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The first test is over and it is time for introspection. As a Tiger fan there is usually not much joy in that. But this one will be different, I promise!

Videocon Cup- First Test: A glimmer of hope!

Published: 15th December, 2004


The first test is over and it is time for introspection. As a Tiger fan there is usually not much joy in that. But this one will be different, I promise!

So we lost yet another test match. That in itself is probably not that painful. After all this was a test match between two unequal teams in terms of ability, experience and almost in every other aspect as well. Everybody knew that going in. What we, the Bangladeshi fans, really wanted was for the Tigers to put up a fight, to do the simple things right, to show that they are improving on their mistakes and weaknesses. After struggling through 33 test matches a Tiger fan is only too aware of what constitutes tangible improvements. I am tempted to chalk out a list here but I have more tasty fish to fry today. In any case we have been discussing the negatives ad nauseum, so let us talk a little bit about the positives to come out of this test match for a change. Having watched the boys in action I have a few good things to report.

Mashrafee Bin Murtoza
What a comeback he has made. Irfan Pathan bowled well for India but I believe Mashrafee could have had a 5-fer as well if the easy catches of his bowling were held and he got an opportunity to have a crack at the lower order earlier in the innings. Yet Mashrafee did more than just charge in and try and take wickets. The hunger, the pride, the aggression and the confidence that he exuded energized and inspired his teammates. Indeed his sheer presence seems to have changed the whole complexion of our team. If we can have one more tearaway with his ability, attitude and aggression, our bowling will not be all that toothless anymore.

Mohammad Ashraful
His 60 not out in the first innings was sheer class! The wicket was pretty hard to bat on with the ball swinging around dangerously. However our little Ash played with complete authority and looked completely untroubled by IK Pathan, our nemesis. He chose his shots carefully, concentrated hard, and executed a few glorious strokes in between. He was unlucky in the second innings, when he came out fully prepared to try and emulate his first-innings effort. One could see the anger and disappointment in his eyes as he sat down with the computer analyst to see replays of his dismissal afterwards. Ashraful is a changed man. I am tempted to call him a boy. He does look so very young, even younger than his 20, but I digress. He looks hungry and eager to make his talent and ability count. It is high time he stood up and took possession of the mantle of Bangladesh?s leading batsman which I believe is rightfully his. I can only hope he can turn it on once again in the second test.

Manjarul Islam Rana
His bowling was not quite what the team would have wanted from him, but he made up for it with outstanding performances with the bat, and was deservedly the highest aggregate run scorer for Bangladesh. Congratulations to him on his maiden 50 as well. I particularly enjoyed the way he played Irfan Pathan. He went for his shots decisively and took the attack to the opposing bowler while taking minimum risks. Rana has something which seems to be missing in quite a few of our leading batsmen- nerves of steel. He is still just 20, and my verdict is he will be around this team for a long time to come.

Nafis Iqbal
He showed why he is considered one of country's top young prospects. He batted calmly in both innings, and is obviously hungry for runs. He is a proud young man, and he will have a long future with the national team provided he continues to work hard and keeps his feet firmly on the ground. His maiden 50 was a gritty and gutsy innings but he is capable of much bigger scores. Yet another young man of 20 years of age, he surely ?has miles to go before he sleeps?, a la Robert Frost!

An honourable mention must also go to our best Test cricketer, Mohammad Rafique who once again bowled his heart out and batted like a champion for the umpteenth time.

Zobair Anam is a moderator on BanglaCricket forum and goes by the nick Pompous - ed


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