A Test cricket festival

HARARE - The last two weeks have been an absolute treat for cricket, and more, particularly Test cricket lovers.

We have been treated to some outstanding Test cricket from the UAE, Bangladesh and now Australia.

The series between Pakistan and the West Indies has been pretty one-sided from a result point, but both teams have played some attractive Test cricket throughout the series.

Some of the young guns from the West Indies are beginning to put in good performances, and although it hasn’t culminated in a win for the Windies, it is clear to see that much like Zimbabwe, a great deal of talent is there for the taking, and it is up to the board as to how they will nurture, develop and respect their younger players.

The most spoken about series, is undoubtedly the just-concluded series between Bangladesh and England which ended with a fantastic win by Bangladesh to level the two-match series.

Truth be told, Bangladesh should probably have won the first Test as well, but a severe case of the jitters saw England snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

This didn’t dampen Bangladesh’s will to level the series, however.

It could have been so easy for the home side to capitulate and hand England a comfortable win in the second match, and five years ago, it probably would have been the case.

But, the Tigers have grown and matured during the last two or so years, probably due in some measure to a strongly built former fast bowler who not only got the Bangladeshi fast bowling on track, but also got the entire team to believe in their abilities and each other.

Bangladesh have once again unearthed a remarkable talent in 19-year-old off spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz, who in his first series not only got the man-of-the-match in the second Test, but also grabbed the man-of-the-series award.

He seems to have a natural talent about him, and a maturity that most 29-year-olds don’t have.

The question, however, is . . . Will he be able to continually deliver the goods?

The sub continental fans are very loving when their players do well, but extremely harsh and even unforgiving when they go through a lean patch, and one only hopes that should he go through a lean patch, he would be able to bounce back again.

So, it is vitally important that his coaches and senior players handle him correctly, and when the pressure begins to take its toll, it is important for his support staff to keep him focused.

England, of course, have always been sour losers, and seldom acknowledge that they were outplayed.

You need only remember their tour to Zimbabwe back in late 1996/97 when they were out batted, out bowled and completely out fielded, yet in a documentary about England’s woes in the 90s, the team and management put their performances down to hotel accommodation and the food they were forced to eat.

So, they blame everybody else other than themselves comes as no surprise, even if it is 20 years down the line.

The Australia-South Africa series promises to be a mouth watering affair, and that’s putting it mildly.

South African paceman Dale Steyn has already got the ball rolling by talking about cutting off the head of the snake, by dismissing the captain as well as David Warner, and the WACA pitch in Perth, has not disappointed.

True to its nature it has provided its usual pace and bounce for the pace bowlers, but equally provided opportunities for batsman who are prepared to knuckle down and deal with the short-pitched bowling.

Temba Bavuma was very selective in his innings of 51, and although he would have been distraught to have got out, he was very influential in resuscitating South Africa’s innings.

Quinton de Kock continues to thrive at his number seven position and one can't help but feel that prolific scoring Australian wicket keeper Adam Gilchrist’s record may be in real danger of being shattered.

The only down side to this series is that it is not accessible to viewers who are fortunate to have DStv, so keeping up with events may prove to be tricky.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.