It has been a pretty action-packed few days in world cricket. Faisal Caesar gives his opinion at Cricketsoccer…..
The final day of the second Test between Pakistan and Zimbabwe was supposed to be a gripping contest. Pakistan found themselves in a position quite similar to the Multan Test match against Bangladesh which took place ten years. In that stunning contest, Inzamam-ul-Haq turned into a one-man army to leave Bangladesh bemused. The same was expected from Misbah-ul-Haq who had been the last hope for Pakistan but sadly it was not to be. Misbah couldn’t emulate Inzamam and he was left to witness a rapturous celebration by the Zimbabwean team who registered a historic win.
Yes, Harare witnessed the victory of team spirit and the downfall of lacklustre attitude. Before the Test series started, the Zimbabwe team found themselves in troubled waters. They were marred by petty quarrels with their Board regarding payment issues and their players even threatened of not participating in the Test series. The situation was muggy and keeping all these off-field issues in mind, it’s never easy to give your best shot!
But the Zimbabweans did fire all their cylinders and from the word go they looked the more confident unit than Pakistan in the first Test. They lost the battle of temperament in the first Test but they toppled Pakistan in the second encounter – courtesy of unflappable spirit and of course, the drab display of the Pakistan batsmen.
Again, the Pakistani batsmen were gripped and engulfed by the apprehension of chasing down a total. This has been a serious problem since the late 90s and this problem has not yet been solved. Bringing the best batting coach for the Pakistan team and arranging a coaching camp for a brief period with the best batting consultant couldn’t trigger magic as Pakistani batsmen failed to demonstrate the application prerequisite for Test matches. A test match is a philosophy and has no room for rashness or madness. It demands a meticulous and methodical approach.
In the longer formats of the game, you need to be patient and rely on occupying the crease and manoeuvring the strike rather than donning slapdash attitude towards batting. Most of Pakistan batsmen essayed some flashy strokes, got starts and then perished in an awful manner. Such an approach can never bring goods and always invites perilous outcomes no matter against which team you are playing. The Zimbabwe tour had been a shoddy one for Pakistan where, time and again, they got kicked around like club cricketers.
But, it’s hard to undermine Zimbabwe’s tremendous achievement. Their victory in the first ODI match can be written as a slip on a banana peel to which anyone can buckle but to win a Test match, you need to pass the examination of temperament and skill, and can’t be labelled as a flash in the pan. Zimbabwe have shown the world how adversity can be trampled underfoot with discipline and willpower. Neither their bowling-attack nor the batting line-up is anything frightening but what made Zimbabwe the superior side is their rock-solid determination to do well. They didn’t allow a pabulum attitude within them and stuck to their task to reap a rich harvest.
Zimbabwe now rank ninth in the ICC Test Championship rankings replacing Bangladesh. Certainly, Zimbabwe’s success hasn’t charmed many of the Bangladeshi fan followers but rather than getting envious, it’s better to accept the fact that Zimbabwe’s achievement as a Test team is far better than Bangladesh. Bangladesh are yet to outclass any bigger Test nations and the Zimbabwe win should make them determined to improve more in the Test matches. In the last thirteen years, Bangladesh haven’t been up to the mark in Test matches and just four wins in these thirteen years indicate how much they lag behind. They receive better facilities and better salaries than Zimbabwe and the Cricket Board is more stable than Zimbabwe. But still, in Test cricket, we haven’t struck the desired gold.
Since, their re-entry to Test cricket in 2011, Zimbabwe have notched up three Test wins and one of the victories is against a major Test-playing nation, Pakistan. Three Test wins in two years is a far sounder achievement than four Test wins in thirteen years!
Who are improving more?
By the way, Bangladesh will need to play a qualification round for the World Twenty20 next year. Have you ever heard a host nation to play a qualification round? Isn’t it something uniquely daft? And this weird rule cropped up from nowhere! Shouldn’t this sort of rules be informed a bit earlier? Isn’t this insulting for the host nation?
Such questions would have never cropped up if the ICC had some backbone. Frankly speaking, they are an organization controlled by the most powerful cricket boards in world cricket – BCCI! With powers comes responsibility but what responsibility the BCCI have shown so far remains a moot question. To the BCCI, cricket has become a money-making machine rather than a game and their actions are only creating deep bruises. They are running the world cricket like an autocratic army General – an approach that you don’t accept from a democratic nation like India. James Astill in his excellent new book on the modern powerhouse of Indian cricket The Great Tamasha said – ‘an oligarchy, a democracy stage-managed by a corrupt super-elite.’ Should we say the same in the case of the BCCI?
I think, yes!
It sounds bad but its dam true!
Why was the South African tour being halted, or should I say, canceled? Was it done only for one person’s personal landmark? Was it done due to BCCI’s ego clash with Cricket South Africa? Couldn’t it be settled by any other means? Was it not simply bad to ignore all the cricket fans from enjoying the epic clash between Tendulkar and Dale Steyn? Will Darren Sammy vs Tendulkar be able to generate the same euphoria?
As the most influential Cricket Board, the entire cricketing world expects a gracious and fair approach from them but sadly, the BCCI only believes in ‘Might is Right’! Every autocratic and arrogant regime meets a sad end. The BCCI mustn’t forget this.