Reviewing the Ones We Watched
"Whatever the circumstances off the pitch, I'm looking forward to seeing Bangladesh continue to develop as a Test cricketing force and England continue to test themselves away from home, not least in preparation for the following series in India."
That’s how I ended my last piece, and at least I’m pleased to say I was fairly accurate: with their historic Test victory against England, Bangladesh have upped their credentials and England have certainly been given a stern test in the lead up to the India series.
So now all that is left for me to do is to review the performance of my ‘ones to watch’ from last month’s newsletter and see whether they really lived up to expectations.
Shakib al Hasan returned impressive bowling figures in the series, if they ended up overshadowed by Mehedi Hadan Miraz’s incredible figures. Twelve wickets, including 5/85 in the series saw him the second highest wicket taker, coming in ahead of Stokes’ and Ali’s eleven, and at a total of 81 overs he was also the second busiest bowler in the series.
Taijul Islam also did enough to keep his reputation, with 7 wickets in the series and best figures of 3/65. But he didn’t shine in the way he could have done, and his total of 29 with the bat was nothing to write home about, or to devote any more time to here.
I called Shaiful Islam as having the potential to frustrate England, but that never materialised: a mere two runs in the one Test he played, and three overs for 10 in Chittagong. Bangladesh’s lower order batsmen did at times frustrate England, but Shaiful had nothing to do with it.
Taksin Ahmed, of the recently-cleared bowling action, didn’t make it to the Test side, so that’s the end of that for now. (I mean if you’re a fellow statto, 6-0-38-0 and 9-0-46-0 would imply that an ODI return isn’t necessarily on the cards either!)
Which leaves us with Tamim: series top-scorer with 231 runs and the only centurion in both sides. It’s fair to say his experience and enthusiasm for the game were crucial in Bangladesh’s victory and deserved progress in the Test arena. Well done, sir.
And well done me: not a bad set of predictions for a team that hadn’t played a Test match for 14 months, and a series characterised by a gripping combination of sublime, terrible and indifferent cricket. Thanks again, Bangladesh, and I hope to be able to join you in person next time around.