Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Testing who?

Bangladesh have won their second test match, against a side that couldn’t actually break into their first team’s test line-up.

The West Indies have revived their persistent player relation issue, with their entire on strike. Of course, it’s entirely reasonable for them to have done so. They haven’t got that much money.

And test match cricket is probably too boring for them anyway.

There have been some facetious murmurings regarding West Indies test status, and much vociferous chunterings about Bangladesh’s.

But, we are left wondering as to the standing of a second-rate test nation’s victory over a test team’s seconds squad. The scorers make the appropriate entries and log records, as their institution dictates, but how to other spectators view the match?

Well, if we are being kind, we can cite Bangladesh’s general improvement (albeit mainly in the shorter formats) and the need to broaden test cricket, whilst dutifully applying the patience that this principle requires. Indeed, as an England fan, I can cite many tours in which their squad has been decimated by gammy knees and unpleasant bowel conditions. Are England’s perennially crock collective worthy of test status, when, their “leading” bowler has been out for the past four years?

The problem however relates to depth. As we saw last week even a second string England team can trouble the leading test nation, perhaps more so than the actual test squad.

Although there are some paper records set by this match – a rare Tiger victory, a test match century, etc – it is doubtful that these statistical achievements will linger in the catalogue of test match honours.

The cricketing community will ignore this match, and forget the events and thrills without compunction. Indeed, it will be tacitly labelled as a first class match, or even a club game. And yet, the absurdly legalistic methods of international cricket afford this game a quality that no critical, rational human being would consider.

So, how does the ICC believe that we should treat this match – or, indeed, similarly sub-standard games?

I suspect they'd advice us to direct our attentions elsewhere. Towards the lucrative Indian market, perhaps?

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