England Win Cricket But Show Bangladesh Little Respect

England celebrate winning the 1st Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong, but can this really be classed as a success?

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England won the 1st Test match against Bangladesh by 181 runs this morning. On the face of it a good result, but was it really? In my opinion, it was not. Obviously a win is a win and statistics will show this fact in the coming years, but too many aspects regarding this match do not add up leaving pundits and fans alike, scratching their heads wondering where it all leads to.

On a very flat, sub-continent pitch, offering little help to the bowlers, England eventually ground down the resilient Bangladeshi batsmen who, chasing a target of 513, were dismissed for a battling 331. But these statistics hide a different story. At times, they had an under par England team in trouble for long periods and they should go into Saturdays 2nd Test at Dhaka in fine heart.

England undertook this tour giving regular captain, Andrew Strauss a rest along with main strike bowler James Anderson. Whilst on the tour, injuries to other fast bowlers Graham Onions and Ryan Sidebottom, meant an unfamiliar bowling line up was utilised, including 20 year old debutant Steve Finn and previously scantly used  Yorkshireman, Tim Bresnan. Giving new players an opportunity gives the England management a chance to see how they will perform, but surely it is an insult to the cricket authorities and the people of Bangladesh to send a below par squad? It’s not as if England makes tours to Bangladesh very often anyway.

Ispahani End of Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium, Dhaka. Photographed from the V.I.P enclosure.

image by M. Tawsif Salam

Questions also have to be asked about the team selection for this match. In blisteringly hot and humid conditions, England chose to play only 4 main bowlers, with just one of them being a spin bowler, whilst their opponents opted to play 4 spinners and 2 faster bowlers. Luckily for England, the off spinner Graeme Swann took 10 wickets in a man of the match performance, but it was very hard work for the other 3 front line bowlers and it makes you wonder, whether they will have fully recovered by the next Test starting on Saturday. Also, why did Paul Collingwood not bowl? The England and Wales Cricket Board insist that he is fully fit, so was this a poor captaincy decision by Alastair Cook, or a tactical ploy to see how the others would cope? On a sour note for Swann, it was noticeable that some of the language and gesticulations used by him were not becoming for an England cricketer. Maybe he should start to remember that he is representing his nation in another country and on the world stage? Swann came onto the scene on a tour to South Africa approx. 10 years ago, but was very immature at the time. After a prolonged absence, he successfully returned to the fold, but his maturity must still be in question.

Bangladesh are still an emerging nation when it comes to cricket, in fact it is only 10 years since they played their inaugural test match against India in Dhaka. In that time, England is the only country that has not been beaten by the Tigers; be it in Tests, one day internationals or Twenty20 encounters. On this evidence, the Bangladeshis are catching the rest of the world up and maybe it is time to give them the respect they deserve.


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