Saturday, March 17, 2007

Revenge of the Minnows

You'd think they were out to prove me wrong, but let's get a couple of things straight. Bangladesh are no minnows, and Ireland showed in their first outing that they were not going to be disgraced.

In truth, today's results were not surprising to anyone who watched the cricket on display. Bangladesh wholly outplayed India in every department. Some of the batting may well have been a little agricultural, but that was a step up from what the Indians showed. Mashrafe Mortaza was again brilliant with the new ball, and the tone was set at that point.

Also telling was the fact that the three half-century makers for Bangladesh were aged 17 (Tamim Iqbal), 18 (Mushfiqur Rahim) and 19 (Saqibul Hasan) respectively. I say this not to draw attention to their batting performance, but to politely wonder whether the fact that India's batting depends on three 34-year olds also is a factor in their pathetic fielding. After the display in the field today, it is possibly only Bermuda who are a weaker or less athletic side than the Indians. What's more, one side was out there playing to win, and the other was just waiting for their opponents to lose. No prizes for guessing which was which.

India now have a lot of work to do to get through to the Super 8s. Bangladesh will beat Bermuda and get to 4 points. India therefore not only need to win their remaining games, but will need to do so with a superior net run rate, unless Bangladesh can topple the Lankans as well. Don't bet the house on it, but watch out for some attempts at explosive batting against Bermuda. Bangladesh play Bermuda to round out the group, so they have the advantage.

Of course, Pakistan would give anything to be in that position right now. It will be a long flight home for Inzamam and his boys, but despite the best efforts of Umpire Jerling, they were soundly and deservedly beaten by Ireland. Better yet, it was a true Irishman who led the way with a composed innings of 72. The Irish could even afford to bowl 23 wides, as their fielding efforts more than compensated.

The best part of this, of course, is what happens to those who had tickets to the India-Pakistan Super 8 game. I'm not even entirely sure, other than I expect to see a lot for sale on eBay tomorrow morning. The obvious conclusion is that they will now see Ireland take on Bangladesh, but as the Super 8 schedule is allegedly based on seeding, it should technically result in them seeing Bangladesh vs. West Indies. But we can't have that, as that would mess with the expected West Indian schedule as well. I wonder what the organisers will do.


mitanshu said...

This is really the most memorable win for Bangladesh as this was their first WC'07 match and they won it when hardly anyone was thinking them in game when the match started.

Bangladesh upset India in World Cup

Anonymous said...

Not only the defeats but the nature of defeats was even more telling. Both India and Pakistan were comprehensively outplayed in all three departments and it was a complete reversal of tags of minnows and majors. Both the teams did not stand a chance after losing first couple of over and the inexperiences sides played like true professionals, never allowing them to come back in.
Smart Alec

Rezwan said...

Bangladesh have arrived, but what went wrong for India?

I present you three instances how India perceived Bangladesh cricket team before the match.

1) SET Max channel airs a promo of their "Extraaa Innings" program starring panelists Mandira Bedi and Charu Sharma. They show 9 teams including the number ten in ODI ranking Zimbabwe but leaves out the number 9 Bangladesh.

2) DD National channel airs "the Fourth Umpire", a cricket analysis program. Their episode during the India-Bangladesh match contained Indian cricket legends like Chetan Sharma and Kris Srikanth among the panel. They were discussing how India will win this World Cup and which players will contribute to what extent. Then there was the public opinion section via telephone. An young Indian was asked "In last match Gibbs has hit six sixes an over. So what India will do today?" He said " Dhoni will strike 7 sixes an over today." How? "Bangladesh will produce a no ball which will be dispatched over the rope again." Then the panelists were laughing at Bangladesh being a minnow and Srikkanth's view seemed like they deserved the 7 sixes an over.

Srikkanth dismissed any chance of Bangladesh causing an upset against this Bangladesh. Another panelist Anjum mentioned Bangladesh had beaten New Zealand in an warm up match. Srikkanth remarked all these are rubbish. There is a vast difference between India and Bangladesh so Bangladesh cannot win. India has come to win the world cup. If they loose today they should take the next flight home. Everybody was laughing. Chetan Sharma commented India should not take Bangladesh seriously. If India should respect Bangladesh then they should not have come to this World Cup.

During the match break Srikkanth was upset with India's paltry total of 191. After some discussions he commented that it was the Indian batsmen who gifted their wicket , the Bangladeshi bowlers had really did nothing special. Chetan Sharma thought that Bangladesh batting is not that strong. Srikkanth still thought that India should take the next flight home if they loose.

After the end of the game as India lost to Bangladesh Chetan and Srikkanth were not there to comment. People were wondering whether they went to the travel agent to confirm the Indian team's return ticket. Anjum, the another presenter thought that Bangladesh may cause another upset to beat Sri Lanka to provide a chance for India in the World Cup. Wow! what a complete turn around of assessment about Bangladesh.

3) Bangladesh has toured every Test cricket nation except India. Because cricket is a business to them and having Bangladesh is commercially unprofitable. A tour with a said minnow is commercially unattractive for the media and advertisers. India last toured Bangladesh in 2004 December. Bangladesh has beaten India for the first time then. After that India cancelled their next scheduled tour to Bangladesh twice and did not play them in last couple of years. The reasons suspected was again commerce. So India chose to deffer it till May 2007. I am not sure whether they will come to Bangladesh or invite back Bangladesh as there will always be excuses available.

So what can you say about the above instances? Simple arrogance and looking down on others has caused India this disgrace. As a saying goes "none are more unjust in their judgments of others than those who have a high opinion of themselves". India has took their eyes off Bangladesh who progressed a lot in 2006. Their techniques got better and they are getting used to winning albeit most of the opponents were not from the super eight of Cricket.

This simple arrogance also sieged the Indian cricket team who came to the field without in form Sreesanth and Kumble and decided to bat first probably with a score like 350 in mind. And the pressure on the players were immense as they found Bangladesh bowlers using the conditions and maintaining line and length. When Bangladesh was batting they just had no clue why these eighteen year olds were not respecting the paper tiger bowlers. While Bangladesh had a game plan they just had no plan "B" to tackle the surprise.

Anand Vasu says in Cricinfo that:

Bangladesh have slowly, steadily, doggedly worked at their cricket to the best of their ability for years now, and the fruit of that is this win. The point is that they have been around for a while now, it's just that not too many have taken note.

The Bangladeshi Newspaper Prothom Alo said this win is a reply to the Indian's disrespect about Bangladesh. Bangladesh proved India that what is commerce to them is merely a game for them. The article concludes with the hope that India is put down on their feet with this shock. If they still cannot revise their opinion about Bangladesh they will be reminded in the coming tour.

Now India will go nowhere with blaming players and the coach for this loss. Cricket is religion, passion and everything to Indians. Actually millions of Indian cricket fans deserves better from the Indian team. And this will happen when all the extra pressure of high expectations and influence of commerce in cricket are reduced. Let the Indian team play for themselves, not for the cup, but for the sheer pleasure of the game. India has enough good players to become a champion but now it may be too late for this World Cup.

Shripriya said...

I agree with you. India just seemed to be "waiting" instead of actively doing anything. Waiting for Bangladesh to self-destruct. That's not how a team that wants to win plays the game.

Let's see if they can pull it out. The odds that they will be out of the world cup are relatively high. So, in that case, they will have a long time to reflect on their play or lack thereof...

Fourth Umpire said...

mitanshu - I think a few people gave them a chance, just not a serious one. I'm glad at least that we haven't heard the match fixing excuse trotted out.

anon - absolutely. The better, more professional side won in both games

rezwan - good points. No doubt the Indians thought this was fait accompli. Serves them right. As for Anand's comments on CI, he seems to be another who makes the mistake of thinking India are a top side. They aren't.

shri - India tried to do that to Bangladesh in a test match a few years ago as well. Fortunately, those games come with a second innings.