January 29, 2010

The future looks rosy for Bangladesh

They have a good allrounder who could be their permanent captain and they have talent sprinkled through the team but need a solid No. 3, a fit Mortaza and better out-cricket
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Bangladesh may have lost the series but there are unmistakable signs of green shoots there. Hopefully, unlike the economists, we won't have to keep revising our estimates, for Bangladesh have hinted at progress before and fallen well short. But there are leading indicators and they are looking better than they have for a while. They now need three things to happen: Mashrafe Mortaza to return, a solid batsman at No. 3 and their sports minister to stay away from cricketing judgement.

At last they have an allrounder. Shakib Al Hasan is the best spinner in Bangladesh and easily fits into the top six. And, in a welcome departure from deep-rooted trends, he bowls with a beautifully straight arm. I suspect too that in him they have found the right captain. There is an assurance about the way he carries himself and it doesn't seem to affect his performance. He needs time though and, as we have seen on either side of India, it is a luxury captains are denied.

There are a couple of decent seamers in Shahadat Hossain and Rubel Hossain and a third, ideally Mortaza, would be very handy. And they have an opener who likes to get on with it. There will be days when Tamim Iqbal will invite criticism for impetuosity but that comes with his style. Like Shakib, though, he needs time for he looks like he will become a special player for them. His 151 reminded me of one other; Mohammad Ashraful's incandescent 158 not out in Chittagong a few years ago. Since then Ashraful has stayed where he was with only an occasional allowance to his special ability. Luckily for Tamim, he is coming through at a time when Bangladesh are seeing a little more success and hopefully that will make him, and others around him, a little more positive.

In time to come Mahmudullah will move up the order. His offbreaks are unlikely to be his best friends for long and, like Sri Lanka's Thilan Samaraweera, he might become a batting allrounder and eventually, a batsman. Indeed that is where he might serve Bangladesh better because they need someone a little more reliable in the top four.

Subcontinental weakness
For all these green shoots, though, Bangladesh lost rather easily. And I'm sure their coach will point out the real reasons. They, like almost everyone in our part of the world, don't seem too keen to do the simple things well. Better catching in the first Test might have embarrassed India a little more and a no-ball less might have made the second Test a little more interesting. But this problem is not theirs alone. Pakistan's fielding too has been woeful and while India catch well at most times, their out-cricket still gives you the impression it is a generation behind time.

It is an area the Asian countries have rarely been inclined to excel at. It could be that we are not natural athletes but increasingly I think it is because our young men play no sport other than cricket. Far too early in life (I met someone recently who asked what his six-year old should do to become a top cricketer!), they commit to cricket and, that inevitably means, to batting and bowling. And so our fast bowlers are not natural sprinters, our fielders don't have great throwing arms and nobody takes enough catches in practice. Inevitably, then, the Asian teams have to play 10% better to win a match.

India's batting future
India seem to have a couple of slots opening up in the middle order and that may not be such a bad thing. The first slot is the easiest to fill. If Rahul Dravid is not ready, Murali Vijay can bat at No. 3 but it is at Nos. 5 and 6 that an interesting debate seems forthcoming. There is little doubt that the first slot should go to S Badrinath. I know there is much to be said in favour of giving in-form batsmen a go but Badrinath has done everything in Indian cricket except play for India. If the selectors want to look elsewhere they need look no further than Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara.

The greater fear though is with the bowling. Ishant Sharma took wickets but looked well short of top form in Bangladesh, Sreesanth is injured, RP Singh hasn't demanded the world look at him, neither has Irfan Pathan with the ball and Munaf Patel, I'm told, is around somewhere. It leads to a rather scary conclusion. If Zaheer Khan breaks down, India might just be the side to queue up to bat against.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • aditya87 on January 31, 2010, 21:55 GMT

    @Rahul_78: I totally agree with you man. Harbhajan should be dropped, and made to play Ranji until he gets his form back. They should pick another offspinner --- Ojha is a good bowler but you can't have him and Mishra in the same team...for the sake of variety. I know there are a couple of good offspinners in domestic cricket, we should give another youngster a chance. To be honest, our bowling attack at the moment looks out of form and weak. Only Zaheer and Ojha are doing well. Ishant in my view is still struggling, Sreesanth was never really consistent. I believe that Ashish Nehra should be a given a chance to play Test cricket again. He is a much improved bowler and he can do well in the long form if his fitness holds (which is of course a big if). Also we should play less one-day cricket, because ODIs in the subcontinent generally destroy the confidence of our bowlers -- I mean we don't have Anil Kumble anymore who was amazing at home.

  • John-Price on January 31, 2010, 10:38 GMT

    This is a very rosy view of Bangladesh cricket; their problem is not just the lack of victories. It is the fact that they always lose (50 out of 53 excluding Zim and WI 4th XI). They had a chance to draw the first test against India, but concentrated playing shots - what use is a scoring rate of 4 per over when you are trying to save the match? Bangladesh have a lot of talented players but they owe it to world cricket to start treating test cricket with the respect it deserves.

  • Rahul_78 on January 31, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    Harsha, Being one of the best commentator, writer with unbiased views in indian cricket I need to hear your openion on harbhajan singh. It is time for people to acknowledge and understand it is a scenario where 'Empror has no clothes'. He seems to be untouchable. Agreed the cupboards are bare in spinn dept but what are the stats for harbhajan a no 1 spinner from no 1 rated test country? Everytime he comes in bowles loads of over for trickle of wickets and blame is put on the flat test pitches. "Pitch didnt had anything to offer hence our fast bowlers needed to step in" was dhonis comments in 2nd test against Banglas. With all due respect to bangla boys if your no spiner is relying on wicket to take turn on 4th day to take wickets then does he diserve to be in the side? Zaheer is undoubtedly no 1 bowler for india and if he is not there then can we rely on harbhajan to rescue india like zaheer did in bangladesh? And selectors are not even picking another offspiner in the squad of 14.

  • FrenchCricketFan on January 31, 2010, 5:35 GMT

    I think indians are number#1 cricket fans and these cricket fanatics deserve their team to be like mighty aussies or win the worldcup again. For that to happen, they need to improve their balling depertment.They sometimes produce 1 or 2 superb ballers like zaheer but they need more and be consistent . Once they become like their pakistani brethren who always produce quality ballers , india would be much stronger team. As for bengal, they are certainly improving in good pace and they will definitely become a proper test playing nation in near future. For now Bangladesh should look for potential (future) , not present (form/experience) . Aftab ahmed should be given chance, Riyad should be promoted and NAEEM Islam should be trained in batting. This Naeem Islam got mega-talent in batting, someone should tell this ordinary baller to forget balling and if he is trained in batting he would be a dangerous batsman for bangladesh in futurre. They also need stable openers, tamim is not good.

  • K_Saxena on January 31, 2010, 2:03 GMT

    @chand. While I do agree that India could have tested some of the younger players in this series but it wouldn't have been a good idea to rest Sachin and Dravid. Both of them are nearing the end of their career and both of them want to finish with a good overall career record. With Ponting closely chasing Sachin in terms of the number of centuries, this series certianly helped him increase that gap. At the same time, Dravid is looking to surpass Lara in terms of total number of career runs scored and hopefully finish above Ponting. So there is quite an individual race going on at present and games against Bangladesh is easy meat...

  • FlashyPlayer on January 30, 2010, 18:39 GMT

    I thought Bangladesh are right there, need some adjustments mentally. They need to learn to play smart cricket. They had India down in 1st test first innings and also in 2nd test. Concentration is the key both during batting and fielding. It was batting and fielding which let them down. Individually Ashraful needs to learn quickly or take a break. He needs to take some tips from Gautham Gambhir. He has some exceptional shots but at the same time he needs to learn to respect bowlers, have patience and concentrate. Shakib is a good bowler, Rahim has the technique to stay for long and play good shots too. He needs to be number 3/4. If Junaid is playing then Rahim can play 4. Mahmudullah needs promotion too. He batted exceptionally well in 2 innings this series. Bangladesh needs to find a better partner for Tamim. Good Luck to Bangladesh!!

    For India, watch out for bouncers. Yuvraj learn to play moving ball and good spin. Improve your technique there. Bowlers, only good in patches.

  • VipulPatki on January 30, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    Great article Harsha... But I wonder how long will it take for the green shoots to blossom into a great tree. I think Tamim Iqbal was just plain lucky that day to get to the score he got in the second innings. Others were not so lucky and perished. I also fail to understand what's the need for Bangla fans to sound so menacing everytime somebody speaks of their uncertain future. They keep harping about India's ouster from WC'07 every time their weaknesses are pointed out by any Indian fan. Their horrible sentence construction just adds to the readers' irritation while reading the comments to your article.

  • tfjones1978 on January 30, 2010, 9:20 GMT

    ICC needs to allow the best teams to compete at an elite level. 4 year test world cup consisting of Y1 4 groups of 5, Yrs2-3 Super Eights, Yr 4 Semi & Final. This would allow around 40 tests over 4 years with only 6 tests against minnows. All 20 teams have 12 month chance of getting into top 8 by winning (rain result is win to higher rank), with option of 2nd tier for years 2-4 (World Plate).

  • on January 30, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    Bangladesh has a great potentiality and they have the ability to defeat any team. Ashraful is very good on his bating style. i think he should be little bit passionate with his performance.Tamim, sakib, musfiq and riad also a better weapon for Bangladesh. Mashrafe the captain is world class bowler. with all this i m hopeful about Banladesh. I love Bangladesh and Bangladesh Cricket Team.

  • on January 30, 2010, 7:04 GMT

    I agree to the comments of Mr. H.Bhogle.Apart ,we need a good opener who can assist Tamim.Most significantly, we need to change our player's mind set up. They play episodically well but cricket is a game where you need all side well performance till the end.Our player need to have more patience and calmness. they become very excited and that is why we see game like last test match with India where 7 wickets gone for 22 .this is a shame and pity to spoil Tamim's great build up.I do not know what the players are thinking now after this. they should have a target while playing and someone should always guide them not to play wrong shots when under pressure to prevent wicket falling like bricks fall.

  • aditya87 on January 31, 2010, 21:55 GMT

    @Rahul_78: I totally agree with you man. Harbhajan should be dropped, and made to play Ranji until he gets his form back. They should pick another offspinner --- Ojha is a good bowler but you can't have him and Mishra in the same team...for the sake of variety. I know there are a couple of good offspinners in domestic cricket, we should give another youngster a chance. To be honest, our bowling attack at the moment looks out of form and weak. Only Zaheer and Ojha are doing well. Ishant in my view is still struggling, Sreesanth was never really consistent. I believe that Ashish Nehra should be a given a chance to play Test cricket again. He is a much improved bowler and he can do well in the long form if his fitness holds (which is of course a big if). Also we should play less one-day cricket, because ODIs in the subcontinent generally destroy the confidence of our bowlers -- I mean we don't have Anil Kumble anymore who was amazing at home.

  • John-Price on January 31, 2010, 10:38 GMT

    This is a very rosy view of Bangladesh cricket; their problem is not just the lack of victories. It is the fact that they always lose (50 out of 53 excluding Zim and WI 4th XI). They had a chance to draw the first test against India, but concentrated playing shots - what use is a scoring rate of 4 per over when you are trying to save the match? Bangladesh have a lot of talented players but they owe it to world cricket to start treating test cricket with the respect it deserves.

  • Rahul_78 on January 31, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    Harsha, Being one of the best commentator, writer with unbiased views in indian cricket I need to hear your openion on harbhajan singh. It is time for people to acknowledge and understand it is a scenario where 'Empror has no clothes'. He seems to be untouchable. Agreed the cupboards are bare in spinn dept but what are the stats for harbhajan a no 1 spinner from no 1 rated test country? Everytime he comes in bowles loads of over for trickle of wickets and blame is put on the flat test pitches. "Pitch didnt had anything to offer hence our fast bowlers needed to step in" was dhonis comments in 2nd test against Banglas. With all due respect to bangla boys if your no spiner is relying on wicket to take turn on 4th day to take wickets then does he diserve to be in the side? Zaheer is undoubtedly no 1 bowler for india and if he is not there then can we rely on harbhajan to rescue india like zaheer did in bangladesh? And selectors are not even picking another offspiner in the squad of 14.

  • FrenchCricketFan on January 31, 2010, 5:35 GMT

    I think indians are number#1 cricket fans and these cricket fanatics deserve their team to be like mighty aussies or win the worldcup again. For that to happen, they need to improve their balling depertment.They sometimes produce 1 or 2 superb ballers like zaheer but they need more and be consistent . Once they become like their pakistani brethren who always produce quality ballers , india would be much stronger team. As for bengal, they are certainly improving in good pace and they will definitely become a proper test playing nation in near future. For now Bangladesh should look for potential (future) , not present (form/experience) . Aftab ahmed should be given chance, Riyad should be promoted and NAEEM Islam should be trained in batting. This Naeem Islam got mega-talent in batting, someone should tell this ordinary baller to forget balling and if he is trained in batting he would be a dangerous batsman for bangladesh in futurre. They also need stable openers, tamim is not good.

  • K_Saxena on January 31, 2010, 2:03 GMT

    @chand. While I do agree that India could have tested some of the younger players in this series but it wouldn't have been a good idea to rest Sachin and Dravid. Both of them are nearing the end of their career and both of them want to finish with a good overall career record. With Ponting closely chasing Sachin in terms of the number of centuries, this series certianly helped him increase that gap. At the same time, Dravid is looking to surpass Lara in terms of total number of career runs scored and hopefully finish above Ponting. So there is quite an individual race going on at present and games against Bangladesh is easy meat...

  • FlashyPlayer on January 30, 2010, 18:39 GMT

    I thought Bangladesh are right there, need some adjustments mentally. They need to learn to play smart cricket. They had India down in 1st test first innings and also in 2nd test. Concentration is the key both during batting and fielding. It was batting and fielding which let them down. Individually Ashraful needs to learn quickly or take a break. He needs to take some tips from Gautham Gambhir. He has some exceptional shots but at the same time he needs to learn to respect bowlers, have patience and concentrate. Shakib is a good bowler, Rahim has the technique to stay for long and play good shots too. He needs to be number 3/4. If Junaid is playing then Rahim can play 4. Mahmudullah needs promotion too. He batted exceptionally well in 2 innings this series. Bangladesh needs to find a better partner for Tamim. Good Luck to Bangladesh!!

    For India, watch out for bouncers. Yuvraj learn to play moving ball and good spin. Improve your technique there. Bowlers, only good in patches.

  • VipulPatki on January 30, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    Great article Harsha... But I wonder how long will it take for the green shoots to blossom into a great tree. I think Tamim Iqbal was just plain lucky that day to get to the score he got in the second innings. Others were not so lucky and perished. I also fail to understand what's the need for Bangla fans to sound so menacing everytime somebody speaks of their uncertain future. They keep harping about India's ouster from WC'07 every time their weaknesses are pointed out by any Indian fan. Their horrible sentence construction just adds to the readers' irritation while reading the comments to your article.

  • tfjones1978 on January 30, 2010, 9:20 GMT

    ICC needs to allow the best teams to compete at an elite level. 4 year test world cup consisting of Y1 4 groups of 5, Yrs2-3 Super Eights, Yr 4 Semi & Final. This would allow around 40 tests over 4 years with only 6 tests against minnows. All 20 teams have 12 month chance of getting into top 8 by winning (rain result is win to higher rank), with option of 2nd tier for years 2-4 (World Plate).

  • on January 30, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    Bangladesh has a great potentiality and they have the ability to defeat any team. Ashraful is very good on his bating style. i think he should be little bit passionate with his performance.Tamim, sakib, musfiq and riad also a better weapon for Bangladesh. Mashrafe the captain is world class bowler. with all this i m hopeful about Banladesh. I love Bangladesh and Bangladesh Cricket Team.

  • on January 30, 2010, 7:04 GMT

    I agree to the comments of Mr. H.Bhogle.Apart ,we need a good opener who can assist Tamim.Most significantly, we need to change our player's mind set up. They play episodically well but cricket is a game where you need all side well performance till the end.Our player need to have more patience and calmness. they become very excited and that is why we see game like last test match with India where 7 wickets gone for 22 .this is a shame and pity to spoil Tamim's great build up.I do not know what the players are thinking now after this. they should have a target while playing and someone should always guide them not to play wrong shots when under pressure to prevent wicket falling like bricks fall.

  • on January 30, 2010, 1:36 GMT

    To GANESSINV ,

    Bangladesh is 'Ordinary' for India. Because in Tri Series Srilanka was no1, India 2 and Bd 3. India is number 1 (although lost tri-series!!!) and BD is very Ordinary for India, however BD can kickout India from worldcup! So beware of tigers my friend and do not under estimate any one, that is the top tip for you today!

  • AjayB on January 29, 2010, 22:10 GMT

    I agree. Thanks to ESPN360, I was able to watch the games in the US. Bangladesh definitely has a very good group of youngsters and a balanced Captain in Shakib. Let them not fret over results yet, in my opinion, the results will come with time. They deserve all the exposure they can get.

    The results do not truly reflect the potential in this young team, and hopefully the words of wisdom from long-time followers of the sport find the right targets. I, for one, will be watching them more expectantly and who knows, in 8 years time, we will have a brand new World Champion in one day cricket from the sub-continent.

  • on January 29, 2010, 19:58 GMT

    I agree with your assesment about Indian Pace bowling department. Sreesanth is injured, Nehra is not keen on playing Test matches, R.P.Singh, Irfan, Munaf, Ashok Dinda have not done anything to catch attention of selectors. Batting All rounder like Abhishek Naiyaar doesn't have the quality to suceed at Test level. As for spinners, Harbhajan has just stagnated over the period of last 2-3 years. It feels like he is just playing for his place in the team. In the ODI's, he does not attack at all and looks just to keep the runs down.In tests, he needs a helpful pitch to make an impact on the game. He has lost the loop in his bowling and is getting away being a senior in the team. Add to this, the team management's policy of not giving Amit Mishra enough chances. He was made to sit out of 2nd test even after taking 7 wickets in the 1st test. If Zaheer breaks down, S Africa batsmen would be licking their lips in anticipation of huge scores possible on batsmen friendly indian tracks !!!

  • on January 29, 2010, 19:30 GMT

    I think India missed a chance to blood youngsters on Bangladesh tour. Sachin and Dravid scoring centuries doesn't make a jot of difference to their aura. but It could have given a valuable insight into our bench strength.The only seniors on this tour should have been Zaheer as he was coming back from injury,May be Gambhir as he is in a purple patch you wouldn't wan't to lose it + Ishant and Sri. all the rest could have been younsters, Pujara,Nayar,Mithun, Kohli,Gony,Ashwin,Manoj tiwary and saha etc should have been tried out. Pity.

  • on January 29, 2010, 19:14 GMT

    The Indian bowling department, other than spin bowling, has been a revolving door since Srinath retired. Ian Chappell was right, our bowling isn't up to the task of keeping us at No.1.

  • bulla on January 29, 2010, 18:40 GMT

    Sure, India may have won a Test only 20 years after their debut, but it must be remembered, there was no cricket anywhere in the world for about a decade due to a minor thing called WWII. And of course, the number of Tests played was nothing compared to modern times, so that comparison may not be the best one to prop up Bangladesh's case.

  • shahrias on January 29, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    Inexperience teams make mistakes. Bangladesh made them, on the other side of the world, Pakistan made them. No doubt Pakistan is a much better team than Bangladesh, but in terms of experience they are close and I think it was pretty obvious from the way the teams folded in crucial times. Every team seems to want Bangladesh to perform better but no one's willing to give us the exposure and the experience. (India, sorry to say, are leading the way with the only country yet to invite us for a series). The no. 1 test nation in the world were under pressure for 2 days each in both tests playing against the lowest ranked team in the world. I certainly don't find that ordinary. Moving on. What happened to Rohit Sharma, the guy looked like the best of the young lot a few yeras back.

  • sreeb on January 29, 2010, 18:12 GMT

    Harsha as you said (in most of the commentaries) at times Indian batting looks gr8 on paper but given a chance to youngsters its would be intresting to see how many could even match the class laxman or techinic of Dravid. These kind of players are very rare in test cricket and its extremely important for the cricket fraternity in india to horne the youngsters to atleast demosntrate 5% of these batting stallwarts talents. It looks future of Indian cricket will in trouble once these folks retire. And for the bowers its the media thats spoiling them Irfan/Ishant is the best example for it. He was given much of hype on his debut and their Australian persuits. Promoting Irfan consistently to top order was a sin committed by Mr Guru greg :).

  • TawsifSalam on January 29, 2010, 17:51 GMT

    Bangladesh didn't win matches against India and that's mostly for India's good cricket and the experience they have in tests. Bangladesh appeared to have done a series of mistakes, but an analysis should show that they could have secured a draw if there were none of those.

    And yes, it's true that Bangladesh doesn't look to take the time that Sri Lanka took for having, as Pri Kand said, the mental strength and good consistency.

  • Tiptop32 on January 29, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    I dont think future is rosy for BD in Tests(atleast). BD tests can only help the opponent batsman/bowlers to improve thier personal records. Teams like BD are lowering the quality of the Test matches. The Tests involved with BD are so much one-sided that they are not worth discussing. BD should be nurtured in Tests with A teams from Top 8 cricket nations. BD should be allowed to play tests only with A teams of Top 8 nations until they improve and become competitive and then they should be introduced to Intl events. ICC had made big mistake by giving Intl status to BD in Test matches. BD should also prove themselves in T20 and ODI by producing consistent results not in once in a blue moon win. They have lot of scope for improvement and let us jump ahead of the gun. The recently concluded tri-series involving Ind, SL and BD is a classic example where none of the matches are worth except the final involving Ind and SL(which is a very well known fact even before the start) due to BD.

  • on January 29, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    Alok, I have to disagree with you on there. Both tests, we were competing with the no. 1 ranked team for the most part. We made immature mistakes and that cost us. If you think that is so "ordinary", than you should look across to Pakistan in Australia, and see how they are wasting their good positions. Or do you think they are "ordinary" as well. Inexperienced teams make mistakes, and it is ridiculous that we are given barely any quality international cricket and still expected to just improve. It's been 10 years since we have started playing test cricket. The team needs more time. They need it from the supporters, the board and world cricket. As far as corruption is concerned, well, let's just hope for the best on that one.

  • crikkfan on January 29, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    Harsha, are you saying Badri should bat ahead of VVS ?? I would prefer VVS to the vital #3 slot (where everyknows he hit the unforgettable 281* from) and move Vijay or Badri to #6 behind Laxman. As far as bowling, Sreesanth should be back for #2, and Mithun can be blooded that too if Ishant fails to make an impact in test #1 - should make for an exciting threesome. Hopefully Nagpur is a spinning track and we can maek do with just 2 pacers.

  • vish515 on January 29, 2010, 16:20 GMT

    Abhishek nayyar deserves a chance. He's the man in form at the moment .We need to blood our batsmen when they are in form rather than the fact that they deserve a chance because they didnt get a look-in at an earlier time- Im sorry.badrinath did everything to get into the side but at the time there was no vacancy in the middle order- but now he's not in the best of nick so its just hard luck that he cant avail the opportunity now -when there is a slot available- but this slot should go to abhishek nayar because hes the man in form now plus Nayyar can bowl and is a decent fielder as well. The reason harsha has given above is precisely the reason Indian cricket doesnt progress beyond a point.Emotions should have no place when handing out the Indian cap -specially since the opponents are challenging for the top slot .Thats why the selection of mithun is a masterstroke-they should play him in the test. Otherwise a good article by harsha.

  • subz on January 29, 2010, 16:15 GMT

    Mr Trotter , india won its first test in 1952 , and in those 20 years they have played 22 test matches , 12 were drwan , all those test matches were against england,australia and westindies . who were mighty teams in those days . india has atleast managed to draw a test match against a major team i wonder wether bangladesh who has played 63 test matches so far has done it . india has managed to draw 60% of the tests played against well established and very stong teams . before u speak learn the facts , 22 tests in 20 years for a country going thourgh independence struggle and slavery is not easy, i would say people like to should shut their pie holes

  • Bang_La on January 29, 2010, 16:02 GMT

    Dear Harsha, You and Sunil Gavaskar, two Indian icons in cricket, show their kindness and sympathies to Bangladesh and always note if there is any glimmer of betterment. We thank YOU.

    As a Bangladesh fan and a long time cricket lover, I clearly see the reasons behind Bangladesh failures influenced by external and internal factors. External influences, you are fully aware, are the half baked international pundits and media who are driven by their owners' desire for maximizing profit. Since Bangladesh are not adding any profit by attracting more crowd to tv sets so Bangladesh is grilled :).

    I admit, I was quite taken a back by one of the infamous Chappels' prediction on India, although even his pants are bought from the money he makes through India-money powerhouse generates in cricket.

    Internally, Bangladesh are going an old Indian syndrome and now they need a Dhoni to make them stand up and say nay on the face of failures. The sooner, its the better.

  • AlokJoshi on January 29, 2010, 15:47 GMT

    I don't think an immediate rosy future lie ahead for B'desh test match cricket! The players don't adequately demonstrate an inclination to grind through five days. There are only weaknesses - ordinary batting, ordinary bowling, ordinary fielding. "Ordinary" is the word that fits them. They will remain so unless their mindset changes with a strong desire for outperformance on the cricketing field; otherwise, mouthful utterances in press conferences will only seem preposterous. Whilst Badrinath does not seem to fit the bill at # 5, I'll be glad if he scores a century on debut. I wish to see youngsters like Pujara, Virat, Rohit, Pandey groomed into the squad. The best among these will survive the longest- give them a chance! Fast bowlers' plight in India will continue until wickets are exciting from their perspective. If my memory serves me right, when a few flew erratically recently, the pitch was labeled unfit!

  • Bang_La on January 29, 2010, 15:35 GMT

    Dear Harsha, You and Sunil Gavaskar, two Indian icons in cricket, show their kindness and sympathies to Bangladesh and always note if there is any glimmer of betterment. We thank YOU.

    As a Bangladesh fan and a long time cricket lover, I clearly see the reasons behind Bangladesh failures influenced by external and internal factors. External influences, you are fully aware, are the half baked international pundits and media who are driven by their owners' desire for maximizing profit. Since Bangladesh are not adding any profit by attracting more crowd to tv sets so Bangladesh is grilled :).

    I admit, I was quite taken a back by one of the infamous Chappels' prediction on India, although even his pants are bought from the money he makes through India-money powerhouse generates in cricket.

    Internally, Bangladesh are going an old Indian syndrome and now they need a Dhoni to make them stand up and say nay on the face of failures. The sooner, its the better.

  • ww113 on January 29, 2010, 15:25 GMT

    Rosy future ? Bangladesh need 11 quality players,and they have only one or two.

  • Raghaven on January 29, 2010, 15:12 GMT

    Team India's batting isn't a worry. We have Sehwag, No.1 Test bastman Gambhir, Reliability in Dhoni and i am sure these young lads Raina, Virat, Murali, Pandey, Pujara will make sure the void is filled. I doubt yuvraj's temprament as batsman, may be he needs promotion in tests to bat at No.4. My Biggest worry is the spin department. Bowler's like Swann, Harris & Hauritz are shaking up the opposition which harbhajan has failed to do in the recent years. Only thing i get to remember abt his performance is 2001. Nothing after that. R.Ashwin is a good prospect in the same league as Hauritz and Swann. Simple off spinners. Ojha also doesn't have temprament. Amit Mishra is really good. Only thing he needs is more matches regularly. and good conversation with wrist spinners how to bowl in the line and length consistently.

  • subz on January 29, 2010, 15:11 GMT

    why harbhajan singh is still in the team and shoe me a one day ir test that he has won in the last two years apart from the tail ender wickets in nz.it baffles me that hez untouchable. i would rather give an young off spinner a chance.

  • SatyajitM on January 29, 2010, 15:07 GMT

    Harsha is right (typical of him). When the series completed, my thinking too was on the same line. Bangladesh has improved from the last time India visited. They are still not good enough to win or even draw against a side like India but improving nevertheless. Sakib, Tamim, Rahim, Mohamadullah, Sahadat are slowly getting some consistency. I see B'desh challenging the top teams little more in 3/4 years time. Many of the current lot of players are in early twenties and by then they will be in mid twenties and will be more stable in their game. Ashraful is a riddle. An average of 23 (also B'desh often plays against weaker teams) is criminal for a top order batsman. Also he appears to have some talent. I think he needs a top class sports psychiatrist. The way he threw out his wicket in the first innings of 2nd test (till then playing a fluent 39) was just shocking! He should talk to his Icon and Mumbai Indian captain about how to approach an innings.

  • on January 29, 2010, 14:22 GMT

    Bangladeshis lack one basic quality.The confidence to perform as a unit.They are still in the middle of the learning curve.I have a feeling the plateau phase is over and they have gradually enetered the peaking phase with the recent change of tempo.They need to be consistent and mentaly strong to perform at the bigger arena.From a Sri lankan point of view this has taken a long time but the situation can be different in BD.I believe their confidence will build up gradually with steady performances like that of against India and the day they pose a formidable threat to the so called great cricketing nations may not be that far.All the best BD.

  • Percy_Fender on January 29, 2010, 13:50 GMT

    India has a good future in cricket even if Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman were to retire now itself. While it will be difficult to fill the void caused by their retirement, I think in Rahane, Pujara,Sharma, Pandey, Mithun and and some of the U 19 players we have a fair enough core group to sustain our standing for some time to come. And given the money in cricket now, it is seen as a career option by many parents in India. This will obviously lead to greater levels of professionalism and committment apart from generating a larger pool to select from. I feel that financial security adds to the confidence levels of cricketers. This is where the current lot is at a distinct advantage. When Dravid and Laxman came in n the 90s we were not sure how successful they would be. A decade and a half has shown the world what they were capable of. Let us give the youngsters the chances they need and they will give India the success they look so much for in international cricket.

  • Percy_Fender on January 29, 2010, 13:31 GMT

    I am quite surprised to see that Bangladesh are not winning more often than they are doing at present. They have some very fine batsmen, a great allrounder, and a few excellent fast/fastmedium bowlers in their line-up and could really beat the best. I feel it is a lack of self belief which is holding them back.They need a good captain who is also a man of the world. Shakib is a great all rounder and a fine captain but perhaps comes short in regard to his level of authority with his players and his higher ups. I wonder if that can ever change. They may be missing someone like Ather Ali Khan.Him of the murderous build and forearms who one sees lurking amongst the spectators.Yes they need some counselling not to learn the latest expletives but to build that self belief. If someone like Ashraful -- a genius in my opinion-- has to bat as gingerly as one saw him against India I think the players are all insecure. I wish President Haseena would address this crucial subject as well.

  • trotter on January 29, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    Would like to tell all who commented that Bangladesh's test status should be stripped off because they are not performing (should I take not 'winning'?). If winning a game is the key condition to keep test status then India's test status should have been stripped off many many years ago. India scored their 1st win against England in 1952 - 20 years after the test debut. I suggest that you wait and see, within next few years Bangladesh will start challenging the so called big teams.

  • ankur_k2001 on January 29, 2010, 13:13 GMT

    Bangladesh now have 3-4 decent batsmen for the first time since they started playing. And also couple of good bowlers. They have the talent to play at the highest level. But, I think what they really need is a strong ruthless leader who can change the way players think of themselves. Its not easy to start winning matches when one has not seen many. They need a captain who can do what Arjuna Ranatunga did to SriLanka, Sourav Ganguly did to India (to an extend).

  • Sidhanta-Patnaik on January 29, 2010, 12:29 GMT

    Agree with Harsha as always. Badrinath needs to be given a chance to fail as he had famously demanded a few seasons back........ Bowling is looking down the barrel and Harbhajan somehow has lost the flair.

  • on January 29, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    In my opinion Bangladesh will blossom in its full potentiality by 2012 in test cricket. Thats 2 more years to go. But we have to keep the patience and believe in them. We have to be more to the point in team selection. Ashraful will be always a question mark while we have potential performer like mahmudullah and nayeem islam on the rack. We need a soild number 3. and mahmudullah seems an answer to that( though it might be early to say). But if Siddons is still in charge then for sure we will cross the line of that ordinary(!) side in 2 years. And to be honest we have 160 million people backing the tigers which is probably the second largest population in the cricketing world. So if you try to ignore us it will be a lose to cricket in total. Unless you want to play only ping pong IPL cricket all year long and give the key of world cricket to BCCI from ICC.

  • maja2834 on January 29, 2010, 12:05 GMT

    I think ever since Mr Harsha Bhogle have got A NEW WIG he is talking nonsense..Since the beginning of of bangladesh inclusion into test format of the game they are a rubbish side..They are good only for improving other countries averages and players scoreline ( BY THE WAY SACHIN HAVE THE BEST AVERAGE AGAINST BANGLADESH AND ZIMBABWE ).AND I SEE NO IMPROVEMENT WITH THEM BECAUSE OF T20. THEY WILL KEEP PLAYING THE WAY THEY ARE.

  • on January 29, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    I agree with your assesment about Indian Pace bowling department. Sreesanth is injured, Nehra is not keen on playing Test matches, R.P.Singh, Irfan, Munaf, Ashok Dinda have not done anything to catch attention of selectors. Batting All rounder like Abhishek Naiyaar doesn't have the quality to suceed at Test level.

    As for spinners, Harbhajan has just stagnated over the period of last 2-3 years. It feels like he is just playing for his place in the team. In the ODI's, he does not attack at all and looks just to keep the runs down.In tests, he needs a helpful pitch to make an impact on the game. He has lost the loop in his bowling and is getting away being a senior in the team. Add to this, the team management's policy of not giving Amit Mishra enough chances. He was made to sit out of 2nd test even after taking 7 wickets in the 1st test.

    If Zaheer breaks down, S Africa batsmen would be licking their lips in anticipation of huge scores possible on batsmen friendly indian tracks !!!

  • rohan024 on January 29, 2010, 11:29 GMT

    its funny when people use words like "talented" for ashraful. Lets look at it this way. Lets allow any of these - brett lee, harbhajan, johnson,naved-ul-hasan rana,zaheer khan, thushara, Stuart Board, Peter Siddle, Keima Roach, any NZ tailender to bat at no: 4/5 for bangladesh for 1 year. I bet by the end of it, all of these will have atleast 2 centuries and an average in excess of 30. Will that make these "massively talented" batsmen ? Ashraful by all wisdom is an ordinary cricketer who has been projected as a talented man, thanks to ever excited commentators, who want us to believe that Bdesh series could also be an interesting series. Can't believe that such players are playing international cricket. i think its high time that Bdesh test status be revoked. They jst dont deserve it

  • straight-from-blade on January 29, 2010, 11:08 GMT

    bangla players in the company of its skipper performing well,shakib is one of the finest player they have,he is perfect alrounder,its suprise for me that player of his caliber not taken by any ipl franchise thats disappointment for me becoz talents are not valued by the people,mortaza is another sensational player,mahmudullah is also performing well,agressive tamim and ashrafful is also making their best effort,peoples like rubel need to improve their level by increasing their speed,the off spinner razzaq is also good,and in few year other talented peoples would also come,wishing best of luck to shakib and their team.

  • CricketPissek on January 29, 2010, 10:47 GMT

    overall, quite a readable article. however, i'd like to point something out. under "Subcontinental weakness" Harsha has made an invalid generalisation, Sri Lanka has always placed absolute important to fielding and have had an excellent fielding unit for the past 2 decades. There have been times when it's looked ordinary (and non-athletes like Ranatunga didnt move swiftly!) but overall, i think Sri Lanka has placed MUCH more important in fielding than Pakistan and India, who rely on big name batsmen and bowlers.

  • on January 29, 2010, 10:22 GMT

    i think in next 4 years Bangldesh will be a tough side

  • Ketan_1985 on January 29, 2010, 9:54 GMT

    Hi Harsha...this is really a pin pointing article from you...thanks But I think the spot of Darvid is the most difficult to get filled by a right person as as the best number 3 batsman in the world Ricky Ponting and Ravi shastri said No 3 batsman should posses the quality of adjusting to the situation the most. I think in domestic circuit only Ajinkya Rahane has that quality to some extent and he is young so it's worth a gamble to give him a chance. For 5 and 6 I think Badrinath and Pujara are perfect but I still don't know why Selectors are not giving Mohd. Kaif a chance. Don't know how much he needs to prove himself. I would like to hear your opinion on Mohd. Kaif and Ajinkya Rahane. Thank you for this quality article.

  • on January 29, 2010, 9:49 GMT

    bangladesh has seriously played well,i agree with harsha,but the main factor is that in order to win test matches or to even ensure a draw,the top 6 must click and dat never happens for the tigers,in the 1st test at chittagong after getting the much daunted Indian batting line up out for just 243, they themselves lost an early initiative and got to 87/5 after an opening stand of 53,this shows that they mentally fragile,they collapse under a bit difficulty,not only that they also depend much on the lower order,unfortunately in the 2nd innings of dhaka test,after being having a 200 run national record stand, and a 68-70 run stand with a night watchman,they lose 7 wickets for just 22 runs, how does this happen, that too on a placid track?unfortunately this time lower order collapsed like a pack of cards,ultimately losing the match. The bowling attack is fine with Shakib,Shahadat,unfortunately they depend much on Mortaza,and needs seamers who have raw pace,Rubel must bowl in tight lines

  • thestunner316_15 on January 29, 2010, 9:14 GMT

    bangladesh were an ordinary side.. and are still an ordinary side.. spot on viru.. they have hardly made decent progress since their test status and losing >90% of their matches is testament to that fact.. after 2012 when the FTP expires, i would like to see how many teams will still play bangladesh in test matches.. hardly neone.. used to admire harsha a lot.. but since his role in the mumbai indians side, his opinions have become biased and not worth reading... i wish there were more neutral writers like the old harsha..

  • NKJcric on January 29, 2010, 9:08 GMT

    On form, Shakib Al hasan may be Bangladesh's current best performing spinner, however considering all that he has done and what he has to offer, i believe Abdur Razzak is the best spinner in bangladesh.

  • subz on January 29, 2010, 9:06 GMT

    well i would rather give rp singh a chnace or munaf patel to be honest , munaf did well is NZ after that he never got picked again, i donno what happened there should be some consistency in team selection , i hope badrinath and vijay will play well bcoz its not easy facing steyn, morkel and co on ur debut.i think harbhajan singh doesnt deserve a place in the team , i would rather see a rookie getting hit and leanr bcoz harbhajan is gonna get hit any way i think he has gone past his prime , which i doubt if he ever had it lol ojha and mishra shud play

  • Kiernan86 on January 29, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    Talk of Bangladesh becoming a real Test contender is getting stale. Yes they have some talented players but a losing culture is a hard habit to break. Until they can put together a decent run of results they will continue to be the collapsable unit they are currently. Shakib is class and exudes professionalism, the rest (especially Ashraful, the perennial waster of natural talent) could learn from him. Best of luck Bangla, another strong Test team would do cricket good.

  • subz on January 29, 2010, 8:39 GMT

    well i would rather give rp singh a chnace or munaf patel to be honest , munaf did well is NZ after that he never got picked again, i donno what happened there should be some consistency in team selection , i hope badrinath and vijay will play well bcoz its not easy facing steyn, morkel and co on ur debut.i think harbhajan singh doesnt deserve a place in the team , i would rather see a rookie getting hit and leanr bcoz harbhajan is gonna get hit any way i think he has gone past his prime , which i doubt if he ever had it lol ojha and mishra shud play

  • KAZabbar on January 29, 2010, 8:18 GMT

    Great article, almost pinpointing every aspect of the teams. Bangladesh do need a reliable batter in their top 4, otherwise they will be always on the fringe of becoming a big team. too often have we seen the team collapsing to nothing for 3. Bangladesh bowling was anything but ordinary as Virender Sehwag suggested, Shahadat hossain, Shafiul Islam, Rubel hossain all have shown promise alongside their captain. With the inclusion of Mortaza, the team could well have a very decent bowling like up.

    About India, Zaheer khan is probably the best left arm seamer in the world. So smart, so thinking, so skilled. Its almost un-indian for a pace bowler. He is equally dangerous with new and old ball, a skill Ishant must obtain to become a world class pacer. Virat Kohl should fill in rahul Dravid's spot in near future. But VVS, and Sachin's vacuum doesn't seem to filling up.

  • on January 29, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    bangladesh will be side to reckon with in the coming years. couple of good batsmen in the middle order will bolster their chances.

  • jimbond on January 29, 2010, 7:46 GMT

    For the Indian 5-6 batting slots, no one can say much aginst Badrinath, Pujara and Rahane for the kind of performances in the domestic circuit, and one feels that they have stronger cases for the no. 3 slot as well vis a vis Vijay. For the bowling slot, Irfan Pathan is always worth a gamble. If anything the recent couple of series have proved that all Indian pacers get hit in Indian conditions- so Irfan cant be much worse and infact his slower deliveries have become more effective. Most important is the depth that he provides with his batting- capable of defense as well as strokeplay. And one feels that the position for the Indian spinners is also quite open- and Harbajan, Misra or Ojha should not consider themselves too comfortable. And talking of batsmen, despite his failures, it is rare to see a batting talent like Rohit Sharma spending his time only in the domestic circuit.

  • KingofDice on January 29, 2010, 7:25 GMT

    Very nice article and echoes my thoughts precisely, though i would have preferred more criticism of ashraful. yes he's young compared to players on other teams of his role, but he is still our (bangladeshs') most senior batsman, yet he does not seem to have matured since the 158 he made mentioned in the article. though there have been signs recently, he just doesn't seem to be cutting it. Also, what about the player's who returned from the ICL? i reckon Aftab Ahmed is a shoe in for number 3 (based on international performances, he's our most consistent batsman) while i'd like to see how Alok Kapli does now, at least in ODIs. Have they retired or something? for id lile to see them on the field.

  • Nipun on January 29, 2010, 7:10 GMT

    Lots of people are saying that Tamim Iqbal played an excellent innings.I just never got how.He charged down the wicket to Pragyan Ojha when he was on 70 odd with a long on & a long off in place,& with 4 balls to go for tea,when his team needed 311 runs just to make India bat again.He then charged down the wicket to Zaheer Khan when he was on 90 odd.To me,it will remain an innings of outrageous indiscipline,together with an audacious lack of commitment to the team cause.People say that's how Virender Sehwag bats,but Sehwag is special because he averages over 50 in test cricket(Tamim just over 30),plus Sehwag has the likes of Gambhir,Dravid,The Master,Laxman,Yuvraj,& Dhoni in his team.Mushfiqur Rahim & Mahmudullah look sensible,but even Rahim threw it away with a wild slog in the 1st innings in the 1st test.

  • Nipun on January 29, 2010, 7:01 GMT

    As usual,another pleasure-to-read article by Harsha :).However,you have made some interesting points which caught my eye.You say Ashraful shows sporadic glimpses of his special ability.Yes,Ashraful has played the odd gem like 158 against India,100 against Australia,etc.etc.but he has played only about 8/10 special innings in 10 years,150+ ODIs,& 52 tests.Now,this statistic is ample proof that Ashraful is just a fluke player.About the much-hyped ability,the only ability I see in him is to play the most irresponsible & horrible shots possible when the team is in deep trouble.About his talent,well,talent is intangible,so I don't understand why so many people are so obsessed with Ashraful's so-called-batting talent.The frequency of his good innings is further proof that he is just a fluke.I don't dare to argue with you;I'm just presenting my views.Which is a better proof:-10 special innings in 150+ ODIs & 52 tests,or averages below 24 in 52 tests & 150+ ODIs ?

  • HundredPercentBarcelonista on January 29, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    The problem is not that Indians don't play any other sport, Harsha. The problem is they don't think fielding and running between the wickets is part of the sport they have chosen.

  • Siddharth_Pandit on January 29, 2010, 6:42 GMT

    Another excellent article by harsha !! I liked the weaknesses elaborated in 2nd para. These are very true and applicable to subcontinent..May be he cud have described the series a bit more. India didn't play best cricket against Bangladesh but in the end we can conclude bangla played like an ordinary side..

  • swapnilp on January 29, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    Again a great article by you harsha , I love those articles on cricket. On the issue of bowlers in Team India, I would love to see Ajit Agarkar back in Indian team. Well many of you say that that he is well past his age of a comeback but that is what said once about Zaheer and now he is a regular member. Also ajit is performing very well in Ranji matches. And where is d ever smiling Balaji...!!

  • siponus2007 on January 29, 2010, 5:45 GMT

    harsha boghle he is definitely right on here . old bangladesh and new bangladesh are much different now . they have some quality player like tamim , ashraful, sakib , mahmudullah those player can change the match . i think bangladesh is on the right track . they will beat newzeland and england in some couplop matchs on coming up tour

  • jonkerr7 on January 29, 2010, 4:54 GMT

    Harsha, nice article and I look forward to your next visit to Australia because I enjoy your commentary on ABC Radio! I have played a lot of club cricket in Australia with some great guys from India and I must admit, we have had to teach them the basics of fielding. I have a question re the fielding. Are a lot of the grounds very hard and dry and perhaps not conducive to fielding practice? Or is it because a player is solely judged by selectors on their batting and bowling merits rather than the whole package? I do know that here in Australia teams place a lot of value on fielding efforts as a key component of the bowling attack.

  • manasvi_lingam on January 29, 2010, 4:46 GMT

    Badri deserves his chance but the remaining two slots should be filled with Pujara and Rahane. Kohli is far too flashy for the longer format of the game. We have seen him give away his wicket to horrible shots. And, among the players you should have mentioned their wicketkeeper as well who should also move up the order. And Rubel Hossain wasn't very impressive. Something like 2 wickets in 2 tests is not a good enough return.

  • NANDS on January 29, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    When it comes to filling up the number 5 and 6 slots in Indian team, people have so easily forgotten Md. Kaif and Manoj Tiwari. Apart from this season, Manoj Tiwari has scored runs in all the three previous ones. I'm surprised nobody is talking about him any more.

  • Tapsy on January 29, 2010, 4:34 GMT

    Shakib might be the person to lead. Bangladesh needs to re-arrange their batting line-up. Mushifur should bat at no3. He is the best they have got. Can grind the opponent. Regarding India, we will continue to struggle till the time we prepare different set of bowlers for oneDay and Test. Only Zak and Bhajji for both format. Ishant, Sreeshant for Test and Pathan, PK, Munaf (if Harsha can find him) for shorter format. If we don't do this we can't win tournaments consistently. Another thing to notice, check how many run we leak from Midoff to midon region. Australia and SA plug that area and as such batsman had to go for different shots like flick and cut and that increase the out possibilities. But our guys at mid-on and mid-off hardly dive to close down anything 5 meters to either way of them. Until and unless, we stop balls from going to long-on and long-off, clinical batsman will kill us...

  • on January 29, 2010, 4:03 GMT

    i totally agree with indians being not the best athletes. instead of hoarding the tv commericals, they would rather improve their fielding and their weak areas. one of the reasons India is not dominant test side like the australians .

  • Macca1970 on January 29, 2010, 3:37 GMT

    Unfortunately many commentators have been alluding to this for a while. They will still be in the same position in 10 years time. Ashraful needs to go. Surely no one could be worse.

  • Paddle_Sweep on January 29, 2010, 3:36 GMT

    I believe that producing a good set of fast bowlers would be India's biggest challenge.Without Zaheer Khan the bowling does look quite ordinary.My view is that the young bowlers are currently struggling to adapt to all three formats of the game.Probably it's time for India to have different bowlers for different formats.E.g. let Ishant play only test cricket till he regains his confidence,then we can throw him into ODI and T20.Probably for T20 we need bowlers like R.P Singh and Irfan Pathan who have done well for their respective IPL teams.As of the current lot I would say that only Zaheer Khan is doing well in all three formats.He has got the skills to do it.

  • JogeshPanda on January 29, 2010, 3:25 GMT

    Definitely Bangladesh has performed well beyond their old days. They are getting good naturally talented cricketer but still temperament is something that needs to be point of concern. Batter can give away wicket easily while bowlers showed bigger heart against some old guards of batting. Regarding Indian selection worries, yes Badrinath deserved a test appearance long before but his position is something can not be ascertain.Yuvi has to prove himself good enough for that No 6 position. Surely Dravid will be missed and Murli Vijay has a big shoe to fill in. It is strange we do not have an extra batsman since Laxman's fitness is not clear.

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  • JogeshPanda on January 29, 2010, 3:25 GMT

    Definitely Bangladesh has performed well beyond their old days. They are getting good naturally talented cricketer but still temperament is something that needs to be point of concern. Batter can give away wicket easily while bowlers showed bigger heart against some old guards of batting. Regarding Indian selection worries, yes Badrinath deserved a test appearance long before but his position is something can not be ascertain.Yuvi has to prove himself good enough for that No 6 position. Surely Dravid will be missed and Murli Vijay has a big shoe to fill in. It is strange we do not have an extra batsman since Laxman's fitness is not clear.

  • Paddle_Sweep on January 29, 2010, 3:36 GMT

    I believe that producing a good set of fast bowlers would be India's biggest challenge.Without Zaheer Khan the bowling does look quite ordinary.My view is that the young bowlers are currently struggling to adapt to all three formats of the game.Probably it's time for India to have different bowlers for different formats.E.g. let Ishant play only test cricket till he regains his confidence,then we can throw him into ODI and T20.Probably for T20 we need bowlers like R.P Singh and Irfan Pathan who have done well for their respective IPL teams.As of the current lot I would say that only Zaheer Khan is doing well in all three formats.He has got the skills to do it.

  • Macca1970 on January 29, 2010, 3:37 GMT

    Unfortunately many commentators have been alluding to this for a while. They will still be in the same position in 10 years time. Ashraful needs to go. Surely no one could be worse.

  • on January 29, 2010, 4:03 GMT

    i totally agree with indians being not the best athletes. instead of hoarding the tv commericals, they would rather improve their fielding and their weak areas. one of the reasons India is not dominant test side like the australians .

  • Tapsy on January 29, 2010, 4:34 GMT

    Shakib might be the person to lead. Bangladesh needs to re-arrange their batting line-up. Mushifur should bat at no3. He is the best they have got. Can grind the opponent. Regarding India, we will continue to struggle till the time we prepare different set of bowlers for oneDay and Test. Only Zak and Bhajji for both format. Ishant, Sreeshant for Test and Pathan, PK, Munaf (if Harsha can find him) for shorter format. If we don't do this we can't win tournaments consistently. Another thing to notice, check how many run we leak from Midoff to midon region. Australia and SA plug that area and as such batsman had to go for different shots like flick and cut and that increase the out possibilities. But our guys at mid-on and mid-off hardly dive to close down anything 5 meters to either way of them. Until and unless, we stop balls from going to long-on and long-off, clinical batsman will kill us...

  • NANDS on January 29, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    When it comes to filling up the number 5 and 6 slots in Indian team, people have so easily forgotten Md. Kaif and Manoj Tiwari. Apart from this season, Manoj Tiwari has scored runs in all the three previous ones. I'm surprised nobody is talking about him any more.

  • manasvi_lingam on January 29, 2010, 4:46 GMT

    Badri deserves his chance but the remaining two slots should be filled with Pujara and Rahane. Kohli is far too flashy for the longer format of the game. We have seen him give away his wicket to horrible shots. And, among the players you should have mentioned their wicketkeeper as well who should also move up the order. And Rubel Hossain wasn't very impressive. Something like 2 wickets in 2 tests is not a good enough return.

  • jonkerr7 on January 29, 2010, 4:54 GMT

    Harsha, nice article and I look forward to your next visit to Australia because I enjoy your commentary on ABC Radio! I have played a lot of club cricket in Australia with some great guys from India and I must admit, we have had to teach them the basics of fielding. I have a question re the fielding. Are a lot of the grounds very hard and dry and perhaps not conducive to fielding practice? Or is it because a player is solely judged by selectors on their batting and bowling merits rather than the whole package? I do know that here in Australia teams place a lot of value on fielding efforts as a key component of the bowling attack.

  • siponus2007 on January 29, 2010, 5:45 GMT

    harsha boghle he is definitely right on here . old bangladesh and new bangladesh are much different now . they have some quality player like tamim , ashraful, sakib , mahmudullah those player can change the match . i think bangladesh is on the right track . they will beat newzeland and england in some couplop matchs on coming up tour

  • swapnilp on January 29, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    Again a great article by you harsha , I love those articles on cricket. On the issue of bowlers in Team India, I would love to see Ajit Agarkar back in Indian team. Well many of you say that that he is well past his age of a comeback but that is what said once about Zaheer and now he is a regular member. Also ajit is performing very well in Ranji matches. And where is d ever smiling Balaji...!!