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Bangladesh boilover gives cricket lovers a new way of looking at that country

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.

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12 comments to Bangladesh boilover gives cricket lovers a new way of looking at that country

  • I think Australia will win this game. They played three hard test matches in three weeks in South Africa, flew to Bangladesh straight away, and then went straight into this test. They had two bad bays, a decent third day, and then a very good fourth day, so I think they have been getting used to the conditions as the game has gone on, plus their game has come together as they have faced the possibility of losing. Bangladesh certainly still have a chance, but I think they are the outsiders at this point.

    Which isn’t to disagree with anything you have said. This has been an extremely good test match so far. I hope the spectators in Bangladesh have enjoyed it.

  • Australia need 95 runs to win, with only two established batsmen left, and six wickets in hand.

    Its like you’re speaking a foreign language.

  • Verity

    R C Dean – You don’t know what you’re missing. Cricket is the most exciting game in the world.

  • Alan Massey

    “Cricket is the most exciting game in the world.”

    Hmmm, my sarcasm detector seems to be broken :/

  • I think somebody once commented on Samizdata that test cricket is 20 minutes of excitement crammed into a mere 5 days.


  • Verity

    And someone else said that cricket was invented to give the English a preview of eternity.

    But it is a wonderful game.

  • The one redeeming feature of Bill Bryson’s mediocre book on Australia is his American’s view of cricket –

    “the English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavours look interesting and lively…i dont wish to denigrate a game that is enjoyed by millions, some of them awake and facing the right way, but it is an odd game. It is the only sport that incorporates meal breaks. It is the only sport in which the spectators burn as many calories as the players. And it is the only sport, other than baking, in which you can dress in white from head to toe and be as clean at the end of the day as you were at the beginning…”

  • Verity

    pommygranate, that is funny – and having read some excerpts from Bryson’s book on Oz, I would guess that is the funniest bit.

  • I’ve stuck the rest here (comparing baseball and cricket). As a travel writer he really is poor, but sometimes he can be extremely funny.

  • Brendan Halfweeg

    It was a close run thing, but the Aussies staved off embarassment despite the loss of three more wickets this morning.

    Cricket is an allegory for life, long and slow interspersed with patches of intense activity and excitement, where patience and determination to take the long view is essential, and opportunities must be grasped, not least because they are few and far between.

    But I agree, Bangladesh’s rise in cricket is a positive development.

  • Verity

    With absolutely no disloyalty to Oz, which I love (although I’ve never been), but I would rather like to see the Banglas win this Test just because it would give them such a national filip. People who are proud of themselves and their country are confident. The Muslim countries are all so inferior, which is why they’re so angry all the time.

  • I agree that Bryson is very poor as a travel writer. He tends to feed you back your own preconceptions – don’t look to be told something you didn’t already know, and do look to be told things you already knew that aren’t true. But he does sometimes say them in a witty way.

    With respect to baseball versus cricket, it’s always seemed to me that cricket has a much broader set of skills.

    Every baseball pitch, for instance, is pretty much describable in cricket as full toss swing bowling, whereas cricket also has movement off the ground, spin bowling, all the concepts of correct length, etc..

    Similarly, pretty much all baseball strokes, could be described in cricket as straight pulls. That isn’t a shot cricket makes much use of, but it’s clearly a much smaller set of possible strokes than the range cricket offers: drives, cuts, glances, pulls, hooks, etc..

    It seems to be the same in fielding. Cricket captains have to worry about whether to set an on-side field or an off-side field, an offensive or a defensive field, and coordinate that with the bowler’s line. In baseball there seems to be comparatively little scope for changing the field.

    What I’d like to know is whether baseball has subtleties in it that cricket lacks, that make up for its poverty in these areas, or whether baseball is just a simpler game than cricket.

    I’m not necessarily trying to say more complex is better, by the way. Lots of people enjoy being marathon runners and the skill set for that is pretty small by the standards of any team sport. Though I think a game with a large skill set tends to be more fun to watch.