We all know the NCL is a very weak litmus test for the preparedness of our cricketers. However, recently players such as Sunny and to a lesser extent Nazimuddin have looked somewhat decent in the limited contexts we've see them thus far. That raises hopes for up and comers like Anamul Bijoy, Asif, Saqlain Sajib, Arafat Sunny, Enamul Haque Jr who've all done well in the NCL consistently.
We all know how strong Indian domestic cricket is, allegedly. They have plenty of 50+ average batsmen who will never get a navy blue cap...we have none. But the recent India A team tour to WI, proves - or rather, seems to suggest - that there is more lurking beneath the obvious.
Ranji Trophy sides are blessed to have at least a couple double centurions every season. Our entire NCL saw just a single double ton in the whole of the year (Farhad Hossain's 216). Guys like Rohit Sharma, Pujara, and Mukhund all sport career FC averages far
above 50. We're not talking 50.01 or even 52, but take a look at Rohit who averages damn near 60. And if that is not enough, Tiwary and Rahane average well into the 60s. In fact, Rahane is or at least was on cricinfo's list of highest first class averages of all time.
Now conditions in the WI are not very dissimilar to those in the subcontinent. The temperatures are almost identical, humidity is similar, even hours of daylight per day is similar due to the lattitude. Pitches start turning later on, and most wickets don't offer much bounce in both countries. Obviously the wickets were not as batsman friendly in WI, but conditions, that oft-repeated boogey-man are almost identical between the Caribbean and the Subcontinent.
However, during the a 3 match series, only Cheteshwar Pujara emerged with his reputation intact. He averaged just over 50, only a few runs less than his career average. Tiwary (30.33) was the only specialist batsman who averaged above 30. Rohit Sharma averaged a very mediocre 24, and the Bradman of the Ranji, Rahane, had a six innings series aggregate
(62) that is less than his first class average (63.94) and well below his 68+ average coming into the series. Mukhun, who's a veteran of Test cricket, had a single digit average (7.66).
In contrast, our tour to WI last year, was far closer. Unlike the Indians who failed to cross 277...Bangladesh A racked up a score of 422 and the first innings lead. Granted we lost the series 1-0, and India faced a stronger and slightly more experienced side, but we were only a single wicket away from a 0-0 series draw. Nasir (61), Mominul (49), and Farhad Reza (41) all averaged over 40 with the bat.
None of this means a whole lot, since its an isolated tour, where any number of things can cloud the comparison. However, it does raise interesting questions, and proves that Bangladesh's development, as slow and corrupt as it is, is still happening. But the lesson to be learned is, lets not allow the mire of our system to cause us to discredit every player it produces simply based on their nationality.