Highs and Lows

21 05 2010

Bangladesh Again

After the high comes the low.

England’s Summer international campaign kicks off next week with the first of two test matches against Bangladesh. Normally the Compulsive Hooker would be applauding the return of test matches to the international agenda after the recent glut of 20/20 competitions, however we are struggling to get excited about the competition offered by Bangladesh. This feeling, heightened by England’s recent world cup success, is probably a little harsh on this team of enthusiastic, but limited cricketers but is there nevertheless. One feels that the ECB have potentially missed a trick by not having a more enticing prospect for the cricketing public, fired by the fervour of England’s recent success, although truth be told, they can hardly be blamed for not planning for an England win in the West Indies.

These early season test matches, which over the past 10 years have been getting earlier and earlier each year, rarely serve up more than mediocre fare. Last year we had a West Indies side folding limply and quickly and led by a captain in Chris Gayle who had only flown in a couple of days prior to the first test match. This year with Bangladesh, the paying public are promised a team of whom only an handful will have experience of English early season conditions.

Bangladesh were actually the ‘other’ team of the famous Summer of 2005, providing England with some low key practice before the real business of the Ashes began. In that two test series managed innings totals of 108, 159, 104 and 316 whilst England in comparison racked up a combined total of 975 runs for the loss of only 6 wickets. They won both games by an innings of course.

Players such as Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohamed Ashraful both played in that series, which is extraordinary considering that they are still only 22 and 26 respectively. Rahim is showing signs of kicking on and developing as a player, although sad to say Ashraful remains as maddeningly inconsistent as ever. With Shadahat Hossain also revisiting these shores, hopefully there will be a core of experience that Bangladesh can call on to provide more of a backbone this time round. So far on the tour Bangladesh have lost to Essex and are likely to lose to the England Lions side this morning indicating that if they do come away with anything other than a 2-0 test defeat they will have done well. Indeed, if they manage to avoid innings losses, we would go so far as to say that is an achievement in its own right.


Captaincy Issues

There have been repeated articles in the media over recent days questioning Andrew Strauss’ role in the England set up. Mercifully, few have gone as far as to question his test captaincy position (although it has been mentioned), but most are suggesting that perhaps his days in the ODI side are numbered.

We cannot help but marvel at the shortness of people’s memories. Last year, and indeed in South Africa in January of this year, Strauss was being applauded for the way in which he had picked up the reigns from Pietersen, forged a deep understanding with Andy Flower and above all delivered results. It is also worth remembering that Strauss was one of the few England batsman to perform reasonably well in ODI cricket during 2009, meaning that talk of his removal from this format is hasty in the extreme.

Our proposed top 6 for the ODI series against Bangladesh would be as follows: Strauss, Kieswetter, KP, Collingwood, Morgan, Wright. If Lumb is selected then perhaps he should slot in at 6, forcing Wright down one place. Lumb after all can biff with the best of them so it shouldn’t matter where he comes in.




2 responses

22 05 2010

I always feel sorry for Bangladesh. They are the ninth best side in the world, no small achievement, but because of cricket’s structure they 1) never play sides below them, and lose almost every game; 2) are constantly derided as “uncompetitive” when they lose to sides that are far too good for them, as if their very presence is a threat to cricket.

Bangladesh are to cricket what a team like Belarus is to football. They beat the teams below them, they mostly lose to the teams above them. Against the teams well above them (like England), they lose badly, but playing them is part and parcel of the sport. Unfortunately cricket has neither a world championship nor qualifiers, so instead of being a minor hurdle in the early stages, the games are meaningless wastes of time.

22 05 2010

Agreed Russ, although I do believe they are improving slowly and actually boast a couple of genuinely good players. What they really lack is seamers as without a couple of good opening bowlers, they are never going to trouble anyone. The flat pitches they play on don’t help them much in this regard – who’d want to be a seamer in those conditions!

They might prove useful as a way of bringing Eoin Morgan into the side as England are resting Collingwood and Broad.

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