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April 17, 2013

A big series for Zimbabwe and Bangladesh

Jake Rassack


Zimbabwe run a lap of honour, Bangladesh v Zimbabwe, only Test, Harare, 5th day, August 8, 2011
Zimbabwe had a near-perfect Test comeback against Bangladesh in 2011 © AFP
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Series/Tournaments: Bangladesh tour of Zimbabwe

This will sound odd given this is a year containing two Ashes tours, an ICC tournament and numerous other series. But Zimbabwe v Bangladesh has to be one of my most anticipated tours of the year. Why? Because, these two minnows stand at a major crossroads. The importance of this series for both teams is immense.

This is a chance for Bangladesh to take advantage of their new-found confidence and good form, and claim a rare away-series victory. If they win both matches they can get themselves closer to that positive win-loss ratio that they hold in limited-overs matches against Zimbabwe, and finally prove that they're not the worst Test team and they do deserve their spot. For Zimbabwe this is a chance to prove that their return to the Test arena - which hasn't gone too well since their comeback victory over Bangladesh in 2011 - wasn't a mistake.

Now on to the series itself. It started off with the Zimbabwe players threatening to go on strike over their winter contracts. This has now been averted, but did bring about some more unwanted news for Zimbabwean cricket with Craig Ervine not signing a contract and, for the time being at least, ending his time with the Zimbabwean national team. He will be joining his brother Sean, himself a former Test cricketer, in English county cricket. Zimbabwe would do well to look into the reasoning behind these two promising players doing this, with a view to correct the problem so that they don't lose more cricketers to county cricket or another nation's domestic set-up in the future. Perhaps a look at what the likes of Ireland and such do in terms of contracted players and county cricket could provide some help?

Bangladesh's major problem coming into this series is one of lack of pace. Especially since Mashrafe Mortaza, their premier pace bowler, is still out through injury. They will be bolstered in their batting with the return of Shakib Al Hasan; That, and Bangladesh's strong batting performances against Sri Lanka recently, should cause Zimbabwe concern over their own ability to get 20 wickets. So we could be seeing some high scores this series.

Perhaps this series will also provide Zimbabwe with enough matches to get themselves back in the rankings, finally populating the table with the 10 Full Member teams that should be there (ignoring my belief that Ireland should be given a chance in Tests).

This has all the precursors of going down as a pivotal series for both teams in terms of their history, and the rivalry between these two cricketing nations. We can only hope that the cricket on offer is of good quality.

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Posted by umaMohanraj on (April 18, 2013, 10:49 GMT)

Hello please stop calling minnows. Do you really know the strength of bangladesh team. As on today they can give a shock to any team. The boys are groomed both mentally and physically good. Even I wont underestimate zim team also.

Posted by   on (April 18, 2013, 5:31 GMT)

@ NEUTRAL_Fan_ I also think that Ireland is a good International team. Plus they are benefited from England's cricket structure. I also believe that they have enough players. but see having enough players does not mean that you are better then any other test nations. Bangladesh is clearly better team than Ireland and Zimbabwe.

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (April 18, 2013, 1:40 GMT)

Glad to see I'm not the only 1 who thinks Ire should be given a go in tests. They should have been given a go as early as 2 years ago. First class structure or not, they have enough players who benefit from the English set up, which is arguably better than Zim's or Bang's domestic set ups.

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