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It still hurts. A few days have passed but the pain lingers. It is not so much the repeated defeats but the manner in which they were inflicted. It seems the players almost do not care. We see the wrong attitude but are given the same old platitude. We got tired of Bashar's post match comments. I am sure even he found it embarrassing. Have you noticed how fast Ashraful is learning on the job. "Yes, we will learn from our mistakes." I have already heard it three times.

Light at the end of the tunnel? The bulb needs changing!

Published: 3rd August, 2007

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It still hurts. A few days have passed but the pain lingers. It is not so much the repeated defeats but the manner in which they were inflicted. It seems the players almost do not care. We see the wrong attitude but are given the same old platitude. We got tired of Bashar's post match comments. I am sure even he found it embarrassing. Have you noticed how fast Ashraful is learning on the job. "Yes, we will learn from our mistakes." I have already heard it three times.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel ? Well, the bulb needs to be changed. Whether the bulb is the metaphor for our players or selectors I do not know. Possibly both.

In this state of despair, I have done some little research. Despite, all these platitudes, hardly any evidence exists of any sustained improvement however meagre. Dav Whatmore may have brought some discipline in one day bowling. This is what the mark sheet says after four years ! I have come up with a statistic which I have called the Imbalance Index. It could also be termed the Domination Index. It is correlated to a side's domination or the lack of it. It is simply the ratio of a team's batting average over its bowling average. Bangladesh's overall Imbalance Index over 49 tests is 0.38

Tests
Won
Lost
Drawn
Imbalance Index
HS
LS
HC
LC
Bat Ave
Bowl Ave
49 1 43 5 0.38 488 62 610 154 20.60 53.70

As will be seen later, the recent Sri Lanka series was the second worst performance by Bangladesh in any series where two or more tests were played. Since the index measures the worth of each wicket, it truly reflects the balance of power. So the true dominance exerted by Sri Lanka, for example, scoring 500 in one innings but also losing only 4 wickets in the process is also taken into account. The index of the other test playing countries' in this decade [2000's] are as follows:

Tests
Won
Lost
Drawn
Imbalance Index
HS
LS
HC
LC
Bat Ave
Bowl Ave
Aus 85 64 10 11 1.60 735 93 705 53 43.7 27.3
SL 74 34 25 15 1.25 756 73 600 62 35.4 28.4
SA 82 38 25 19 1.18 682 84 756 54 37.4 31.8
Ind 75 29 22 24 1.06 705 99 679 84 36.7 34.7
Pak 69 29 25 15 1.05 679 53 675 73 34.8 33.1
Eng 97 45 29 23 1.04 617 79 751 47 34.7 33.3
NZ 56 18 20 18 0.98 630 73 643 59 32.9 33.6
WI 86 15 48 23 0.80 751 47 658 63 29.7 37.3
Zim 44 5 30 9 0.62 563 54 735 107 26.5 42.9

As expected, Australia is on top of the pile. Each Australian wicket on average scores 60% more runs than their opponents. A staggering statistic. Sri Lanka's position is slightly inflated by playing Bangladesh more often than any other country. Of the 49 tests Bangladesh have played, 10 were against Sri Lanka. Their record against Zimbabwe is also 100%.

So what is Bangladesh's current position relative to its score in the last six years? As can be seen from the next table, Bangladesh dominated only one series, against Zimbabwe, when the team won the series 1 - 0. Great rearguard batting by Javed Omar and Nafis Iqbal saved the second test. A rare instance of Bangladesh eeking out a draw. It was effectively a third string Zimbabwe though. The series against Pakistan in Pakistan in 2003, when we came close to a win in Multan is the closest series Bangladesh actually contested barring the Zimbabwe home series in 2004/05. In fact, it was last year against Sri Lanka and who can forget Australia [ in one test only ] that Bangladesh were half as good as their opponents. Also against England at home in 2003.

It was indeed against England in 2005 that the biggest drubbing was received. England only lost six wickets in amassing those runs. No wonder each English wicket were worth nine times more than a Bangladesh wicket notwithstanding Aftab's brilliant 82 not out and a characteristic 71 from Omar at Chester-le-Street. Each English wicket cost a monumental 162 runs. The II equals just 0.11

Year
Against
In
Tests
Won BD
Lost BD
Drawn
Imbalance Index
HS
LS
HC
LC
Bat Ave
Bowl Ave
2000/01 Ind BD 1 0 1 0 0.55 400 91 429 429 24.50 44.80 H
2000/01 Zim Zim 2 0 2 0 0.52 266 168 457 457 24.20 46.50 H
2001/02 Pak Pak 1 0 1 0 0.08 148 134 546 - 14.10 182.00 L
2001/02 SL SL 1 0 1 0 0.19 328 90 555 - 20.90 111.00 L
2001/02 Zim BD 2 0 1 1 0.46 301 107 542 431 23.70 51.70 H
2001/02 NZ NZ 2 0 2 0 0.31 205 108 365 - 14.50 47.00 L
2001/02 Pak BD 2 0 2 0 0.29 160 148 490 - 15.20 53.00 L
2002 SL SL 2 0 2 0 0.31 184 161 541 373 17.30 56.00 L
2002/03 SA SA 2 0 2 0 0.17 252 107 529 - 18.60 112.30 L
2002/03 WI BD 2 0 2 0 0.39 212 87 536 296 15.80 41.00 H
2003 SA BD 2 0 2 0 0.27 237 102 470 330 18.00 66.60 L
2003 Aus Aus 2 0 2 0 0.21 295 97 556 - 18.30 87.50 L
2003 Pak Pak 3 0 3 0 0.71 361 96 346 175 24.20 33.90 H
2003/04 Eng BD 2 0 2 0 0.50 255 138 326 295 19.10 38.50 H
2003/04 Zim Zim 2 0 1 1 0.50 331 168 441 441 22.20 44.60 H
2004 WI WI 2 0 1 1 0.40 416 176 559 352 29.40 73.10 H
2004/05 NZ BD 2 0 2 0 0.31 262 126 545 402 18.60 59.10 L
2004/05 Ind BD 2 0 2 0 0.39 333 124 540 526 21.00 53.30 H
2004/05 Zim BD 2 1 0 1 1.33 488 211 312 154 34.90 26.20 H
2005 Eng Eng 2 0 2 0 0.11 316 104 528 - 17.10 162.50 L
2005/06 SL SL 2 0 2 0 0.36 197 86 457 - 16.50 45.90 L
2005/06 SL BD 2 0 2 0 0.55 319 181 338 316 23.30 42.50 H
2005/06 Aus BD 2 0 2 0 0.49 427 148 581 269 26.90 55.00 H
2007 Ind BD 2 0 1 1 0.34 253 118 610 - 22.20 64.50 L
2007 SL SL 3 0 3 0 0.18 299 62 577 - 16.80 95.50 L
49 1 43 5 0.38 488 62 610 154 20.60 53.70

The last column indicates whether the index for that particular series was better or worse than the overall 0.38. Here the pattern is truly mixed. It would seem that in 2003/04 we played four series in a row where the index was higher than the average. The worst run of performance started in 2001/02 when we had four consecutive series which were below our extremely low average. In fact, in 2005/06 relative to our standards, we did reasonably well against Sri Lanka and Australia at home. Lastly, the same statistic can be presented in terms of the contemporary captain.

N Rahman 7 0 6 1 0.37 400 90 555 429 22.10 60.20
K Mashud 12 0 12 0 0.30 262 87 545 296 16.60 56.20
K Mahmud 9 0 9 0 0.45 361 96 556 175 20.40 45.70
H Bashar 18 1 13 4 0.47 488 86 610 154 23.60 50.70
M Ashraful 3 0 3 0 0.18 299 62 577 - 16.80 95.50

It would appear that Bashar's term was the best. But bear in mind, Taibu's third rate Zimbabwians visited Bangladesh during this time and Enam destroyed them single-handedly. Ashraful's term started as we know miserably but it is too early to call.

After receiving a sound thrashing from the Lankans, Bangladesh's next mission is against the Black Caps at their home soil in November-December 2007. A young team with an average age of 22 can only get better? After going through all the stats do you see any light at the end of the tunnel? You have to live in hope. After all, the Kiwis index is only 0.98!

 

About the author(s): Imtiaz Kabir was introduced to cricket in the days of shortwave radio. He later settled in England where he had the opportunity to watch the greats of the last 30 years and more.

 

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