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The roar of the Bangla Tigers
by Gulu Ezekiel
Apr 15, 2006
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 Ponting—surely the best batsman in the world right now—in 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 Inzamam-ul-Haq.

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 conditions.

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 individual boards.

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 year’s 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 crying shame.

 
More Views by Gulu Ezekiel
  Book Review - My Journey to the World Cup: The Sky is the Limit
  When Pietersen played in Duleep Trophy
  Foul language on the field of play
  Sachin Tendulkar was the one great unifier that brought the nation together
  The Great Tamasha: Cricket, Corruption and the Turbulent Rise of Modern India
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