Bangladesh June 2, 2010

Ten wickets with a stick of French bread

In which, the Achilles heel of Bangladesh cricket is ruthlessly exposed
90


Mudassar Nazar: master of the fearsome blitztrundle © Getty Images
 

England has reaffirmed its status as the greatest nation in the history of the world with its third consecutive intermittently-unconvincing-but-ultimately-comfortable victory over Bangladesh. It was a good, competitive Test match. Whilst Bangladesh were batting. When they were bowling, it was another pointless exercise in zero-intensity average-inflating net practice for England’s batsmen, although only Jonathan Trott and Andrew Strauss took full advantage.

Trott took the opportunity to bump his Test average up from 37 to 53, mutating from a Neil McKenzie to a Virender Sehwag over five days of ruthless accumulation. It would take six consecutive ducks for Trott to re-McKenzify his average. Ian Bell’s average remains 2.5 runs better off five years after helping himself to 227 unbeaten runs in the two-Test series of 2005. Word is he still sends Tapash Baisya and Anwar Hossain Monir a box of chocolates every Christmas.

Bangladesh’s bowling “attack” currently poses the offensive threat of a broken toy zebra in a lion enclosure. They average over 60 runs per wicket this year, and it is traditionally difficult to win Tests when you are conceding 600-plus per innings. Not impossible, admittedly, but reliant on the presence in your dressing room of a high-quality hypnotist to hoodwink the opposition captain into two rogue declarations.

The Tigers, for all their recent improvement, continue to lack both penetrative bowlers and, more importantly, top-notch hypnotists. Until one or both of these understandable problems is resolved, they will continue to strive for draws rather than victories.

Nevertheless, their excellent top-order batting confirmed that they have now improved sufficiently to officially become a team that is not ritually humiliated in every Test it plays. Progress towards becoming a team that has an ice-lolly’s chance in a volcano-surfing competition of actually winning a Test remains negligible, however: Bangladesh’s bowlers remained as incisive as baguette. And, just as you can’t perform an appendectomy with a stick of French bread, so you cannot win a Test without taking wickets.

Their batsmen, however, provided another good examination for England’s bowlers, which only Steven Finn passed. Bangladesh extended their record run without an innings defeat to 10 Tests, and have now scored over 200 in 16 consecutive Test innings since January 2009. They had been skittled for less than 200 in 15 of their previous 25 innings, and 61 of their first 116 since an elevation to Test status that was not so much premature as before conception.

To maintain these sequences at Old Trafford on a potentially bouncy pitch, they will need more from their middle order, which failed to support Tamim, Imrul and Junaid’s respectively dazzling, determined, and also determined efforts.

Tamim Iqbal again showed himself to be a rampant entertainer of rare brilliance, whose willingness to intersperse his vibrant strokeplay with failed attempted smears over midwicket gladdens the heart of all village players, who can aspire to match at least the latter part of his repertoire. How appropriate that Tamim should have illuminated the old ground so close to the 20th anniversary of another immortal Lord’s innings by a visiting player, back in 1990 – I refer of course to New Zealand opener Trevor Franklin’s almost-equally iridescent 101, which Tamim eclipsed by two runs from 210 fewer balls over four and a half fewer hours.

The MCC announced yesterday that, as part of their planned expansion of Lord’s, a 30-metre high bronze statue of Franklin will be erected at the Nursery End, its base adorned with sculptured reliefs of the Auckland Awkwardian playing a series of obdurate forward-defensives, whilst spectators are resuscitated in the background.

Lord’s has long inspired foreign batsmen. Tamim joins Franklin on an illustrious list that now includes, amongst others, Don Bradman, Martin Donnelly, Mohsin Khan, Gordon Greenidge and Jonathan Trott.

Sadly, the great old ground failed to exert a similarly motivational effect on Mohammad Ashraful, who clocked up his 48th single-figure dismissal in just 54 Tests. He remains some way behind the record for most single-figure scores by a top-order batsman, held by Alec Stewart – the top six in this list make a useful batting order:

Stewart (66 scores below 10), Atherton (65), Border (64), Tendulkar (64), Lara (62) and Steve Waugh (61). Serial failers to a man.

One suspects Tendulkar will extend his career until he has claimed top spot from Stewart. A record is a record. Expect the little master to deal only in centuries and singe-figure failures from now until retirement – he will want to leave a legacy of records that no one will ever match.

Ashraful, aged just 25, has plenty of time to break into this elusive club and claim his place amongst the all-time elite, and to do so he will be hoping Bangladesh play all their Test matches away from Asia – his average in his 18 Tests elsewhere in the world is 12.7, which puts him on a par for non-Asian Tests with batting legends such as Curtly Ambrose, Joel Garner, Colin Croft and Ian Bishop.

The statistics suggest unarguably that Ashraful is a 6’6”-plus West Indian paceman trapped in the body of an underachieving 5’6”-minus Bangladeshi batsman. Perhaps he could be the answer to the Tigers’ new-ball troubles. If only the aforementioned hypnotist was on hand to swing his pocket watch to and fro, and bring out the lethal Caribbean quickie that is the real Mohammad Ashraful. “You are getting sleepy. You are getting sleeeeepy. And... gone. Right. When I click my fingers, you will charge in from a 30-yard run, bang it in short of a length at over 90mph, follow through to within an inch of the batsman’s still-twitching nose, and glare at him like he’s just stolen your mother. And... click.”

Despite the promise of Finn, England should be concerned by their failure to take wickets when the sun, unpatriotically, shone. Four late-summer Tests against Pakistan and an Ashes tour in Australia are looming, and if the solar system’s number-one-ranked heat-and-light source betrays England consistently, their four-prong bowling attack may regret its lack of fifth prong, especially if the key prong, Swann, remains as uncharacteristically unprongy as he was at Lord’s.

Tamim became the 150th batsman to score a Test century at Lord’s, and celebrated with a joyful if bizarre piece of physical theatre and/or modern ballet, which experts interpreted as a demand to have his name rapidly inked onto the pavilion honours board. Many greats of the game are absent from the board at the Home Of Cricket. And some certifiable non-greats of the game have carved their names indelibly into Lord’s eternity.

I have compiled a couple of similarly structured XIs for you. Tell me who you think would win. Bearing in mind that the match will be played at Lord’s.

Not on the Lord’s Honours Board XI MA Atherton, SM Gavaskar, SR Tendulkar, ER Dexter, CH Lloyd, Imran Khan, APE Knott (wk), Wasim Akram, SK Warne, DK Lillee, CEL Ambrose.

On the Lord’s Honours Board XI CWJ Athey, TJ Franklin, MJ Horne, MH Richardson, AB Agarkar, Nasim-ul-Ghani, SAR Silva (wk), DR Pringle, RG Holland, ESH Giddins, Mudassar Nazar.

(Note that I have selected Ajit Agarkar as a specialist batsman for his mind-bending 2002 century, and Mudassar as a specialist bowler for his low-pace 1982 blitztrundle, arguably the most devastating display of dibbly-dobbling in cricket history. His tail-end runs could prove crucial – you would back him to chip in with a few more than Ambrose. And this contest could prove once and for all who is the greatest Australian legspinner of all-time – Shane Warne, or Bob Holland.)

There will be another Confectionery Stall Q&A later this week. Leave any queries you want me to answer in the comments below, and I will intensively research and/or completely fabricate responses shortly.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • waterbuffalo on June 13, 2010, 9:10 GMT

    Mr. Zaltzman, I love England, I love any team that beats Australia, in any format, but what on earth is going on with a country that produced Banks, Shilton, Clemence? Green, Calamity James and Hart? You have got to be kidding me, Green cost me money, can you please send me ten pounds? Thanks. As for Bangladesh, don't worry, wait till you see how useless Pakistan are.

  • Craig lbw bowled Kirsten on June 7, 2010, 22:25 GMT

    Brilliant Andy. (Am I the only one who reads the blog in a Zaltzman-esq world cricket podcast voice?)

    Could you give your test XI for insomniacs vs your T20 test team, the sort of match that would have 210 all out (206 overs) plays 250-5d (32 overs), 150-2 (208 overs)?

  • Michael on June 6, 2010, 19:17 GMT

    Can you explain the spectacular demise of Anjantha Mendis? As of the 24th of Jan 2009 he averaged 18.36 in tests and a stupendous 10.88 in ODIs. Since then he's averaged 62.90 in tests and 48.93 in ODIs.

  • Vivek on June 6, 2010, 12:26 GMT

    This article was really good. Infact i like almost all of your articles. Thanx for all of them and keep rocking....:)

  • austin on June 5, 2010, 17:14 GMT

    article like these disgusts me... sport is more bitter bcos of these kinda sentiment. critics are the best of the cricket... playing the game with words and twisted the stats. i wonder how much hate do you have to have in you to spend so much time to make something so bitter. but cricketers always answered people like you with bat and ball. i think tamim just did that without any (in your words)... "failed attempted smears over midwicket gladdens the heart of all village players".

  • McGorium on June 4, 2010, 23:02 GMT

    @Muhammad: Perhaps you already know this, but in a sense, what you have stated, reminds me of Russell's paradox (well, not exactly the same, but there's an element of that). Roughly stated, it goes like: "Could a set of all sets that do not contain themselves, contain itself?". If A includes itself, it couldn't be in the set of all sets that do not contain themselves. If A is excluded, it cannot be the set of all sets that contain itself, because it's missing A.

    Although in your case, there is a simpler solution to the paradox. Batsmen must retire once they get to 99, unless there is only 1 run required to win :) And bowlers must be taken off the attack once they take 4 wickets (or there is only one wicket left to win). Q.E.D? :) Good point though.

    PS: Correction to my earlier post. I meant MCC, not MCG.

  • maximum6 on June 4, 2010, 18:19 GMT

    Have to say I loved the vision of a broken toy zebra in the lion's cage...brilliant! Ashraful seems to have really the caught the eye for not being out there long enough to catch the eye- should have retired after his first couple of games. I gotta say I agree with the readers who thought Richardson badly treated- he could bat a bit. Pity Snedds didn't take a fifer at Lords though.

  • jeff cornish on June 4, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    Love your purple prose, Andy, not to mention your wilful distorted Stats obsession! Here's a word challenge. Can you create a vignette out of the names of any current Test team? E.g: "The cook served up his speciality, shark's fin soup and broad side of swan, which led to legal action by the royal firm Bresnan & Anderson when the meat was found to be contaminated. Only Peter's son escaped the poison, as he was locked in his room listening to Strauss waltzes prior to the bell for dinner..."

  • Jack on June 4, 2010, 12:50 GMT

    Rob Key got an bounce of 8 to his average thanks to his 221 against the West Indies once again at Lord's.

  • Vikram on June 4, 2010, 3:47 GMT

    Thank you Andy! Gave me a much needed chuckle.

  • waterbuffalo on June 13, 2010, 9:10 GMT

    Mr. Zaltzman, I love England, I love any team that beats Australia, in any format, but what on earth is going on with a country that produced Banks, Shilton, Clemence? Green, Calamity James and Hart? You have got to be kidding me, Green cost me money, can you please send me ten pounds? Thanks. As for Bangladesh, don't worry, wait till you see how useless Pakistan are.

  • Craig lbw bowled Kirsten on June 7, 2010, 22:25 GMT

    Brilliant Andy. (Am I the only one who reads the blog in a Zaltzman-esq world cricket podcast voice?)

    Could you give your test XI for insomniacs vs your T20 test team, the sort of match that would have 210 all out (206 overs) plays 250-5d (32 overs), 150-2 (208 overs)?

  • Michael on June 6, 2010, 19:17 GMT

    Can you explain the spectacular demise of Anjantha Mendis? As of the 24th of Jan 2009 he averaged 18.36 in tests and a stupendous 10.88 in ODIs. Since then he's averaged 62.90 in tests and 48.93 in ODIs.

  • Vivek on June 6, 2010, 12:26 GMT

    This article was really good. Infact i like almost all of your articles. Thanx for all of them and keep rocking....:)

  • austin on June 5, 2010, 17:14 GMT

    article like these disgusts me... sport is more bitter bcos of these kinda sentiment. critics are the best of the cricket... playing the game with words and twisted the stats. i wonder how much hate do you have to have in you to spend so much time to make something so bitter. but cricketers always answered people like you with bat and ball. i think tamim just did that without any (in your words)... "failed attempted smears over midwicket gladdens the heart of all village players".

  • McGorium on June 4, 2010, 23:02 GMT

    @Muhammad: Perhaps you already know this, but in a sense, what you have stated, reminds me of Russell's paradox (well, not exactly the same, but there's an element of that). Roughly stated, it goes like: "Could a set of all sets that do not contain themselves, contain itself?". If A includes itself, it couldn't be in the set of all sets that do not contain themselves. If A is excluded, it cannot be the set of all sets that contain itself, because it's missing A.

    Although in your case, there is a simpler solution to the paradox. Batsmen must retire once they get to 99, unless there is only 1 run required to win :) And bowlers must be taken off the attack once they take 4 wickets (or there is only one wicket left to win). Q.E.D? :) Good point though.

    PS: Correction to my earlier post. I meant MCC, not MCG.

  • maximum6 on June 4, 2010, 18:19 GMT

    Have to say I loved the vision of a broken toy zebra in the lion's cage...brilliant! Ashraful seems to have really the caught the eye for not being out there long enough to catch the eye- should have retired after his first couple of games. I gotta say I agree with the readers who thought Richardson badly treated- he could bat a bit. Pity Snedds didn't take a fifer at Lords though.

  • jeff cornish on June 4, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    Love your purple prose, Andy, not to mention your wilful distorted Stats obsession! Here's a word challenge. Can you create a vignette out of the names of any current Test team? E.g: "The cook served up his speciality, shark's fin soup and broad side of swan, which led to legal action by the royal firm Bresnan & Anderson when the meat was found to be contaminated. Only Peter's son escaped the poison, as he was locked in his room listening to Strauss waltzes prior to the bell for dinner..."

  • Jack on June 4, 2010, 12:50 GMT

    Rob Key got an bounce of 8 to his average thanks to his 221 against the West Indies once again at Lord's.

  • Vikram on June 4, 2010, 3:47 GMT

    Thank you Andy! Gave me a much needed chuckle.

  • McGorium on June 3, 2010, 16:12 GMT

    Oh, Sarfin, get a sense of humour. Though I appreciate Andy's patient clarification of what is obviously satire. Anyway, what is so special about Lords, other than being MCG's GHQ? As far as Tamim's century goes, in the scheme of things, it wasn't particularly useful. The Agarkar comparion is apt: in both cases, their respective sides had little hope of winning. Now, if Tamim had scored a Dravidian 100 in 300 balls, I'd hail that effort, even if Ban lost. Because that was what was needed, not some flashy display of ODI batting. Especially given the quality of batting to follow. Because boring though it is, that is so much harder to do.

    Very funny article, though. Goes to show how much scoring a hundred at Lords is correlated with greatness. Statistical question: Which ground is the best predictor of overall performance? Which are the grounds on which batsmen's scores are correlated most strongly with their overall performance? Is there one such predictor?

  • Anurag Bhide on June 3, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    contd. the absurdity that not a single batsman on team NH has yet got a chance out in the middle and yet the opposition claims to have picked over 20 wickets will lead to massive confusion, ajit agarkar running himself out with a direct hit from long leg and shane warne texting daryl cullinan a message meant for his girlfriend. the match would have to be called off finally when the non-appearance of any batsman to play for team NH would be investigated by the umpires to shockingly reveal a deserted dressing room.

  • Anurag Bhide on June 3, 2010, 14:42 GMT

    Muhammad has raised a very very interesting situation and i am flabbergasted that it slipped the minds of you, mr. zaltman, as well as all the readers (myself included)

    i suggest that rather than giving yourself out honoured, the moment a player on team NH puts his name on the honours board, he will compulsorily and irreversibly switch allegiance to team H and his runs/wickets will be transferred to team H.here is what may transpire-

    after proceeding in this vein for over 3 days, the skipper of team honours will declare at tea on day 4 to give team NH the near-impossible target of 1391 to chase in 4 sessions. the umpires will eventually realize that the honours team has batted out 3 innings with the NH team not getting a hit out in the middle at all. moreover it will be revealed that team honours has taken over 20 wickets, a feat unprecedented in the history of the game.

  • CricketPissek on June 3, 2010, 13:00 GMT

    wow sarfin. you seriously need a chill pill dude.

  • Tony on June 3, 2010, 11:19 GMT

    Come on 'Sarfin' - it's called sarcasm, whimsy and humour. Don't take everything so seriously. Life's too short. Take a chill pill and don't bother reading this blog if it offends you so much.

    Love your work Andy. 'The solar systems number 1 ranked source of heat and light..' GOLD !!

  • Yazad on June 3, 2010, 10:44 GMT

    Lord’s has long inspired foreign batsmen. Tamim joins Franklin on an illustrious list that now includes, amongst others, Don Bradman, Martin Donnelly, Mohsin Khan, Gordon Greenidge and Jonathan Trott. Hahahahahahaha Brilliant article :D

  • MMx on June 3, 2010, 10:11 GMT

    ...if the solar system’s number-one-ranked heat-and-light source betrays England consistently, their four-prong bowling attack may regret its lack of fifth prong, especially if the key prong, Swann, remains as uncharacteristically unprongy as he was at Lord’s.

    Funny and true.

  • Muhammad on June 3, 2010, 8:26 GMT

    What would happen if one of the non-honours puts their name on the honours board in the match? Would they have to give themselves out honoured? We will have to end up with Imran batting the second innings by himself, getting himself out honoured and honours winning the game in the last innings by an innings and minus 753

  • Rahul J on June 3, 2010, 6:29 GMT

    andy... you have risen to become my second most read blog, currently trailing only my ex-girlfriends blog site... reckon you will get to number one if i find a new mate. cheers.

  • Anurag Bhide on June 3, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    my dear sarfin, you so desperately need a sense of humour surgically inserted into your head. mr. zaltman, if you could oblige by sehwagging your way to a surgeon's postgraduate degree and do the honours please...

  • Hemant Adarkar on June 3, 2010, 4:31 GMT

    Thanks for a wonderful article. Haven't you missed Dilip Vengsarkar in your honours list - he scored three consecutive hundreds and a fifty at Lord's?

  • Len Rogers on June 3, 2010, 4:16 GMT

    I love the comments from your readers. Trott scored a hundred at the Oval. That gets you onto the honour board at Lords? Mmmm. Andy, you write satire. Unfortunately, some (and I stress some not all) writers from the sub-continent seem to regard satire as a personal attack. Get a life! Like all good satirists, Andy is unbiased in his choice of targets. He will take the p**s out of any holy cow. Oops! Icon.

  • Indra on June 3, 2010, 3:58 GMT

    Wish you were there and writing your confectionary stall when England were being constantly humiliated by West Indian quickies in the mid and late 80s on a regular basis.

  • Dave Callcut on June 2, 2010, 23:51 GMT

    While Mark Richardson may not be in the class of many of those currently missing from the honours board, he is easily the greatest test opening batsmen the Black Caps have had in recent, if not distant, memory. His gritty stoicism and stick-to-it-idness (in other words, producing results which belied his lack of by the books talent, without even the remotest sense of flair) should be a template that more top order Kiwi test batsmen should follow.

    I guess that's not saying a lot, though... just my two cents!

  • Jeremy on June 2, 2010, 22:14 GMT

    I enjoyed the slant reference to Trott as a "foreign batsman". Perhaps we should induct a third honours board somewhere in the corridor between the dressing rooms for such anomalous miscellany? As for your fictional Lord's honours clash, with Glenn McGrath out of the side I'm quite certain Warne would take all 20 wickets in the match.

  • Sal on June 2, 2010, 22:13 GMT

    Andy, I rarely if ever comment on blogs and when I do it's usually to ridicule the blogger for their inanity/vapidity/banality

    For what it's worth, you're easily the most entertaining sports writer I've read (and it's not even your day job).

  • Anson on June 2, 2010, 21:51 GMT

    "Mudassar as a specialist bowler for his low-pace 1982 blitztrundle, arguably the most devastating display of dibbly-dobbling in cricket history" - Blitz-trundle? I think i've just found my new favourite word! Well done Andy!!

  • Derrick on June 2, 2010, 21:22 GMT

    Mark Richardson is still playing his last defensive stroke at lords - Rigor mortis finally set in....

    Love your work.

  • Saad on June 2, 2010, 21:12 GMT

    I love it, especially the Ashraful part. But somehow, he symbolizes life to me: like a box of (fake) chocolates, you never (fail to) know you what you are (not) going to get. Anyway, this is the best funny article I ever came across. Only hope Ashraful doesn't do any voodoo to you :)

  • Imran on June 2, 2010, 20:50 GMT

    this article is gold! hats off to you.

  • shafkat on June 2, 2010, 20:48 GMT

    While I agree that the Bangladesh attack is toothless, especially in swinging conditions or on surfaces harder than the ones they play at home, I wonder why you fail to mention Shahadat´s performance (who got a 5 for) at Lords.

    I was glad to see Bangladesh dropping the luggage otherwise known as Naeem Islam and went for three quicker bowlers. Let these kids learn and who knows, maybe by the end of this trip, they´ll be a handful.

  • Adnan on June 2, 2010, 20:41 GMT

    captian tought choice between imran and lloyd and for the others between 12th man and the water boy

  • arun prabhu on June 2, 2010, 20:14 GMT

    Andy, your writing is razor sharp and your insights on cricket decisively incisive. Absolutely superb. You will no doubt appeal to the Indian public (80%+ of the global cricket audience, ??% of cricinfo?) with your indepth grasp of statistics - although a point may be taken away for blaspheming the T name. More power to your keyboard, looking forward to reading the real match reports. P.S. surely, cricinfo is funding your Asutralian ashes tour?

  • ankit on June 2, 2010, 20:06 GMT

    You blame the unpatriotic sun for england's woes ... lmao

  • Geoff on June 2, 2010, 19:40 GMT

    @VenkatB: Agarkar has to be in the team as a specialist batsman, because he was actually a decent bowler on his day. Admittedly his day didn't seem to come around that often, but his six wickets to win a Test against Australia in the second innings at Adelaide was a high-class spell - good swing to knock over their top order and then coming back to finish them off.

  • mir asif on June 2, 2010, 19:19 GMT

    nice job indeed! but don't you think that the honors board should be removed from lords because according to your article it doesn't have any honors left anymore. another thing is that if someone who has never climbed any mountain goes on to climb all the way to the top of the Mount Everest in his first assignment and in his rest of the life never being able to repeat this thing again then it will carry no honor. grow up dude try to appreciate and encourage those who does something special.If Tamim Iqbal scores a century then it is a hundred and if MA Atherton scores a century then it doesn't becomes double hundred, it is still a hundred which is a magnificent effort and for this, both Tamim and Atherton should be given credit. Grow up and rather than thinking narrowly and cheaply,think broadly. By the way congratulation to you because after inventing this sport cricket hundreds of years ago, finally in 2010 you guys were able to win your first ICC major trophy..!!!!!!!

  • Koushik Biswas on June 2, 2010, 19:19 GMT

    Andy, you have missed Sourav Ganguly's memorable 131 at Lords on a sunny June day of 1996 - an innings which marked the arrival of the most poignant, most criticized and the most successful Indian captain. It was his debut century, and such an interesting discussion about Lords should feature his name in it. Not to mention his chest baring display in the 2002 Natwest Trophy final - a Lords controversy that only he can stir up. Point to note that the mother tongue of the Bangladesh players is the same as Sourav Ganguly - they all speak Bengali (or Bangla), albeit with a different accent - but had it not been for an ugly political and religious partition back in 1947, Tamim and Sourav could have been national teammates!

  • Koushik Biswas on June 2, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    Andy, you have missed Sourav Ganguly's memorable 131 at Lords on a sunny June day of 1996 - an innings which marked the arrival of the most poignant, most criticized and the most successful Indian captain. It was his debut century, and such an interesting discussion about Lords should feature his name in it. Not to mention his chest baring display in the 2002 Natwest Trophy final - a Lords controversy that only he can stir up. Point to note that the mother tongue of the Bangladesh players is the same as Sourav Ganguly - they all speak Bengali (or Bangla), albeit with a different accent - but had it not been for an ugly political and religious partition back in 1947, Tamim and Sourav could have been national teammates!

  • Satish Krishnan on June 2, 2010, 18:37 GMT

    Hilarious stuff. Fell off my chair laughing when I read the Trevor Franklin part. Superb! Keep it up buddy.

  • Andy Z on June 2, 2010, 18:04 GMT

    I should point out that I in no way intended to belittle Tamim, who is clearly an outstanding player who would unquestionably be in this year's World XI, and whose hundred was one of the finest in a Lord's Test. I was merely using his century as a springboard for some musings about who is and isn't on the honours board. Clearly anyone on it has been good enough to score a Test 100 or take 5 wickets -- for some it was an isolated moment in the international cricketing sun, that, regardless of their overall status as Test players, most of us couldn't even dream of matching.

  • Andrew on June 2, 2010, 17:49 GMT

    Brilliant stuff. Loved the Franklin / Azza juxtoposition ;)

  • Dravidisthebest on June 2, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    one of the best articles ever!!

  • Singhe on June 2, 2010, 16:52 GMT

    How come you did not write this nonsense when Trott, or Flintoff for that matter, got thier name on the honor board last year? This young man (Tamim)thoroughly deserves the accolade he received: it is the English bowling "attack", including ECB Player of the year, that should have been satired.

  • scannersinfrance on June 2, 2010, 16:03 GMT

    I beg to differ on two points:-

    1. Their bowling stats state that each wicket costs them 60 runs - that does not equate to an opposition total of 600 (since when has Bangladesh taken 10 wickets in an innings regularly?) 2. You can win a Test Match by taking no wickets at all - in fact Bangladesh are more likely to do this than take 20 wickets. Imagine the scenario: England make 500 for 0 declared, then remove Bangladesh for 300. In a subsequently rain-affected match England score 50 for 0 declared and set Bangladesh 251 to win, which they duly do, say with 9 wickets down.

    Thus, any team can win by failing to take a wicket in the match, losing 19 of their own in the process, and having only been in a dominant position for on ball of the match...Then try explaining the game to a foreigner.

  • sunil shaha on June 2, 2010, 15:48 GMT

    i thought writers self bitterness got the best of his humor. i don't think he liked anything happened in that match or cricket being played against older/stronger vs newer/weaker teams! I thought Bangladesh did an improved showing where England team was below par based on their caliber.

    as for tamim, he is a decent player, perhaps not good enough records to be on the records books... but i wouldn't compare with agarkar. i guess the rest remains to be seen but i felt like this article was intended to make fun of.

  • Vipul Patki on June 2, 2010, 14:50 GMT

    @CricFan: you are correct. He is indeed no less than the great P G Wodehouse in succeeding in making us laugh. Re-mcKenziyfying part was the best.

  • amol on June 2, 2010, 14:44 GMT

    the umpires in 2007 handed sachin one more wrong dissmissal for his list and denied him his first ton at lords

  • Keith Richard on June 2, 2010, 14:43 GMT

    A hilarious article but spot on in analyses. However, I fear that those who are the butt of your jokes (Ashraful et al) might take your comments as compliments! You have also given a free pass to the Bangla selectors who repeatedly justifies Ashraful’s selection by claiming he has “experience”…..presumably they mean his experience of averaging 12.7 in away tests and not much higher playing at home….and his experience of losing!! Test Cricket and those who pay hard earned cash to see it deserve better.

  • Ska on June 2, 2010, 14:31 GMT

    Andy, you are the best.

  • JS82 on June 2, 2010, 14:19 GMT

    Insightful and amusing. I enjoyed the rhetoric on Ashraful. Excellent work Andy!

  • Anonymous on June 2, 2010, 14:11 GMT

    "Lord’s has long inspired foreign batsmen. Tamim joins Franklin on an illustrious list that now includes, amongst others, Don Bradman, Martin Donnelly, Mohsin Khan, Gordon Greenidge and Jonathan Trott. "

    Trott! Priceless! You are very, very funny man! :o)

  • Sagar on June 2, 2010, 14:05 GMT

    Andy -

    Now that the Eng-SA coalition has achieved what no English team ever did - Win a Limited Overs World Cup.

    Should Fabio Capello recruit some South African players or if that is difficult at this late stage, request KP, Trott, Keiswetter etc to join the coalition and help England win the other World Cup?

    What can Capello's all English boys learn from the cricket's successful coalition?

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on June 2, 2010, 14:02 GMT

    Fantastic wit my dear chap. Now do me a favour and wash me please.

  • deep on June 2, 2010, 13:45 GMT

    great article full of cricket knowledge covers and lot of fun specially by tern ''re-McKenzify'' .....

  • Raghav on June 2, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    Where is Brian Lara in that Not on the Lord’s Honours Board XI ?

  • Ha on June 2, 2010, 13:05 GMT

    After quite some time, I have read a good light hearted article on cricinfo. thums up for you and cheers

  • sarfin on June 2, 2010, 13:02 GMT

    dear Andy, i guess u could be a great batsman. and that's why u could write such an "informative article". and may be u don't bother to watch cricket before writing.here's some info for u. it was not a prehistoric time when BD team bowled out mighty Indian batting just for 242. and yet in favorable condition in Lords, Eng could not save all of their wickets in 1st inning. if u were a true cricket watcher then u might know that the pace spearhead of BD is out of injury. and it is too often when BD cricket has some names in top ten of ICC ranking. if u had minimum respect to cricket's greatest home, then u couldn't write such an article.if u think a century in Lords is a cheap thing then u may try for one. finally i want to say, cricket is not played in your laptop with some words. u need some guts to play.if you don't have then don't under estimate those who have. and if u cannot clap to a good performance, then please don't torture cricket with your silly stats

  • VenkatB on June 2, 2010, 12:52 GMT

    If I can remember Agarkar also took a five-fer at Lord's and hence his role/slot should be that of an all rounder ala Botham or an Imran Khan or atleast a Kapil Dev :)

  • CricFan on June 2, 2010, 12:44 GMT

    This guy is PG Wodehouse of Cricket! Hi Andy - you should consider writing some books on cricket.

  • JGHB on June 2, 2010, 12:31 GMT

    (Further to previous comment, apologies for discontinuity.) A better option than Richardson would surely be RWT Key, whose shock double century against the 2004 West Indians belied a career of consistent underachievement at international level.

  • ishtiaque Ahmed on June 2, 2010, 12:29 GMT

    Well written. I hope Bangladeshi selectors are aware about this. I feel Ashraful should be dropped from the team immidiately and permanently to give access to new promising players. Otherwise Bangladesh team will cotinue to achieve failur. Team management please wake up.

  • Dreeny on June 2, 2010, 12:26 GMT

    Serial failers to a man...ha ha ha

  • P.Satish on June 2, 2010, 12:20 GMT

    Hilarious!! It is so refreshing to read your blogs. They are indeed what they are meant to be - funny!

    "Trott took the opportunity to bump his Test average up from 37 to 53, mutating from a Neil McKenzie to a Virender Sehwag over five days of ruthless accumulation." ROFL!!!!

  • 123 on June 2, 2010, 12:11 GMT

    A throughly entertaining piece!

  • Alain gottcheiner on June 2, 2010, 12:02 GMT

    I don't see the point of this text. You've seen a competent team playing against a recent member's team, and the most experienced have won. So what ? Now the author himself recognizes that Bangladesh has sensibly progressed over the last (er, first) years. What does this come from, if not from having played against better teams ? How do you learn winning if you don't at first try drawing ? Does he want Bangladesh to remain an underdog by depriving them from the right of playing difficult matches ?

    This looks very much like the French saying that, because shoes always hurt when you put them on for the first time, you should begin with the second time.

  • Kris on June 2, 2010, 11:46 GMT

    Including Mark Richardson in that second XI is a bit harsh!

  • abdul qadir on June 2, 2010, 11:24 GMT

    great great column

    it was full of cricket knowledge and loads and loads of fun

    grat job

  • JGHB on June 2, 2010, 11:24 GMT

    Brilliant and cogent as ever, Andy. My only quibble is the selection of Mark Richardson for the underachievers on the Lord's boards XI - Richardson was a very fine opener, probably NZ's best (excluding Fleming, who was really a no.3) since Turner. A bit Trevor Franklin, I concede, but that's what an otherwise flashy NZ batting line-up needed.

  • dr.ramdas rai on June 2, 2010, 10:59 GMT

    very humourous. regards, dr.ramdas rai, st.helena

  • CricketPissek on June 2, 2010, 10:26 GMT

    Z man back in form! Loved this article, Andy. Loved it. Especially the two XIs at the end

  • themistocles on June 2, 2010, 10:12 GMT

    Brilliant and hilarious as ever...

    Slightly obscure, but inspired by your last piece about Mudassar Nazzar, what do you consider to be the most underwhelming feat of greatness? Like a mediocre medium-pacer taking a five-for at Lord's, kind-of-thing...

  • Mark on June 2, 2010, 10:08 GMT

    "The statistics suggest unarguably that Ashraful is a 6’6”-plus West Indian paceman trapped in the body of an underachieving 5’6”-minus Bangladeshi batsman" - lolz

  • Sumeet on June 2, 2010, 9:31 GMT

    Awesome!! really hillarios. Andy at his witty best. "Trott took the opportunity to bump his Test average up from 37 to 53, mutating from a Neil McKenzie to a Virender Sehwag over five days of ruthless accumulation. It would take six consecutive ducks for Trott to re-McKenzify his average".....almost died laughing

  • simon on June 2, 2010, 9:14 GMT

    Thanks Andy, brightened my day considerably. Again. As always.

    "blitztrundle" is a truly wonderful word :)

  • Nasir on June 2, 2010, 9:09 GMT

    Andy, no doubt it was my beloved cricket team which you had taken to task...but I really can't stop laughing while reading this silently (and stealthily) at office.

    Lord’s has long inspired foreign batsmen... amongst others, Don Bradman, Mohsin Khan, Gordon Greenidge and Jonathan Trott....Ho ho ho...ha h aha

  • Adway on June 2, 2010, 8:22 GMT

    Rather run of a mill... Common Andy... Bring on that Sarcastic English Humor. You have (again) written an article that could have been flowed out of a dried fountain pen of any other writer. Give us the real Andy stuff.

  • Saad on June 2, 2010, 8:19 GMT

    "Trott took the opportunity to bump his Test average up from 37 to 53, mutating from a Neil McKenzie to a Virender Sehwag over five days of ruthless accumulation." Simply Hilarious... LOL...

  • srikkanth on June 2, 2010, 8:12 GMT

    if any of the current test playing nations were playing in the FIFA worldcup with their cricket squad, who do you think would win?

  • R Sivasubramaniam on June 2, 2010, 8:09 GMT

    HI Andy I thought that Murali was another high performer not on the Lord's Honour List. Siva from Singapore

  • Rishabh on June 2, 2010, 7:59 GMT

    Of course you'd mention Agarkar.

  • Sohel ahmed on June 2, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    Wish you were there and writing your confectionary stall when England were being constantly humiliated by West Indian quickies in the mid and late 80s on a regular basis.

  • Anonymous on June 2, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    I wish you were there writing your confectionary stall when England were being continuously humiliated by West indian quickies in the mid and late 80s on a regular basis and scoring totals under 100 runs quite frequently.

  • Savin Khanna on June 2, 2010, 7:23 GMT

    awesome a gem of an article.

  • Aaron on June 2, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    In answer to your question of who would win the answer is simple: No one. You just suggested a side with three New Zealand openers in it. If any of the three (but particularly Richardson and Franklin) got into a partnership the game would have to be called off after the umpires expired from terminal boredom.

    For my question then, perhaps you can find out if any umpires ever died while performing their duties - or failing that what the greatest near fatality was. Surely there's a good story in there somewhere

  • Mick on June 2, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    I think it would be a draw. The "not on Honors board" team would bat first, but due to overly negative bowling from the honors team, Athers & Sunil would bat the entire first day for only 200 runs, and by the time they declare at 600-4 on the third morning, the honors team would be able to deadbat their way through the remaining 6 sessions, with rain wiping out 2 sessions of course.

  • Ashish on June 2, 2010, 7:00 GMT

    Is someone else ghost writing this blog now or has the Indian summer heat withered away my sense of humour?! Andy used to have me rolling in the aisles normally but now the humour seems forced and I can hardly be asked to even break out into a smile! Maybe he is a victim of his own success and trying too hard now

  • Ramkumar on June 2, 2010, 6:54 GMT

    haha! absolutely hilarious. I sincerely wish Ashraful reads this.

  • Chinar on June 2, 2010, 6:26 GMT

    Sir, you are the Sachin Tendulkar of cricket humour! This was indeed a masterpiece. And here's a question for you - What are the chances of John Howard getting his name on the Lord's honour board?

  • Hemant Brar on June 2, 2010, 6:23 GMT

    Now I feel that you are really back!!!! A really good article....enjoyed it like I enjoy Chris Martin's batting and Gautam Gambhir's running between the wickets...and of course Kamran Akmal's goal-keeping...

  • J on June 2, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    im studying for the exams and stressing so much...and then i come across this article...made my day :)...you are wonderful. thankyou

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • J on June 2, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    im studying for the exams and stressing so much...and then i come across this article...made my day :)...you are wonderful. thankyou

  • Hemant Brar on June 2, 2010, 6:23 GMT

    Now I feel that you are really back!!!! A really good article....enjoyed it like I enjoy Chris Martin's batting and Gautam Gambhir's running between the wickets...and of course Kamran Akmal's goal-keeping...

  • Chinar on June 2, 2010, 6:26 GMT

    Sir, you are the Sachin Tendulkar of cricket humour! This was indeed a masterpiece. And here's a question for you - What are the chances of John Howard getting his name on the Lord's honour board?

  • Ramkumar on June 2, 2010, 6:54 GMT

    haha! absolutely hilarious. I sincerely wish Ashraful reads this.

  • Ashish on June 2, 2010, 7:00 GMT

    Is someone else ghost writing this blog now or has the Indian summer heat withered away my sense of humour?! Andy used to have me rolling in the aisles normally but now the humour seems forced and I can hardly be asked to even break out into a smile! Maybe he is a victim of his own success and trying too hard now

  • Mick on June 2, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    I think it would be a draw. The "not on Honors board" team would bat first, but due to overly negative bowling from the honors team, Athers & Sunil would bat the entire first day for only 200 runs, and by the time they declare at 600-4 on the third morning, the honors team would be able to deadbat their way through the remaining 6 sessions, with rain wiping out 2 sessions of course.

  • Aaron on June 2, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    In answer to your question of who would win the answer is simple: No one. You just suggested a side with three New Zealand openers in it. If any of the three (but particularly Richardson and Franklin) got into a partnership the game would have to be called off after the umpires expired from terminal boredom.

    For my question then, perhaps you can find out if any umpires ever died while performing their duties - or failing that what the greatest near fatality was. Surely there's a good story in there somewhere

  • Savin Khanna on June 2, 2010, 7:23 GMT

    awesome a gem of an article.

  • Anonymous on June 2, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    I wish you were there writing your confectionary stall when England were being continuously humiliated by West indian quickies in the mid and late 80s on a regular basis and scoring totals under 100 runs quite frequently.

  • Sohel ahmed on June 2, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    Wish you were there and writing your confectionary stall when England were being constantly humiliated by West Indian quickies in the mid and late 80s on a regular basis.