Vol. 5 Num 618 Thu. February 23, 2006  

Inside Cricket with Wasim

Akram Inswinger
IT'S simply a great victory. With the superb win against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh hold a lot of things as far as Test matches are concerned. I don't understand why some people unnecessarily criticise the Tigers, who are improving greatly. Is it a joke to beat four Test teams including Pakistan, India and of course Australia, all the world champion sides? Now they put another feather in their cap beating the Lankans. The win once again gave an indication that Bangladesh can beat any team in the world if they play as per their potential.

Recently Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain, raised questions about Bangladesh's presence in the highest level along with Zimbabwe and I must say it's rubbish. His duty is to play cricket and not to think about which teams will play at this level. Mr.

Ponting, you just keep your mouth shut and look back to what they did against you people in Cardiff last year and take a note of the latest one against Sri Lanka. And I would suggest everybody: Don't think you are going to play a warm-up game when you take on Bangladesh.

Players like Mohammad Ashraful, Aftab Ahmed and Alok Kapali have rare qualities to dominate world cricket. Is there any doubt about Ashraful's world-class calibre? I don't think so. Any cricket fan certainly would love to spend money to watch the little boy's batting, who is just 21 years old.

In the match, I think Bangladesh showed against Sri Lanka what actually 'team spirit' means. It was not easy for Bangladesh to bounce back in the match after a frustrating five-wicket defeat in the first game but they played the second game with big heart. Their bowling, fielding and sensible batting were excellent and I must say Bangladesh never allowed their opponents to come back in the match after an early damage.

As a bowler I am really impressed by the bowling of young left-arm paceman Syed Rasel who set the team's tempo early in the match. They way he spotted the ball in the right area and maintained accuracy was simply unbelievable. Yes, his pace is not up to the mark as a new ball bowler but I believe he can improve it by playing much more in the longer-version games.

I would like to make a humble request to the Bangladesh cricket authority to concentrate more on their first-class structure. I know Bangladesh are trying to set a standard first-class structure but you have to do it in great pace and of course sincerely.

I am confident about Bangladesh's cricket because see how their under-19 boys recently performed against the top teams and I have learnt that there are lot of talents to serve the national side.

It was fantastic to see such kind of athletic ground-fielding which put huge pressure on the strong Sri Lanka batting line-up. Even Sanath Jayasuriya struggled to play his natural game against disciplined bowling and fielding.

But the bowling of Kapali and Aftab as part-timers actually shattered the rival hopes to put a challenging total and I think their bowling took the game away from Sri Lanka.

When Bangladesh went to bat definitely there was nervousness following their first match debacle, but Javed Omar kept his cool to give Bangladesh a perfect start and then Ashraful and captain Habibul Bashar batted sensibly on the foundation.

But I was really frustrated the way the two set batsmen threw their wickets at a very crucial stage. It was not a good sign, especially the captain's dismissal was unacceptable because he should have led the side from the front to set an example for the others.

Now the series levelled at 1-1, I firmly believe that Bangladesh have the potential to upset the visiting side and lift the three-match series. We are looking forward to a great game in Chittagong.

JOY UNBOUND: Jubilant supporters at the Shaheed Chandu Stadium in Bogra hail the Tigers' victory over Sri Lanka in the second ODI on Wednesday. PHOTO: STAR