Tamim’s Brilliance & West Indian Apathy

31 05 2010

Brilliant Tamim

Bangladesh are currently the Jekyll and Hyde of world cricket. Poor on the first day of this test match, they fought back strongly on the second, only to give it all away on a rain affected third day. Yesterday, the fourth day, they started poorly with Shadahat Hossain playing some extraordinary strokes, before batting so well for the remainder of the day that there is a realistic possibility of a draw – or, shock horror, even conceivably a win! On the other hand, if this pattern is to be continued, we can expect Bangladesh all out before lunch and with England needing to knock off only 150 to win.

Either way, this test has been another kick in the teeth for those, including ourselves, that have been criticising Bangladesh’s full test status. As we wrote before the recent away series, we always used to be in the ‘Bangladesh-aren’t-that-bad-really’ camp although their subsequent performances shook the foundations of these beliefs. This test has reinvigorated that faith, particularly in their batting, and we hope that they continue to make England fight all the way.

Enormous praise must go to Tamim Iqbal, of course, who is proving to the world that he is a serious batsman and one of the most exciting players to watch around. There are undoubtedly some extraordinary heaves and rushes of blood mixed in with the exquisite but somehow this makes him all the more compelling to watch. Remember this man carries the hopes of a young cricketing nation almost entirely by himself, was batting at the home of cricket and is still only 21 years of age. With another 5 years of development under his belt and with Bangladesh hopefully improving during that entire time – the question is, how good can he become?

Imrul Kayes, who prior to this game has come in for some serious opprobrium from the Compulsive Hooker, belied his test average of 13 to score an excellent 75, although it must be said that the vacant third man boundary helped him considerably. Kayes looks like he still has a major problem with the short ball and will have to resolve this for him to truly successful in the future, yet he showed a previously unsuspected steel and that is an excellent thing.

Similarly Siddique, who despite appearing to be a batsman of the same class as Kayes, has somehow found a way to score runs. Indeed in his last 5 innings against England he has scored 2 fifties, 1 hundred and two thirties which is a great effort. Still 66 not out overnight he needs to build further and move to what would only be his second hundred in test cricket. Siddique is another one who is consistently troubled by short pitched bowling at his ribs, but it is beginning to look like he is finding a way to deal with it. 75% of balls delivered to him by England’s bowlers landed on a short length, yet he is still there holding things together. If he can emulate, for example, someone like Steve Waugh who early on had issues against quality short pitched bowling, and indeed never looked comfortable against it, but found ways to deal with it then that is all Bangladesh can ask. (We are not expecting him to average 50 though, don’t worry, a solid 35-40 would probably do the trick for them!)

If Siddique can push on this morning, and especially considering that, Tamim Iqbal excepted, the Bangladeshi’s best batsman are either in (Shakib) or still to come (Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah), they have an excellent chance of drawing this game.

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Bresnan Bashing

England’s bowling was roundly criticised by the commentators on TV yesterday, most of them going down the route that it was England’s failings that allowed Bangladesh to bat so well, rather than the alternate, in our view, reality. It is true that Graeme Swann had one of his less good days, rarely beating the bat and like the others succumbing to Tamim’s outrageous stroke play, yet Finn and Anderson didn’t do to badly. There was probably an excess of short pitched bowling and not a great deal of swing around, yet this happens sometimes and the fact of the matter was that Bangladesh were simply good enough to take advantage.

Bresnan on the other hand continues to look nothing more than a county trundler and we are hopeful that he will be dropped for Broad in the next game rather than Finn. Honest, hard working, willing and fatally limited there is no place for him in the Compulsive Hooker’s test XI!

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Do West Indies Care?

Following the end of the day, and in a happy quirk of TV programming, we were able to watch the West Indies be ruthlessly dismantled by South Africa for the fourth match in a row. The West Indies actually batted quite well notching up 303 on their fifty overs, yet an extraordinary display of touch batting by Hashim Amla ensured that the South African’s got home.

What was so remarkable about the game though was the seeming lack of caring by the West Indies team. There are one or two players in this team who it is difficult to criticise, Shiv Chanderpaul for one, yet most of the rest appeared to have given up early in the South African innings whilst Kallis and Amla were putting on their hundred partnership together. There is something in their body language that looks resigned to their fate as losers almost from the start and this needs to be eradicated immediately. The West Indies record of recent times is almost as bad as Bangladesh’s and in a region where cricket is already beginning to struggle for coverage and fans in the up and coming generations, this apathy could be deadly for the fate of the game. If the national team doesn’t care – who does?

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2 responses

31 05 2010
The Nurdler

> We can expect Bangladesh all out before lunch and with England needing to knock off only 150 to win.

You must be pleased with that prediction 😀

1 06 2010
Bradders

Haha. Yes well its always nice to get one right – I make enough predictions that surely one now again comes off….

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