July 11, 2010

Mike Holmans

Bangladesh win shows how far they still have to go

Mike Holmans

Bangladesh beat England for the first time in any format on July 10 © Getty Images

Congratulations to Bangladesh on their first win against England! Now they have completed the set by beating all the top eight teams; presumably they can take their stamped bingo card to the prize counter in Dubai and get a lifetime supply of falafel or a giant fluffy rabbit.

As with their previous wins against the senior teams, the Tigers caught their opponents having a bad day (I was going to say “caught them on the hop”, but that would have been in poor taste given Ian Bell's unlucky injury). England's catching was poor, their bowling lacklustre and their batting as ghastly as it's been in quite a while, and Bangladesh were competent and cool-headed enough to capitalise. But it's a measure of how far they haven't come that their celebrations were so ecstatic: they will have truly advanced only when they are merely quite pleased rather than flabbergasted when they win.

Bangladeshi ODI wins are still rare enough that each prompts the odd reflection on their previous ones. I immediately recalled their last victory on a tour of England and Wales, when they beat Australia at Cardiff in 2005. That was based around a magnificent hundred by Mohammed Ashraful, who then seemed on the road to stardom.

As we now know, though, Ashraful has hardly scored an international run in ages and is one of the biggest disappointments of the last decade. The moaners who insist on disputing the Tigers' credentials will no doubt suggest that one couldn't expect anything better, but I doubt that it has anything to do with him being Bangladeshi and everything to do with him being a cricketer. If anything, the decline of Ashraful is an indicator of progress, albeit somewhat perverse. The growing chorus that he should be dropped because Bangladesh now have better batsmen who don't fail all the time is what you don't hear from emerging nations with no self-confidence.

Every country brings forward the odd player who has a spectacular rise and looks like a potential world-beater but fades almost as fast, for reasons no one actually understands although they spend forever debating them. Vinod Kambli and Steve Harmison were both going to become legends, and are now only legendary for their failures. Though they are obviously young enough to come again as Ricky Ponting did, JP Duminy and Ajantha Mendis have lost places which seemed to be theirs for the next decade and are nowhere near their predicted superstardom. These at least put Ashraful in reasonable company.

It underlines how uncertain sporting predictions are, and that the only sensible advice about them is contained in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: “Expect the unexpected”.

Which is what I was driving at in my last piece when suggesting it plausible that England could win the ICC World Cup final in a few months' time. I am thoroughly convinced by Michael Jeh's view that although West Indies are probably outsiders and New Zealand would have to undergo their customary World Cup transformation, any of the other six top teams can win without it being a huge surprise. Those commenters who earnestly mounted elaborate arguments to show my suggestion was utterly silly because of how marvellous other teams were are invited to consider how well similar pre-tournament punditry panned out with regard to the FIFA World Cup, in which England were supposed to lose their semi-final to Brazil.

However, despite their win yesterday, I am pretty confident that Bangladesh will not be a finalist: the interesting question is which of the fancied outfits they will fell.

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Posted by Asiq on (July 20, 2010, 17:58 GMT)

Congratulations to Bangladesh for for defeat all the test playing team. I I wish Bangladesh can win regular in any format, but it’s a young team. So, Bangladesh need more time to become a strong team in cricket.

Posted by Gerry Hancock on (July 15, 2010, 22:30 GMT)

Was delighted to see Bangldesh get their long awaited win. However, I was more delighted to see Ireland beat them by 7 wickets in the first ODI today in Belfast. Hoping for a similar reault tomorrow in the second ODI.

Posted by Ramond on (July 14, 2010, 14:54 GMT)

Mike, do you know the average age of these Bangladeshi players? Don't you think how they celebrated had something to do with their lack of ability to check their emotions due to their tender age? Don't you remember Tamim admitting crying like a baby after losing (the winning game) to Eng in Dhaka? If someone if young enough to admit that they cried after a loss, why wouldn't they celebrate the way they did after a win against the same opposition and that's after 247 days?

Posted by Nayeem Chaudhury on (July 12, 2010, 22:16 GMT)

If we look at the past two series that Bangladesh have played (except Asia cup), they have given good account of themselves lately. As pointed out by others here only luck and sometimes the inexperience held us back from winning those matches. It's really bothersome to see how "Cricket writers" tend to stereotype Bangladesh's wins. "As with their previous wins against the senior teams, the Tigers caught their opponents having a bad day"-this comment epitomize my argument. If this were to be true, I wonder how many times Eng has won when better oppositions had a "GOOD DAY".(no disrespect to the eng team). To be honest you would find "English wins are still rare enough that each prompts the odd reflection on their previous ones"....We all know to lose one team must have a "BAD DAY"...

Posted by Nur on (July 12, 2010, 22:07 GMT)

I believe Mike wanted to see more of a mature Bangladesh then the child-like excitement during the win after. That is one way of looking at it, of course. However, not making an excuse, after 247 winless days I think even an emotionless team would pump the air. ... simple! oh Ashraful!... yeah... Ashraful should have done better. (period)! Why we always bash on his talent vs reality? Every team has players like him. Just for the fact that we haven't been having the right replacement we always relied on his match experiences over his personal success. Why wasting time talking about what he could have done and what not. There is more than ONE match winner in the team now a days. Why we still loathing on his failure? ... pointless! Proud of the team. Could have done better...yeah... but it's not all that bad. I guess all the other team should have done better according to their current position... why tickle Bangladesh team? ... lol!

Posted by Shafiq O. on (July 12, 2010, 20:43 GMT)

Congratulations to BD cricket team for their win. They needed a win badly to keep themselves inspired to continue to play & enjoy.

BD is surely showing signs of improvement. I believe the talents are definitely there but it is the mental make up of some of our young players which causes shocking failures at times. Notice, these players are selected from different corners of this country & not any more only from the big cities like Dhaka & Chittagong. Playing in the big stages at times are very challenging for the young small town individuals. May be a (or a few) good sports psychologist can be of good use to this upcoming team. Wishing them continues success.

Posted by Md Anisur Rahman on (July 12, 2010, 10:26 GMT)

At first i would like to congratulate Bangladesh team for their performance.I also appriciate all the comments.bangladesh is really playing good and competeting cricke fo last couple of years.It was only experience and luck which did not favour us.I have one resevation regarding umpires.Most often we see that umpires do not hajitate to give out doubtful lbw against small team(example Tamims lbw in Ist ODI).In the same case no umpire woud give that lbw if it would be against Tendulkar or Ponting,May be because of media.Had it been against tendulkar the carrier of that umpire wouuld at threat.Thats why i suggest the smaller team should take the advantage of referel system.

Posted by Mohammad Solaimun Rasel on (July 12, 2010, 9:30 GMT)

Well said Tausif Salim, long live Bangladesh & 1000/million/billion Cheers for Tigers who claimed the historic & heroic victory over England

Posted by bosky bhardwaj on (July 12, 2010, 9:29 GMT)

it is so very hartening to see two cricket lovers Tausif and Sakib fighting for their cricket team despite repeated failures....on the other hand we indian cricket fans start blamming our cricketers..after every loss.

And yes i do agree with them..this cricket crazy nation do have a bright future...their team has always showed the promise..but somehow they are unable to take that one big step...I wish them all the luck.

Posted by Mark on (July 12, 2010, 9:09 GMT)

@Sakib Jamal: 'Imagine keeping faith in a team that didn't win a match for almost a year.'

Yup, England fan mate, we get it, I remember the 90s.

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