Sure fan's expectations have no limits. But with a bit touch of logic and reality, I think, we can try to define something out of the limitless expectation in the hope of a better understanding of where we stand now.
The ICC already formulated a target, perhaps the bottom line for Bangladesh. In a speech on November last year at Dhaka, the ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed commented in the presence of ICC president Ehsan Mani,
"If they win a test or a one-day series over the next two years, we'll be fairly satisfied."
That comment alone defines our bottom line. So, by the end of year 2005, we must either
1. Win at least one test match, or
2. Win at least one ODI series (not just a match)
Of course, our target is higher than just that. But how high? More importantly, are we making enough progress to make the even ground?
In many sense, Dav Whatmore's arrival heralded a new beginning for our cricket. Having already experienced the all-time highs and lows, he brought in a renewed hope. Unprecedented enthusiasm and hope reached new height as the ICC opened both its eye and pocket for us. High profile officials, coaches, support staffs along with drastic restructuring within the BCB and its branches, not to mention the ICC and ACC's assistance, sharply defined the inception of a new meaning.
More than a year later, we sit here to check and balance our hope, desperately hoping for hopes. Or is it that hapless?
Sure, there are some visible achievements in the form of win, draw and respectable showings. But we still fight the same loosing battle, more often than not against the big guys.
You may ask, what is the improvement then? Nothing much to cheer about, many would answer with a grim face.
Perhaps it is not too wild for the fans to ask for magic. But here in banglacricket, the fans show remarkable restrain in terms of what to ask from the beleaguered team. They seem fairly satisfied with some respectable performance. But the question, nonetheless, remains, show me the progress.
The statistics do show some progress one way or another. The bowling department being one such visible area. Although, the total team scores show slight improvement, the scare of an upper order collapse remains the norm. The lower order batting is another silver lining for the tigers. In fact, that is the only area where the improvement meets and even exceeds the expectation at times, for the fans to take the lone solace.
For stats, please take a look at other threads and cricinfo.
Cricinfo Yearly Stats For Test Matches
Cricinfo Yearly Stats For ODI Matches
Bring back Minhazul Abedin for champions trophy
Post Asia Cup Performance Average
Increase/Decrease of Batsman's Batting AVG in ODIs
The Statistical Gap.... 185 against 234. The true gap is possibly 60 runs
It is true that our batsmen, in general, virtually rose from ashes in the absence of a solid cricketing culture. Without much academic help, they managed to reach the national level by their sheer talent, hard work, domestic performance and determination. Uncorrected technical flaws thus remain in their blood and gaps are readily apparent in the basics.
The top class opponents rarely struggle to exploit those weaknesses. Temporal short pitch bowling from England, slower deliveries from both Zimbabwe and West Indies speak volumes.
While pacers injury is the rule, we suffered the most simply because we do not have the replacements. We still mourn for the loss of services from Sharif, Mashrafe and Talha. It is not to say that one player would turn the table always, but who doesn't know, one player does make all the difference in the world of cricket? How could we forget the likes of Inzamam, Flintoff, Streak and Sarwan taking the game away from us slowly but surely?
Probably the best way to define progress, if any, is by not looking at the more visible "scorecards" but by evaluating the "reserve", which is even more complex than the traditional stats.
Let's try to understand what the reserve means. With a failing heart, a person may be able to walk around or even manage to do minor household works. Since the functional reserve of his heart is too limited to meet the rigors, running would be a hard ask. On the other hand, a healthy person enjoys the luxury of crawling, walking and running at will. A healthy state can not be achieved without restoring the depleted reserve.
Just before the arrival of Whatmore, we plummeted to an all-time low with an empty reserve. He identified the situation correctly and started at once to rebuild the reserve, player by player, putting aside the more visible scorecards.
Statistics may not always show the real state of the reserve unless we take a closer look at the reserve itself. Unfortunately, this isn't easy either.
We have to take the stats and scorecards in the equation to define the reserve in a meaningful way. But unlike the traditional total score stats which reflect the performance better with a solid reserve, we need to customize the stats to expose that reserve. A healthy reserve lays the foundation for a better and consistent fights from the team.
Instead of asking for how high we can climb, I think, how long we can stay up before falling down would give a better picture of our progress. Once we manage to stay up longer and longer, the next step of climbing higher ups would be a breeze.
- How many times we scored below 150 runs in ODI as opposed to crossing it?
- How many times we scored below 200 runs in one Test innings as opposed to crossing it?
- What are the average number of overs we manage to stay at the crease in both ODI and Test?
- How many times we were not all out in ODI?
- What the average number of wicket we loose at the 45th over and 50th over in ODI?
- How many times we managed to take 10 wickets both in ODI and Test?
Yearly stats with comparative studies of the above filters may reflect the strength of our reserve. But, I'm neither a statistician nor an expert in cricket. My customization may thus be guilty of being incomplete and erroneous. Perhaps you could extend a hand?
At this time, I'd definitely expect a rising reserve. Anything less would be devastating.