Friday, September 30, 2016
Updated: Friday, April 16, 2004
The recent performances of the Bangladesh cricket teams in all levels of the game have given us much to cheer about. As we prepare for our away tour to West Indies, perhaps we should not let our recent successes go to our heads and reset our expectations accordingly. A few doses of reality is in order.
The Forgettable Past
In the not too distance past, Bangladesh Cricket fans have had mighty little to cheer about. Ignominy after ignominy:
All these debacles were enough to deaden the spirits of even the hardiest fan. However, the tide seems to have turned a tad bit of late.
Bangladesh and her diehard crickets fans have finally started to savor the sweet taste of victory at all levels of the game. Our seniors managed to win an ODI after 5 long years. Our under-19 team beat the defending champions Australia to win the plate final at the 2004 U-19 World Cup in Dhaka. Our A team won both the One Day and First Class series against the visiting Zimbabwe A team 4, 5, 6.
As we prepare for our overseas trip to the West Indies shores 7, we are all giddy with expectations. The once mighty West Indies have fallen. Their Test ranking is plumbing the depths along with the Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. They got mightily walloped by a visiting English team and only narrowly averted a Test series whitewash helped by a placid Antigua pitch, Lara's brilliance and the dead rubber syndrome 8.
Perhaps a reality check is in order. Especially since we, the Bangladeshi fans, are very volatile wont to extremes of emotions. Any unexpected failure and the lynch mob will be out in force. We will find a scapegoat and hound him out of the team. What really strikes fear into my aging heart is that our erudite and well-informed-of-cricket-matters press might even launch an oust Dav Whatmore campaign. Given our past history, this is not necessarily an inconceivable scenario. We have a tendency to pillory our coaches or change them like dirty underwear at the slightest hint of failure, whether justified or not 9. Remember the ouster of Gordon Greenidge? Recall the McInnes brouhaha? 10. Perhaps Whatmore is made of sterner stuff. He did, after all, last a while under the shambolic and politicized cricket administration in Sri Lanka which is not unlike that of ours. I would, however, not like to take that chance. Whatmore is the right man for the job. Using a business school analogy, Whatmore is like a CEO of a startup and his job will be done when he can hand over the reigns of the company to a financible CEO. But, that is another story, another article. Movie at 10.
So please take the following doses of reality and call Dr. Z 11in the morning.
Reality Check Dose 1: The seniors in Zimbabwe
In the first Test, we were competitive for the first few days and then gave it all up by being 5 for 14. The rain shortened second Test saw us collapsing to 168 all out. In Zimbabwe's only innings, Stuart Carlisle almost single-handedly equaled the Bangladesh score before time ran out. He went on to score 103 not out. In the ODI series we let one man, Streak, get in our way of getting our first ever series win. Streak is (was?) the only world class player in the Zimbabwe team. We fought hard but we could not put in the finishing touches. Remember Inzy standing in our way at Multan? 12
Reality Check Dose 2: The Under-19 World Cup
Yes, we won the plate final and beat the erstwhile world champions Australia. But a plate final is exactly that - the plate final. Beating Australia was extremely satisfying but we must remember that our team was loaded with First Class and International players. The Aussies youngsters are wet behind the years greenhorns. They only become world beaters once they have spent many years in the competitive Aussie leagues - honing their skills and sharpening their killer instincts. Lacking depth, we fast track our youngsters into the national team at the first sign of promise. This is yet another story, another article. Movie at 11.
Reality Check Dose 3: The Zimbabwe A Team tour
Granted we won both the One Day and First Class series, but this was at home and the results were closer than they should have been. This is only half a dose since we did experiment with different player combinations.
Reality Check Dose 4: The Fallen West Indies
BC Lara 400* says most of it. The almost whitewash by England belies the fact that this is a team being rebuilt after the retirement of many stalwarts. The team is brimming with talent and world class players. They have 6 batsmen and 5 bowlers featuring in the PWC Test Player Top 50 13. We have 1 and 2 respectively. Our second bowler entry, Mashrafee, is injured and will not be in the tour party. The last Test against England has most probably brought back some needed backbone to the West Indies team. It is unfortunate that we are the one to test this out.
Physician Heal Thyself
Yes, I too have liberally ingested the above doses of reality. To my pleasant surprise, I remain my usual optimistic self. Perhaps we may not win a single match out there, but I am sure the Tigers will account themselves most favorably. At the expense of over using business cliches, perhaps "past performance is no indicator of future results".
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