CMJ: Bangladesh win is good for cricket

Although, naturally, I would like to see England do well in this World Cup, it gladdened the heart to see how hard Bangladesh fought to win the victory against Andrew Strauss’s team which keeps alive their own hopes of reaching the last eight. It is a result which has thrown open the outcome of England’s group.

England, of course, can still qualify for the knockout stages if they beat West Indies in their final group game, but perhaps for world cricket’s sake it would be hugely beneficial if Bangladesh can get through.

Quite apart from this tournament and its future, Bangladesh seems to me to be a country with little to cheer its vast population – witness, for instance, the annual floods that are invariably fatal for so many poor people. Cricket gives them joy, so I hope that they DO qualify.

As for the World Cup as a whole, so far I think there have been more good games than last time in the Caribbean but it was still folly to have a tournament as long.

Next time I hope the ICC change their mind about not having Associate nations because part of the point of the whole thing is to help worldwide development but I like the idea – which is beginning to be mooted in some quarters – of starting the next World Cup in 2015 by having a qualifying tournament for the best four qualifiers and the four lowest nations in the international table over the three previous years.

This would take place while the six ‘senior’ nations are warming up. Two of the other eight then qualify for a league of eight in the tournament ‘proper’, with two games a day before knockout semi-finals.

This idea, indeed, will also be on the agenda of the MCC World Cricket Committee’s next meeting, in June, and if ratified the committee would lobby the ICC to adopt what I believe would be a great way of adding interest to the first part of a World Cup tournament.

As for England’s progress at the moment, there are clearly some selection issues. Indeed, I think that Adil Rashid would have been a better original option as a second spinner/all-rounder but there is no reason either why James Tredwell and Graeme Swann should not play in the same games when conditions favour spin bowlers. Tredwell can bat quite effectively too.

I think that England’s selectors are trying to be patient with Rashid but while Michael Yardy is a resourceful cricketer he is not really a proper spin bowler and Tredwell currently seems not to be employed anyway, so they have missed a trick.

It is such a pity that Samit Patel of Nottinghamshire allegedly could not resist the curries because he is a fine cricketer. I think he would have been ideal batting at about six and bowling a little like Yardy but with more spin and flight.

As for James Anderson, he appears not to be able to rethink his tactics quickly. I don’t think it is a matter of control in this last game against Bangladesh, however. He seems to have started with a preconceived plan to bowl at Tamim Iqbal’s hip, and Tamim was grateful for it.

About Christopher Martin-Jenkins

One of the leading chroniclers of cricket over the past four decades, he is perhaps best-known for his commentary on BBC Radio’s Test Match Special since 1973. But he is also a former cricket correspondent of both The Times and Daily Telegraph newspapers as well as the BBC, besides having had two spells as editor of The Cricketer magazine. A fine after-dinner speaker, he played second XI county cricket in his youth and his son Robin was an all-rounder for Sussex from 1995 to 2010.
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