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Bangladesh vs. Zimbabwe preview - a Bangladeshi perspective (2009)
Bangladesh in the West Indies: Match grades, First Test versus West Indies, No curve. (2009)
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Being a Bangladeshi still savoring a long awaited delight, while the author is as emotionally moved as the other guy, he tries not to get carried away here. No slack, no curve, and the bar set as high as it should be for a test playing nation.

Bangladesh in the West Indies: Match grades, First Test versus West Indies, No curve.

Published: 17th July, 2009


Being a Bangladeshi still savoring a long awaited delight, I’m as emotionally moved as the other guy, but tried not to get carried away here. No slack, no curve, and the bar set as high as it should be for a Test playing nation.

  1. Tamim Iqbal: Managed to turn a corner in the second innings, and positively impact the outcome of the match with his maiden Test hundred. As colossal as that particular feat was, not being sarcastic here, it was streaky. With two lives and at least twice the number of half-lives in edges, barely missed edges, and the occasional wild swing out of the blue, Lady Luck was with him BIG TIME. Quality matters and the only reason he gets a B+ and not a B, is because of the character and grit he showed through it all. Easily the most talented LHB Bangladesh have produced to open their innings, he did something positive with those breaks unlike many in the fraternity of Bangladeshi players ... B+
  2. Imrul Kayes: Looked great before falling to yet another A. Shocka classic in the first innings. The technically compact young opener didn't do as well as expected in the second, but did wear-out the new ball and made it easier for Junaid Siddique to survive the shoddy technique we find ourselves seriously alarmed about  ... B-
  3. Junaid Siddique: Was patient in the second innings and made important runs in spite of those bad habits we know too well. The dashing young left hander committed to his front foot early but not as much as usual, showing a patience yet to be matched by his issues. He needs to visibly rectify those ASAP before others challenge him with sustainable success. Until and unless he does just that, he will continue to disappoint his fans, including this one, and fail to go beyond the 70s on to a maiden hundred of his own ... B
  4. Raqibul Hasan: Is still technically more sound than genuinely scary players like Rajin Saleh and Tushar Imran in the past, but continued to make his nick "Da Rock" seem euphoric at best, and ridiculous at worst. Once again he did not stick to what he knows best and put his team on the back foot in the process. Maybe this hardworking young man is a couple of years in the A Team away from becoming the "anchor" his adulators fantasized him to be. He should be benched before hurting himself too much, but I'm not sure if Mehrab Hossain Jr., his probable replacement under those unlikely circumstances, is capable of doing any better over a stretch. Instead, we are more than likely to see him ride the coattails other people’s success in the name of a “winning combination”. If Nafis Iqbal or Aftab Ahmed perform well in the near future, and demonstrate the ability to learn from their illustrious underachievement, they can replace him for good due to better talent, application and experience at this level. Big "ifs" but not as big as some ... F
  5. Mohammad Ashraful: Hit a spiraling new low, even by his own stellar standards. The once-iconic-now-disgraced former Skipper continued to string together one failure after another, as that ever elusive blue moon remained obscured behind stationary clouds. But to his credit, he did contribute with the ball and helped Shakib Al Hasan, the stand-in Skipper, find the “inner Captain” of his own after Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s unfortunate injury. Maybe he can become a specialist bowler over time, but if Shahriar Nafees or Alok Kapali perform well in the near future, and demonstrate the ability to learn from their own bungled opportunities, either one can replace him with consistent performances. If all goes well, each is capable of scoring at least 30+ with regularity with the occasional 100 here and there. He gets an F for his batting and an A for contributions on the field ... D-
  6. Shakib Al Hasan: Looks like he is more than ready to be Captain and captaincy will enhance his overall game. Caught by the other umpire (Tony Hill) suffering from temporary Ashokanitis in the first, he prevented an impending slide, and scored important runs in the second innings. His departure was due to a shot he pretty much had to risk under those circumstances. His bowling, field settings in the second innings, and bowling changes were A+ in anybody’s book. This remarkable young cricketer from Magura is a breed apart from everyone else before him ... A
  7. Mushfiqur Rahim: Didn't blow opportunities behind the stumps because those simply didn't present themselves that much to challenge his suspect and noisy presence there. His range is still a big issue and bad appeals irritating. An in-form Shaheen Hossain or Dhiman Ghosh may be a better keeper than he is, but his courageous batting at clutch situations, and the ability to repair damage are essential in tests and ODIs. Run out by Mortaza in the first innings and being a tad too cautious in the second, denied him the couple of scrappy test 50s he seemed destined to get ... B-
  8. Mahmudullah Riyad: Gets an F for his batting and A for his match winning bowling, especially in the second innings. He was brought into the team as a useful consolidator down the order but his performance with the bat was anything but. Although Nayeem Islam may be far better equipped with the bat, Mahmudullah’s emergence as a strike bowler keeps him in the Test team as far as I am concerned ... C+
  9. Mashrafe Bin Mortaza: Did not impress with his pedestrian bowling off the gates, and quick reversion to a cringe inducing, Habibul Bashar-like one slip only defensive field setting -- but he started to bend his back before re-aggravating that unfortunate knee injury. Until that point in the match, he was getting a C for bowling, D for his short-lived captaincy, but a solid A for his rescue in the first innings with the bat ... INCOMPLETE
  10. Shahadat Hossain: Bowled better with his usual "erraticisms" than we feared but not as well as we hoped. His grunts at that semi-gentle pace are beyond laughable at this point. They are embarrassing. If he cannot back his vocal cords up with visible improvement soon, it will be a simple matter of time until he is replaced by better bowlers like Talha Jubair, Shubhashish Roy or Suman Saha. Hossain gets a C for his bowling and B- for his surprising and critical contribution with the bat in the first innings ... C+
  11. Rubel Hossain: Is the real deal. Known to his adoring fans, including this one, as Royal Bengal Express (RBX for short), he has impressed the likes of Tony Cozier and Ian Bishop with his genuine pace and aggression. This young man from Bagerhat in southern Bangladesh can swing it both ways and reverse. Still very early in his career, he has shown himself to be a quick learner. Properly nurtured, this slinger will get better faster than we anticipate and leave his predecessors in the dust. Nattering nabobs of negativism, and fans of mediocrity over talent will only be too happy to see him succeed. That said, I simply don't get this disturbing resentment for those who have ability. The fact is: talent, applied at its best can do what overachievers with limited ability never can. Also the assumption that somehow talent equates underachievement is total BS. There is the glaring example of Ashraful to point to, but one should also look at  Al Hasan, Iqbal, and now RBX as better examples to the contrary. Jinxes? Don’t buy it ... B- for his first innings spells after the former Skipper settled him down, and latter spells in the second.

The upcoming second and final test gives Bangladesh the rare opportunity to sweep a series abroad. This group of West Indian batters have exposed their vulnerability to quality slow bowling, and the insertion of quality SLA Enamul Haque Jr. in place of the sidelined Mortaza should be a no-brainer irrespective of pitch conditions.


About the author(s): The author was born in Dhaka and brought up in suburban DC and Paris. He has lived almost all of his adult life in San Francisco and Berkeley. SW radio and the Internet kept him connected to a manic love of cricket that's been somewhat of a family tradition since his grandparents went to watch West Indies at Lords during the late 50s. Sir Viv made him a believer. He's a business development consultant living mostly in Dhaka and Chiang Mai - and San Francisco when he has to. He goes by the nick Sohel NR in the forum.


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