Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Updated: Friday, February 20, 2004
Forget about winning

F Waliullah
Bangladesh is playing against Zimbabwe for the 5th time in test matches. The last 4 tests were played during the year 2001. With the good memory of the narrow defeat to Pakistan, and under the new team management consisting of Dav Whatmore and Habibul Bashar, Bangladesh was hoping to achieve the maiden test victory over Zimbabwe this time. Notice, the use of past tense 'was'.

Many would not agree that the above word should be used in the present tense, as if we are still trying to win the current test match or the forthcoming second test match. However, with the massive target of 441 runs to chase, which was prompted by some very poor catch-drops as always, the hope of a victory is almost destroyed.

The word 'almost' is used here thinking in the lines of none other than the great uncertainties of cricket. But for Bangladesh, uncertainties are meant to be the certainties.

In other words, Bangladesh's performance is very inconsistent; whether batting, bowling, fielding or team-wise. For example, consider Bangladesh's performance in the field on Day One of the on-going test match at Harare. Habibul Bashar and Tapash Baisya's great catches were indicating the great things to come. But the performance of the same fielders, who caught everything not only perfectly, but also in such a great fashion that one could say that they were following the examples of the Indians against Australia during the test series last month, where not many catches were dropped by the Indian fielders.

But do the Bangladesh team even care? They do not seem even to want to win a test match. At least, that is what their performance in the field suggests. Otherwise, why would they not be able to be strong enough to field properly, if not brilliantly and be consistent for two consecutive days?

If we go through the records, we will see that due to the dropped catches, Bangladesh's bowling performance against the Zimbabweans is the same as before. Zimbabwe had managed to score around 450 in around 150 odd overs or so in the earlier test matches.

We can safely predict based on the past performances between these two teams that Bangladesh will be able to score around 250 in both innings of this and the next test match and lose as usual. As a proof, we can again give the examples of the last Pakistan tour. Two top order players from Bangladesh scored test hundreds or to say more accurately, one test hundred and one out for nervous nineties, and yet Bangladesh as a team, had failed to reach the 300 figure. And a total of 400 is something that only a debutant team can achieve from Bangladesh.