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View Full Version : Facts and Conjectures, Day 2 of Test 2 V. SA


Sohel
March 1, 2008, 11:43 AM
Well, well, well …

My favorite khala, like a second mother really, is moving to Northern California and I went to spend some time with her before she got on the plane tonight. An avid cricket fan and by far the best fusion cook in the family, her presence will be deeply missed by all of our very large family and not in the least for her exquisite food. I feel a part of me moving away and we’re already counting the days until she returns for a holiday or two.

Then I drove back and logged on to BC. What I found was not at all surprising given what happened in the test match. Looks like it’s another rerun of “together we stand, divided we fall” whenever our high expectations go to soup, no matter how we happen to fall. Today was no exception. Once again BC is flooded with the familiar blame-gaming and scapegoating, as if such negative venting will somehow ‘restart’ our long awaited first innings before we start the second, probably shortly after lunch. All of this ultimately ajaira unpleasantness is really getting old to this particular member.

XYZ for ABC, shoulda this coulda that ... been there, done that and look ! We are EXACTLY where should be. Instabilty due to a myopic national obsession with stop-gap measures and band-aid solutions DO NOT promote anything good in cricket simply because they never have.

I don’t think such dark desires to feel better by lashing out unreasonably will make Dale Steyn bowl like MaMu tomorrow morning, or somehow mitigate his ability to whatever he wants under all conditions, especially against our young batsmen still years away from being as experienced, seasoned and old as the top performers of test cricket. They also have the benefit of the type of quality domestic cricket to prepare them we simply don’t at this point. Heck, we don’t even play enough A-team cricket to try and bridge that obvious gap before goading a bunch of schoolboys into the highest level.

Guys like Michael Clarke and yes Dale Steyn are rare exceptions to what I’m taking about and we just don’t have cricketers at that level, period. Think ‘application’ not ‘talent’. Talent without application is a toothless shark forced into vegetarianism and sucking smoothies out of a straw.

There is no real alternative to patience for us Tiger fans, no matter how far we’re willing to stretch our wishful thinking and wallow in delusions of grandeur. Just look at the real numbers without bringing the depleted Zimbabwe into the picture and get a reality check. That alone ought to sober us up a little and adjust our expectations accordingly.

Here’s what I saw.

1) Shahadat Hossain, without his captain’s help this time, single-handedly ended South African possibilities of scoring 1000 runs, and break more records. The captain continued his homage to HaBa-style brain-dead captaincy, and his almost kobi-kobi bhab made me think he must be in love.

2) The collective prayers of millions were answered as Mohammad Rafiq got his 100th test wicket. I for one couldn’t hold back my tears. A fellow Dhakaiya from the humbler side of the tracks, this forever young-at-heart fighter overcame remarkable obstacles throughout his life and career and had the last laugh.

3) Dale Steyn has it all. He is intelligent, quick, can swing the ball both ways and then some, and generate vicious movement and bounce under any conditions, including the much talked about Chittagonian one. He was at his very best today and forced the issue on our batsmen, exposing the qualitative difference between their cricket and ours. By the way, he picked up his 100th wicket also in just 20 test matches, and there’s a lot more where that classic spell of fatafati pace bowling came from. Just watch him tomorrow morning and rediscover why you love cricket so much. It is indeed a privilege to watch one of the all-time greats at the top of his game so early in his career.

Maybe Hayden, Ponting and Sangakkara could have handled him better than Tamim, BiZu and Ashraful, but please let them grow up to be as old before getting all worked-up and joining the lynch-mob. And I’m not taking their superior domestic cricket which prepares them better for the highest level into account at all.

Sadly, I’ll be on call tomorrow and will probably miss some of his exploits live, but thank GOD for Neo Sports reruns later on.

4) Hindsight is always 20/20 and utterly pointless until the next opportunity presents itself to show what we’ve learned.

Should Ash have checked his overblown ego at the gate and try to ‘protect’ himself against a buck-wildin’ Steyn? Yes, he could have sent Razzak in before himself.

Would Razzak have gotten softened up and set up just the way our openers did? Please place your bets wisely.

Is there more to come during the first session tomorrow? Probably.

Does being comprehensively out-classed like this offer anything other than a learning experience for young men who must learn on the job? I think not.

Therefore, do we really have an alternative to thinking reasonably and biting the bullet as they learn? Please enlighten me if you think we do.

Oh, reading a little before lynching the "idiot of the day" WILL mitigate some of the eventual, perhaps inevitable embarrassment. I can't even think about some of my own bad poerty without blushing nowadays.

Let’s see how they do in the second innings after the first comes to a crashing end, shall we? … :)

Just saying it like I saw it folks, NO OFFENSE INTENDED !