“The loyalty of the Tigers towards Bangladesh had paid off and let’s hope, this loyalty doesn’t lose its way in the coming days”

 

With the Indian Premier League (IPL) knocking at the doors, obviously, the focus of the players always shift to the crazy money train which offers everything except cricket – cricket is just a tamasha in the IPL or any other Twenty20 Leagues – in return, players achievements are lucrative – again, except cricket, there is everything.

And, such things always attract everyone – even when the matter is about shunning the interest of the national team, then let be it – over the last fifteen years, IPL has destroyed the environment of world cricket and very few could raise their voices against the evil because of the power of BCCI.

Before the start of the series against Bangladesh at home, Cricket South Africa (CSA) confirmed that they will be leaving it up to the players to make the decision which the Test captain Dean Elgar called a litmus test of loyalty.

“The players need to give Cricket South Africa an indication of if they are keen to go to the IPL or if they are keen to play for the Test side. It’s a bit of a tough one putting that in the players’ box but this I guess, this is where you see where players’ loyalty lies,” Elgar said.

“They mustn’t forget that Test cricket or one-day cricket got them into the IPL and not the other way around.”

“I wish I knew more for my own personal sanity and that I could prepare, knowing that most of my bowlers are potentially not going to be there if they choose to go the IPL route.”

“If I don’t have everyone at my disposal then it’s a little bit difficult. It’s a bit of a tough one for me. I can’t take the field without my best side. I need my best side there. If they are not available, it’s something for us to sit down and get through.”

There were 11 South African players contracted to this year’s IPL including six Test regulars and three others who were part of the ODI squad.

That includes the entire frontline pace pack – Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje and Marco Jansen – as well batters Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, allrounder Dwaine Pretorius and limited-overs wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.

The loyalty was exhibited in the ODI series but not in Test matches.

The South African Test side for the two-match home series against Bangladesh “will be without its IPL players,” announced Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Thursday. The likes of Marco Jansen, Aiden Markram, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada and Rassie van der Dussen were not included in the 15-man squad released by CSA.

Jansen, Markram, Ngidi and Dussen featured in South Africa’s 2-1 series victory against India and also in the away series against New Zealand. But the five cricketers along with Quinton de Kock, Dwaine Pretorius, David Miller have got IPL contracts that clashes with the Bangladesh Tests.

The whole saga hampered the focus of the unit extremely and the effects were seen during the ODI series.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh showed their loyalty towards the country better than South Africa. There was an offer for Taskin Ahmed from one of the IPL teams – but the lad remained towards Green and Red and decided to give his best, whereas, despite the health problems of the family, the charismatic Shakib Al Hasan remained determined to give his best for the Green and Red.

Shakib requested for leave before the series – but thankfully, the honest critics of the game raised their voices and perhaps, it played a big role in reconsidering his decision.

The focus of the Tigers was never deterred by the glamour and cash of IPL, rather, playing for the country became the main goal and the results have been outstanding – for the first time, Bangladesh have won an ODI series in South Africa.

The Tigers started their South African adventure way back in 2001-02 and before this ODI series, the stories have been heavily one-sided in favour of the Proteas. But in the course of time, cricket in South Africa started to lose its edge courtesy of the Quota system and Twenty20 League (still, today, they would not agree with the IPL factor). The loyalty took a setback and obviously, the aura of invincibility started to fade.

Against Bangladesh, the Proteas looked like a team without a plan and the visitors were quick to exploit the lack of intent among the hosts – Tamim Iqbal led from the front, Shakinb had been impactful, the new bees showed their fighting spirits and Taskin was out of this world with the ball.

The hard work and determination of the lad have reaped a rich harvest.

Under Ottis Gibson, his improvement could be noticed and it seems, Allan Donald did not tweak his technique much, rather persisted with the good work of Gibson.

Taskin was the heartbeat of this historic victory.

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The loyalty of the Tigers towards Bangladesh had paid off and let’s hope, this loyalty doesn’t lose its way in the coming days.

 

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