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  #1  
Old May 11, 2004, 06:19 AM
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reverse_swing reverse_swing is offline
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Default Pride and humility in the Caribbean

Andrew Miller

May 11, 2004

For the time being at least, West Indies' brittle pride has been restored. Brian Lara's world record brought an uplifting closure to a depressing Test series against England, and was followed by an impressive display from a youthful one-day team. But woe betide any player who thinks their winter's work is done. Because the ultimate indignity could be lurking just around the corner.

The Bangladeshis have arrived for their inaugural tour of the Caribbean, and if there's one team that West Indies could do without facing at the moment, it's the side with absolutely nothing to lose. The first of three one-day matches starts on Saturday; the second of two Tests finishes three weeks later. It's a blink-and-you-miss-it stopover, but if anything should go wrong, the world will be wide-eyed in its condemnation.
On the face of it, a West Indian defeat is an absurd notion - Lara's majesty alone could put the series out of reach, while Tino Best and Fidel Edwards are fully equipped to expose Bangladesh's notorious shortcomings against high-quality pace bowling, just as Jermaine Lawson did the last time the teams met - his second-innings figures of 6 for 3 at Dhaka in December 2002 sealed a West Indian victory by an innings and 310 runs: the heaviest and most humiliating of Bangladesh's 26 Test defeats in 28 matches.

But, as England occasionally demonstrated on their pre-Christmas trip to Bangladesh, the fear of failure can be paralysing. "We are not far away from our first Test win," said Habibul Bashar, Bangladesh's captain, as the squad stopped over in Jamaica en route for St Vincent, and the facts back him up. They came within one wicket of victory over Pakistan in Multan last September; held the upper hand for much of the inaugural Test against England in October and, under the astute guidance of Dav Whatmore, are developing a head for heights to complement their undoubted enthusiasm for the game.

Lara, for one, is taking nothing for granted. "I'm not going to write off Bangladesh," he said recently. "The way we're playing right now you can't write off anybody at all." His caution is utterly justified. According to the latest ICC Test rankings, West Indies are cut adrift from the rest of the established Test nations - a 14-point margin separates them from Sri Lanka in seventh place, who in turn are just 11 points behind England in third spot. With Zimbabwean cricket in ruins, this series has suddenly become the battle of the basement.

Not that West Indies would acknowledge that fact. Their capitulation against England was characterised by complacency - from the anonymity of their middle-order batsmen (Lara included), to the partying in the stands that followed their first-Test hammering in Jamaica. Bangladesh, on the other hand, are approaching the series from an entirely opposite perspective. Their expectations are nil, and yet their confidence somehow remains sky-high.

That mysterious blend of pride and humility is all down to Whatmore. In the ten months since he took charge of Bangladesh cricket, he has been at pains to stress how little victory or defeat matters to him. But all of a sudden, with a one-day victory against a [pre-boycott] Zimbabwe to lift the spirits, he is daring to push the envelope just that little bit further. "On their day," he told a press conference in the Caribbean, "Bangladesh are capable of upsetting any side in world cricket."

It was an uncharacteristically bullish statement, but he was doubtless aware that the reverse is equally true. On their day, West Indies are capable of losing to any side in world cricket, and what is more, they know it as well.

It promises to be a nervy series for Caribbean supporters. West Indies have hardly paused for breath since arriving in Southern Africa in November, while Bangladesh are refreshed after a lengthy winter break and a low-key trip to Zimbabwe. What is more, their recent habit in Test cricket (the strongest of their suits) is to compete eagerly for three days before fading away on the fourth and fifth, so the probability of lengthy rain breaks can only help to channel their focus over the full distance.

West Indies should still prevail, however, and by some distance. Man for man, they are simply too powerful, and the momentum they have gained in the past few weeks must surely count for something. But after their schizophrenic efforts against England, they do not dare take anything for granted any more.

Wisden Cricinfo Ltd


[Edited on 11-5-2004 by reverse_swing]
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  #2  
Old May 11, 2004, 06:50 AM
WI2debone WI2debone is offline
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Quote:
Lara: ...."I'm not going to write off Bangladesh," he said recently. "The way we're playing right now you can't write off anybody at all."
My sentiments exactly!!!!!!!!
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  #3  
Old May 11, 2004, 08:11 AM
oracle oracle is offline
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Quote:
That mysterious blend of pride and humility is all down to Whatmore
Touching.
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  #4  
Old May 11, 2004, 09:10 AM
chinaman chinaman is offline
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Quote:
.. ultimate indignity could be lurking just around the corner.
"ultimate indignity"? Just a game, right? Consider this, WI loses the series to Bangladesh only to win their next two/three series. Hearbreaking yes, indignity never.
Quote:
Bangladesh's notorious shortcomings against high-quality pace bowling
Aussie and Pak tours point to the exact opposite. However we had trouble controlling our instinct to play a certain variety of pace bowling specially during the England series, which I think has been cured since.
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Old May 11, 2004, 09:36 AM
Arnab Arnab is offline
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Bangladeshi batsmen do have problems against high-quality pacers. But they have withered a lot of fast bowling at recent times, too. The BD A tour of Pak should come in handy for some players.
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Old May 11, 2004, 09:48 AM
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Ahmed_B Ahmed_B is offline
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Default Nice Article

ya.. one real good thing our batsmen have learnt in the past few monthes is how to 'leave' a good delivery, specially the ones outside the offstamp...
i suppose "A good leave is really as important as a good shot!"

Genuin coment:
"Their expectations are nil, and yet their confidence somehow remains sky-high."
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  #7  
Old May 11, 2004, 11:33 AM
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Beamer Beamer is offline
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The new young WI pacers have control issues. Pace without control don't amount too much. The English pacers have real good discipline and it frustrated our batsmen to the point that they became careless and impatient. If we are disciplined in our batting, their bowlers can be dealt with. It is us who can control that outcome.
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  #8  
Old May 11, 2004, 11:52 AM
WI2debone WI2debone is offline
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Beamer that control thing with our bowlers is a valid point ..... they're young and learning!!! Usually the bad deliveries occur early in their spells .... when they get in they can be quite dangerous .... especially with the swinging deliveries of Best and the sheer pace of Edwards!!!!
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