Bangladesh can look back on the first Test at Fatullah
with a sense of pride.
Though Australia managed to win by three wickets, the
world champions were outplayed for three-and-a-half
days. In fact for all but two sessions throughout the
Test, Bangladesh were on top. It took two
extraordinary centuries, by Adam Gilchrist in the
first innings and then by captain Ricky Pontingsurely
the best batsman in the world right nowin the second
to take them home. Indeed, at one stage it looked like
the home side would repeat the stunning triumph over
the world champions which they had pulled off at
Cardiff last year in an ODI.
Despite the defeat, the Bangladeshis can hold their
heads up in pride. In the last couple of years they
have beaten India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya and
Zimbabwe in ODIs, though they still have just one Test
win (against the pathetic Zimbabwe) to their credit
since they made their debut in 2000 against India.
The Banglas promised much in their inaugural Test in
Dhaka as well and halfway through the match it looked
like India might be forced to follow on, much as at it
appeared for Australia at Fatullah.
In between that first Test and the latest, the newest
entrants to the Test fold have done well in the West
Indies and did not disgrace themselves either when
they toured Australia for the first time a couple of
seasons back. They closest they came to pulling off a
win against one of the top Test nations was at Multan
in 2003 when Pakistan squeaked through by one wicket
thanks to an outstanding innings by their captain
It surely will not be long before they finally achieve
that elusive big victory in Test matches where it is
so much more difficult for a minor cricketing power to
achieve success than it is in an ODI.
The Australians must have been severely fatigued after
a tough tour of South Africa and had just a few days
break in between before moving straight into the Test
series in Bangladesh.
The non-stop cycle of international cricket is taking
a heavy toll of the players even as the respective
boards and the ICC rake in the big bucks.
The lack of a structured season in Indian cricket
means the game is played even in mid-April where the
temperatures are at dangerously high levels. One
wonders if the authorities will wake up only when a
player is seriously affected by the adverse
The last thing our players would want at the end of
the season is to be flying to a desert to play a
couple of meaningless matches. The two ODIs the Indian
cricket board has magnanimously tagged on in Abu Dhabi
to aid the victims of the devastating earthquake in
parts of Pakistan is surely uncalled for. The ICC had
raised funds through matches for victims of the 2004
tsunami which destroyed many nations in Asia, though
Pakistan was untouched. This time too it should have
been left to the ICC to raise funds, rather than
With barely a couple of weeks in between, it is then
straight off to the Caribbean for the Indian team.
With so much cricket being packed in, it will not come
as a surprise if a number of players are forced to
pull out of next years World Cup through injuries and
exhaustions. And most of the teams will be fatigued
and jaded by the time the one tournament that counts
in the cricket calendar comes around. That would be a