Maybe there has, maybe there hasn’t – but in my eyes, a lot seems to have been made today of a Bangladeshi making a hundred. Every time I turned on the news, on the TV or radio, a presenter screamed out “Bangladesh kicked off their tour of England in style today as Javed Omar scored a hundred.”
Without sounding condecending – and I regretfully admit I know bugger all about the Bangladeshi team – a hundred against a Combined University XI isn’t much to write home about, but it made me wonder: how many hundreds will Bangladesh score by the time their tour ends at the end of June?
They’re due to play Sussex, Northamptonshire, Derbyshire and Worcestershire – in that order – as well as 2 Tests against England and a clutch of “triangular ODIs” against England and Australia. I hope for their sake they show some improvement, and class and some potential. I really struggle in writing and talking about “minnow” countries because I can’t reason whether I think they should be playing International cricket or not. On the one hand, they’re gaining invaluable experience playing against better nations. On the other, they’re reducing the overall quality of international cricket…and in doing so, in getting hammered so easily and so often, their confidence gets dented more than double-parked car on a busy London street.
Way back last Christmas, Mark Nicholas wrote about “The Great Divide” in cricket:
The International Cricket Council have done untold damage by allowing
Zimbabwe and Bangladesh Test-match status. Their presence lowers
standards and diminishes an already fragile product. Test-match
performances have been cheapened and do a disservice to those who have
gone before. True, there have been other eras when series have been
uneven but never to this extent.
I want more countries playing cricket. I want cricket to have greater worldwide sporting respect. I want cricket’s international teams to improve, and not for one team to run away with all the successes (guess who). Arguably it could be said there’s now 3 divisions in international cricket: Australia on their own in Division 1, England and the other obvious countries in Division 2, and New Zealand in division 3. Sorry! Couldn’t resist. Zim, Bang, Kenya – all those minnows – occupy the 3rd division.
Anyway, perhaps I should wait until I see Bangladesh perform in the 2 Tests. Dave Whatmore tells us we’re in for a big suprise, after all, but then covers his backside, you know, just in case the suprises don’t quite jump out at us:
“It [success] is measured in other areas. Essentially we want to show progress and push the opposition as hard as we can, and there will be objectives both for individuals and the team as well.”
Well, Whatmore, if that’s what you tell your players then you ought to be sacked. In other words – “ok lads, we’ve lost. (AGAIN). But don’t worry. Omar: you nearly caught that sitter. Mohammad – yes you missed a straight one, but you’ll know now for next time.” I’m exaggerating; however the only way for Bangladesh is up. They need to attack, attack, attack: winning = progress.
Oh, and let’s have a sportsmen’s bet about how many hundreds the Bangas will score (in all their games). I’m going for 5.