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