A Word On Bangladesh and New Zealand

18 10 2010

Bangladesh

A quick word in praise of Bangladesh once more who have won the fifth and final one day international to take the series 4-0 (one match was rained off). This result is possibly one of the most unexpected score lines of the past decade or more and is notable, not only for the consistency of performance by the Tigers, but also the attitude with which they have played.

Being an English cricket fan we have seen rather a lot of Bangladesh over the past eight months or so. First of all there was the test and ODI series in Bangladesh itself; this was then followed by an immediate repeat in the early Summer, this time in England, only to then have the ODI leg repeated for the third time in July. During this time the Bangladeshi’s were notable, not only for the regularity of their defeats, but also for the manner in which they came. With one or two notable exceptions (Tamim Iqbal for example) they were a quiet, non-threatening presence whose body language denoted a passiveness which, if not submissive exactly, hardly belied a confidence that they could win. Watching yesterdays final ODI yesterday it was notable that this was entirely changed and is a testimony to what a couple of wins can do for a team. They were vibrant, lively, noisy and, above all, a confident side who knew they could win and were trying to do so rather than simply avoid defeat.

The key for Bangladesh now is to maintain this level of progress and aim to make it out of the group stages of the world cup in February next year. With no matches scheduled other than a couple of pre tournament warm ups between now and then, it would not be a surprise if another series somewhere is arranged in interim in an attempt to build on this success.

Interestingly, Bangladeshi coach Jamie Siddons, whose normal repose when watching his charges play appears to be one of a man liable to throttle the nearest Bangladeshi player for some frustratingly avoidable misdemeanour, still looked exactly the same. He did however crack a smile at the end and we hope that his stress levels can return to more normal amounts as, if one man deserves a holiday, judging by his normal facial expressions it would be him.

New Zealand

As for New Zealand they simply looked like they wanted to be anywhere else in the world. New Zealand are a team who will always struggle to dine at the top table of world cricket thanks to the combined forces of a small population and an all encompassing passion for rugby but really, even despite these factors, this result was a huge surprise.

Many Kiwi’s and cricket followers around the world are suggesting that this is one of the poorest New Zealand sides ever – but to us this is missing the point somewhat (apart from not being entirely true anyway). With the proven fire power of McCullum; the class of Daniel Vettori and Ross Taylor; the workmanlike abilities of Kyle Mills and Grant Elliot; the potential of Jesse Ryder and Kane Williamson – there should have been more than enough in the tank to dispose of what still remains an essentially poor to average Bangladesh side. Yet through a mixture of irresponsible batting from the established stars plus being out bowled by the Tigers’ collection of slow left armers they managed to lose. On the latter they really deserve to be castigated as bowlers like Abdul Razzaq and Naeem Islam should never out bowl anyone – let alone someone universally known as the best slow left armer around, Daniel Vettori.

New Zealand go to India next month and, such was their performance in Bangladesh, we would be surprised if they managed to avoid a white wash in all formats. Much like an Australian however, Kiwis often fare well in adversity or under pressure and so we are hoping that this upcoming battle will be more closely fought as they will be attempting to prove themselves to the cricketing world. As a friend of the Compulsive Hooker’s from New Zealand suggested the other day, it is imperative that they do as, future tours program or no, the top countries will be less willing to host the Black Caps in the future due to a lack of interest from the paying public. With the best will in the world, everything comes down to money in the end and, if New Zealand aren’t an enticing prospect from a spectators point of view, they won’t be invited to tour.

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