The First Test between Bangladesh and Australia is going right down to the wire, and the final day’s play tomorrow will see a very tight finish. There is a good chance that Bangladesh might pull off one of the biggest upsets in Test cricket history. Australia need 95 runs to win, with only two established batsmen left, and six wickets in hand.
In truth, Australia are fortunate to even be in the game at all, because they were comprehensively outplayed in the first two days of this Test match. Needless to say, this state of affairs has caused plenty of amusement for English cricket fans and other wicked folk.
But regardless of the result, this match has been, to use a cliche, good for the game. It comes as the editor of Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack has released his latest offering in which he takes a small minded view of the game and denounces the ‘globalisation’ of cricket. The way in which Bangladesh were rushed into playing Test cricket was misguided and done for the wrong reasons, but the game is slowly but surely taking a foothold in the country, in terms of playing success.
That is good for cricket. It is even more good for Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world. Bangladesh is famous for being poor, having lots of disasters, and not much else. When the Champions Trophy one-day International cricket tournament was held in Dacca in 1998, one observer said to a shocked editor of Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack that the event was the most positive event in the country’s history since Independence.
With the football World Cup two months away, there may well be quite a bit of tut-tutting in the media about how sport and nationalism are a dreadful combination. And there is something to that. However, I think that sport and national pride, which is something else entirely, is a positive thing. No matter what actually happens tomorrow, the future of Bangladesh cricket looks bright, and I think that is a wonderful thing.