change for subcontinent teams
change of fortunes that cricket nations around the
world are experiencing. That cricket is a game of
glorious uncertainties is a well known fact over the
Three of the subcontinent teams Sri Lanka, India and
Bangladesh found themselves at the receiving end
against teams from Australasia, Europe and Africa.
While Australia got the better of Sri Lanka 3-2 in
the one-day international series, India lost their
number one Test ranking to England when they were
humbled 4-0 in the four-Test series. At the same
time Zimbabwe on their return from Test exile not
only beat Bangladesh in the one-off Test but also
pocketed the five-match one-day series 3-2 to
announce their arrival to big time cricket after
almost six years.
The wheel of fortune has certainly changed. Sri
Lanka one of the World Cup finalists was expected to
beat Australia playing on their own home turf but
surprisingly found the tables turned on them. Sri
Lanka had a good chance of becoming the no. 1 ranked
ODI side for the first time had they beaten
Australia by a 4-1 margin, but as it turned out to
be, the result was reversed and they lost the series
much to the disappointment of their fans and more so
the players themselves.
Playing under home conditions is expected to help
the host country a great deal, but with Sri Lanka it
seems it is not the case. From the way they have
performed in One-Day Internationals in the past four
years or so they have lost bilateral series at home
to India (twice), England (once) and now Australia.
They have beaten only Bangladesh, Pakistan and West
Whether it’s a case of Sri Lanka’s own failure to
make maximum use of the home pitches and conditions
or that they are not getting the pitches to suit
their own strengths is debatable.
After losing the ODI series to Australia, Sri Lanka
captain Tillakaratne Dilshan said, “I believe the
wickets need to be fifty-fifty. They need to give
equal opportunities for both batsmen and bowlers.
What we need is wickets where the ball comes onto
the bat and spins without being slow. Whatever
wickets we get we should play on them.”
More than the wickets and conditions the problem it
seems lies with the team where they have failed to
maximise the opportunities given to them.
India on the other hand were the top ranked Test
team in the world and to retain that position they
had to prevent England from beating them by a
two-match margin. They failed to do that and
England, playing the better cricket, thrashed them
4-0 rather comprehensively to end their two-year
reign at the top of the Test ladder.
England played like a well-oiled machine and
India had no answers to their total domination of
the series. The last occasion India suffered a 4-0
humiliation in a Test series was 33 years ago when
they lost by that margin in Australia under the
leadership of Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi.
Zimbabwe’s performance over Bangladesh will do their
cricket a world of good. This wonderful nation lost
some of the most talented cricketers due to the
political situation in the country and if what is
happening to their cricket is a clear indication
that the situation is getting back to normal then
Zimbabwe cricket is in for some exciting times in
the near future.
The good thing is that some of the white players
who quit the game early are returning to serve
Zimbabwe cricket – former captain Alastair Campbell
is the chief cricket selector, another former
skipper Heath Streak is the Zimbabwe bowling coach
and Grant Flower is their batting coach. Former
England cricketer Alan Butcher who is the Zimbabwe
team’s head coach hailed their ‘double’ triumph as a
“significant win for a team that experienced tougher
times in the past”.