the classiest batsman Bangladesh possess, Iqbal provides a constant source of runs which when you are batting with the likes of Aftab Ahmed and Imran Kayes is more than crucial.

Final day tomorrow, our prediction is a win by 235 runs just after lunch with a sudden collapse in the Bangladeshi tail.

*********

One final thing. We overheard a particularly nauseating American man talking to another man of indeterminate nationality over the weekend. He was holding court on the brilliance of the IPL and how great it was that the Indians have revolutionised the game.

Fine so far.

It was when he started stridently declaiming that ‘the English have never known what they were doing’ and ‘didn’t understand how to make the game popular, 5 days? That’s a lifetime, no one wants to watch that’, that we started to itch.

Continuing and expanding on his theme he betrayed his lack of knowledge admitting he had been introduced to the game only a few days previously. When we gently tried to intersperse about the joys of test cricket, the twists and turns and the reasons why this form of cricket alone is a true test of a players skill; he brashly told us ‘of course you don’t understand, you’re English, what do you know’ that we wanted to punch him.

We didn’t of course, yet it did give us an extra and irrational reason to dislike the IPL. So for that – we thank him!

Advertisements

Actions

Information

One response

15 03 2010
James Parrett

Start blogging about the dumb yanks you’ve lamped recently, Brad. That would be compulsive reading! That sort of thing really riles me. You should have head butted both of them.

Think you should put Colly in the good column too coz he’s a legend.

I love cricket, but there really is too much being played out there. When will the powers that be realize this? IPL is attractive at the moment because it brings together the superstars of the game. Give it 5 years of the top players coining it and I bet it will dribble away into obscurity as there won’t be superstar cricketers appearing, just the odd slogger.

Boo IPL. Boo!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: