Saturday, June 18, 2005

Nightmare in Ole Blighty

If ever there was a way the Aussies were to play themselves into form, it would have been to play Bangladesh - earn some valuable practice in the process, and fine tune their game for the real deal against England. I'm sure that's the approach the Aussies adopted in their game on Saturday, and who can blame them? Bangladesh were roundly trashed by England without breaking a sweat, and had shown dismal form all summer with the exceptions of Aftab Ahmed and Mashrafe Mortaza to some extent. That approach, I think, played a big part in the mother of all upsets international cricket has seen. Hats off to Bangladesh, though, for playing some scintillating cricket and holding their nerve when it mattered. They have gone through a wretched English summer and have had to cope with ridicule heaped upon them in all forms of media. Sporting sides, especially those representing a nation, thrive on a healthy dose of pride and this win will go a long way in providing a real boost in that regard for the Tigers. What of Australia? Ricky Ponting had to grudgingly concede it was time to press the panic button. The question on everyone's mind is, is this just a blip on the radar, or is this a pointer to a trend? Is a new world order emerging in international cricket? I think the status quo is safe as far as test cricket is concerned - with Justin Langer and Shane Warne stepping in, Australia will be a much more powerful side in the longer version. England's ability to counter Warne, or even Stuart McGill, remains suspect. But one-day cricket may have a different ring to it. - NK

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