Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 1st 2013 Contents A54
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, May 1, 2013
A mere look at the difference in numbers
between the two Tests suggests a large break
between the two matches. It was as if Bangladesh
had played the first Test in 2002 and the second
in 2013. Of course, it was a four-day break during
which time they mostly looked around Harare for
a morning spot in the nets.
But the nature of the contest was such that
Bangladesh s recovery from a 335-run defeat to a
143-run win didn t seem implausible. They were
the better team on paper with more experienced
players, and came into the Tests with a more impres-
sive showing in the previous tour.
Bangladesh, for once, found resilience at their
beck and call. Robiul Islam ran in, all day, with the
new ball and old, before and after a break. It wasn t
just the odd spell but every time Robiul delivered,
it started off straight, pitched and curved out. Con-
sistently. It went on for 110 overs over nine days.
There have been instances of these newfound
characteristics becoming infectious in the Bangladesh
dressing-room. No sooner had Sohag Gazi told the
team manager that he was not afraid of facing West
Indian fast bowlers under lights, it became clear
that the rest of the team would man up. It was the
same with Shakib Al Hasan s unshakable confidence
some years ago. It spreads, and this resilient bit
would certainly be helpful to the cricketers psy-
Another set of numbers that fascinates is the
twin half-centuries by Shakib, Mushfiqur Rahim
and Nasir Hossain in the second Test. And those
invariably came in the same sequence, to the same
The engine room has found its core. All it needs
are the pivots on the top and bottom to work prop-
erly. Shakib was forceful, almost intimidating to the
Zimbabwean bowlers. There were moments in which
he looked as if choosing between two or three shots
to certain deliveries. It was quite evident in his man-
ner of dismissals that he was bored by Elton Chigum-
bura and Hamilton Masakadza s pace, but Mush-
fiqur s earnestness to the cause kept the other end
The Bangladesh captain was the only batsman
in four innings to have made the bowler earn his
wicket, or fallen to a fantastic catch. Each of those
happened twice, but by the time he was out in both
innings of the second Test, the job was done. He
had to plant a certain sense of belief among the
batsmen that runs are available as long as there is
a good supply of patience.
Nasir takes on from his captain. He comes in at
No.7, a graveyard for middle-order batsmen in some
teams but he makes it look like fun. Nasir doesn t
hold back from his shots and doesn t defend astute-
ly.The attitude has to spread, just like Robiul s
resilience and Mushfiqur s assuredness. They are
not really free spirits in the dressing-room but have
devised ways to bounce back from setbacks. They
do it their way, but some of the others haven t quite
found their methods. Among many of the
Bangladesh players, there is a lack of Plan B, a failsafe
if their natural game doesn t suit the conditions.
Shahriar Nafees left a massive gap between bat and
pad in the second innings of the first Test, by merely
taking too much of a liking to Kyle Jarvis width.
Eventually, a full ball knocked back his stumps.
Jahurul Islam too has resorted to one kind of bat-
ting in respective formats. In Test cricket, he seems
to have employed his full repertoire of his defensive
game has to be employed. So when he has to get
out of a jam, like he was in both Tests, he couldn t
move quickly enough. He was unlucky once but his
swish in the first innings of the second Test is the
sort of shot that the selectors won t forget.
Australia s national selector, John
Inverarity, has spoken frankly of his
panel s struggles to find batsmen capa-
ble of thriving in a Test match following
the retirements of Ricky Ponting and
Michael Hussey, admitting he is not
sure whether they will emerge in strong
numbers ever again.
In a searching interview with ESPN-
cricinfo, Inverarity said that Twenty20 s
influence on the Australian summer
schedule loomed large among a variety
of reasons for the tailing off of Australian
batting in recent summers, to a point
where the captain Michael Clarke is now
the only member of the Test top six with
an average of better than 40.
"I don t think anyone has got the exact
answer as to why we haven t got players
coming through who bat for long peri-
ods," Inverarity said.
"But one thing I am sure about is
young players need to work it out for
themselves ... Society is different now,
there s fast food and immediate grati-
fication and those things, so whether
we ll see it in the abundance that we ve
seen it over the years before I don t
"I think an intelligent young player
with some talent, and looking to make
his way in cricket, I would think high
on his agenda would be developing an
appetite and the wherewithal to bat for
long periods and make big scores.
"A young player, if he wanted to play
Test cricket, then applying himself in
that regard is what we re on the lookout
While careful to credit the T20 Big
Bash League with building a new audi-
ence for the game in Australia, Inverarity
conceded the lack of Sheffield Shield
cricket across summer s prime months
in December and January had affected
a player s ability to develop continuity,
momentum and the habit of high scor-
"The cricket scene now is more frag-
mented than it was, with T20. If you d
said 10 years ago that there wouldn t be
any domestic first-class cricket in Aus-
tralia in December and January you
would ve thought that was not possible,"
"The Big Bash League has been a great
attraction and in spreading the word of
cricket it s been a great success.
"But in terms of players developing
momentum it has made it rather diffi-
"A very good example is Alex Doolan,
who has been a very promising player
for some time and built up some real
momentum in October/November, and
then of course the next time he played
a Shield match was in February. So that
was difficult for him."
Inverarity mounted a staunch defence
of the management and rotation of Aus-
tralian players over the 2012-13 summer,
and disputed claims that batsmen---in
contrast to bowlers---were disadvantaged
by being given the occasional rest instead
of playing throughout the year.
"I think that s exaggerated. It does
not stand up to scrutiny," he said.
"Missing a game or two for an elite
professional cricketer, who plays all three
formats and for numerous teams, should
not be an issue at all.
"Players regularly come back from a
prolonged layoff for injury and bat bril-
"Playing in all forms, players can tend
to become jaded. I think Michael Clarke
at the moment is benefiting greatly from
having a break.
"Over a period of five years, my view
is you ll get more out of a player if he
has appropriate breaks. And of course
that creates opportunity for others. J
"ackson Bird playing for Starc in the
Boxing Day Test was a great benefit to
There was also an explanation for why
the New South Wales spin bowler Steve
O Keefe has not been selected for nation-
al duty, despite handsome domestic fig-
ures. Inverarity said he had been close
several times, but the panel s collective
view had remained consistent that other,
better options existed.
"Steve O Keefe is a very good cricketer.
He s taken wickets, and he s a steady
batsman," Inverarity said.
"Whenever we ve been at the selection
table, we ve marginally preferred other
players to him. But he s still regarded as
a good cricketer.
"We re very aware of his figures and
we do look deeper than that. But there s
a panel of five of us and there s a con-
sistency of view when we select the
Inverarity wrestles with
Australia's batting woes
John Inverarity is on the lookout for "players coming through who can bat for long
Nottinghamshire s Stuart Broad left the
field late in the day with groin pain for
the second day running, while fellow Eng-
land bowler Graeme Swann toiled on a
day which belonged to Durham s Will
Smith in their LV= County Championship
Division One clash at Trent Bridge.
Smith, promoted to open in place of
Keaton Jennings, scored his first hundred
in 25 first-class innings at Trent Bridge and
closed on an unbeaten 119 off 308 balls to
lead the visitors to 297 for six---23 runs adrift
of Nottinghamshire s first-innings score.
Smith s century arrived during his 12th
consecutive hour on the field, having faced
On a surface that offered him little assis-
tance, England bowler Swann bowled 20
tidy but wicketless overs on his return to
competitive action, however all eyes were
on his team-mate Broad.
Yorkshire hit back strongly after Der-
byshire opener Chesney Hughes amassed
270 not out on the second day at Head-
The 22-year-old Anguilla-born left-han-
der guided Derbyshire to 475 all out and
was only five runs short of his county s
highest individual score, set in 1896 by
George Davidson, when last-man Tim Groe-
newald was out for a duck.
Joe Root (75 not out) and Phil Jaques (15
not out) were at the crease for Yorkshire at
stumps, with the home side 164 for one in
reply after after Adam Lyth s earlier knock
Hughes bangs unbeaten 270 in England
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