Twenty20 leagues all operate in the same way. They try and attract as many stars as possible and then they use local players as padding. However, different leagues have to settle for different stars.
Some players will turn up for anything. Azhar Mahmood, Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait – obviously all of these guys are going to be appearing in the Bangladesh Premier League. But who else is there? Who else has flown over to Bangladesh for an unlikely payday?
Here are our favourites:
- Kevon Cooper – nice West Indian vowel there
- Jason Roy
- Josh Cobb
- Darren Stevens
- Ben Edmondson – has also played for Denmark and ‘New Age Impi’ who were apparently captained by Paul Collingwood
- Shane Harwood
- Daniel Smith (hasn’t played a first-class match since 2010 and averages 24.35)
- Riki Wessels
- Charles Coventry – who once held a world record
- Cameron Borgas
- Chris Liddle – he’s 6ft 4ins, so we’re assuming he’s a bowler even though he averages 51.89 with the ball
How do these deals come about? Who contacts whom? Were Rangpur Riders desperate to have Cameron Borgas in their side? Did they stop at nothing to secure his services?
How does Daniel Smith get a contract? He’s not a professional cricketer. Presumably he doesn’t have an agent. How did Khulna Royal Bengals get hold of him?
How in hell does Chris Liddle find himself in the same team as Tillakaratne Dilshan, Shakib Al Hasan and Shahid Afridi? What evidence was put in front of the Dhaka Gladiators management team that made them say: “Yes! Chris Liddle is the man for us. Those six, penetrating overs he bowled against the touring West Indians last year in that washed out fixture at Hove have utterly convinced us. He completely outbowled Kirk Ogilvy Wernars in what was technically a first-class fixture and there aren’t many people who can say they’ve done that.47 Appeals
Okay, we’ve had a slight about-turn. We’ve decided that Bangladesh aren’t certain to lose the Asia Cup final to Pakistan. We’ve decided they’re definitely going to win instead.
This sudden heartfelt belief has come about because we spent four minutes thinking about Shakib Al Hasan yesterday and we remembered how important it is to have pointless and illogical obsessions in life.
Let’s try and get a handle on Shakib Al Hasan’s unparalleled genius using some facts. Other websites do facts and people read them, so there are no excuses – you have to keep reading.
What a bowler!
At the age of 24, Shakib Al Hasan has taken 158 one-day international wickets. That is a lot. Do you know how many England players have taken more than 158 one-day international wickets in the whole of history?
At the age of 24, Shakib Al Hasan has already outdone Eddie Hemmings, Alan Mullally and scores of other household names. Only Andrew Flintoff, James Anderson and Darren Gough can boast of having taken more wickets and they are all completely ace.
Read it and weep, Phillip Defreitas.
What a batsman!
At the age of 24, Shakib Al Hasan has hit 3,567 one-day international runs. That is a lot. Do you know how many England players have scored more than 3,567 one-day international runs in the whole of history.
Okay, that’s not quite as impressive, but luminaries such as Wayne Larkins and Vikram Solanki are still trailing in our boy’s wake.
Read it and weep, Jamie Dalyrymple.
What an all-rounder!
It should be noted that Andrew Flintoff, James Anderson and Darren Gough have all scored fewer runs than Shakib, so he wins at cricket. He is the best of the cricketers.
This is why Bangladesh will win the Asia Cup. If they don’t, it’s because one of the other ten players has ruined it for everybody with his rank incompetence.28 Appeals
In our book, that’s progress. Sri Lanka are knackered, India are emotionally spent and these days Bangladesh can take advantage of that to get themselves into a position to lose to Pakistan.
It’s not full-on, double-shifts-at-the-bunting-factory glory, but it’s not bad. Life’s all about taking pride in minuscule progress anyway, whether it’s gaining the ability peel a potato without slicing off your fingertip, achieving a hair style that isn’t fully embarrassing or beating higher-ranked cricket teams suffering from collective depression.
Has enough time elapsed that we can link to our post from February 2006 in which we said that Shakib Al Hasan was going to be good? For the benefit of the nine people who started reading the site since the last link, here it is. Marvel at our cricketing insight, conveniently ignoring the links that lead to a post extolling the virtues of Sri Lanka’s Andy Solomons (although Andy did hit his first hundred last week).
There was a time when we happily clogged up this site with dull, self-serving updates about unknown Bangladeshis hitting fifties. We currently feel quite enthusiastic about going back to that state of affairs.16 Appeals
When a losing team plays another losing team, one of them has to lose. No-one wins.
This is good though. It’s like life. Life is an ongoing damage limitation exercise that is ultimately doomed to failure. You try your best, you slave away, you constantly improve yourself and the best you can hope for is that you won’t be ridiculed for how badly you have failed.
If the West Indies win, it is ‘only Bangladesh’. If Bangladesh win, it is because of the slow implosion of Caribbean cricket. The important thing is that when it’s all over, no-one is particularly happy.6 Appeals
Faith is what you need when you don’t have facts. More accurately, faith is what you resort to when you don’t have facts – ‘need’ isn’t the right word. Faith is a way of sticking your head in the sand and even when you’re looking for something at the beach, that’s rarely a productive pastime.
The pertinent fact regarding Bangladesh is this: most of their players are 24. This explains their miss-and-hit-and-miss Test efforts to some degree, but it increasingly seems to us that not a year goes by without all of their ages going up. Not one year. Not one, single year.
We’ll never resort to faith when backing Bangladesh, which is why we’ve wavered a bit after they lost a Test match to Zimbabwe. The 4-0 one-day series win over New Zealand is still fresh enough in our mind that we’ll forgive them this blemish, but it would be good if they could help their own cause a little more.
Sometimes it feels like being a real die-hard fan of a band who you always thought had a lot of promise. You keep going to the gigs, you convince yourself there’s still a spark, but eventually you find yourself in Fibbers in York and there’s nine people in the audience.
As you’re walking into the toilet before the band have gone on, the lead singer walks out and says: “You’re not going for a shit are you mate? Only I’ve pissed all over the seat.”
It is at that moment that you finally accept that the promise was only ever a fleeting illusion.8 Appeals
What is Bill Gates best known for?
If you answered ‘being the happiest man in the world’ then have 100 points and go and sit with Tamim Iqbal.
Speaking about his Lord’s hundred after he was named one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year, Tamim said:
“I was the happiest man in the world – happier than Bill Gates.”
Cricinfo have a headline describing Zimbabwe as ‘woeful’ after they were bowled out for 162 by New Zealand. However, Bangladesh were bowled out for 58 against West Indies. And they were at home.
Cricinfo’s editorial staff really need to get together and establish an adjective hierarchy. Like most people, we rate all events that happen in our life according to the Premier Manager II scale, which runs as follows:
- Fair (one to five stars)
- Good (one to five stars)
- Very Good (one to five stars)
- World Class
- The Ultimate
But as you can see, there are obvious flaws in this system. We can go out and have a great meal, musing over our brandy whether it was ‘world class’ or ‘exceptional’, but what if we contract dysentry and the waiter punches us in the kidney? ‘Fair *’ seems rather generous in that situation.
We need an improved scale for evaluating poor performance and if Premier Manager II lets you down, where do you turn?
Maybe people could turn to the comments section of a post on kingcricket.co.uk…33 Appeals
One of the more interesting one-day series has just finished with Bangladesh emerging 4-0 winners over New Zealand.
There are two types of people when it comes to gauging Bangladesh’s progress: the people who look at the scorecards and the people who look at the results.
Those of us in the first group have been monitoring a side that’s been scoring runs more and more consistently and which has had impressive contributions in losing causes from more and more players. Beating New Zealand 4-0 will help the second group see what we already know. Bangladesh are improving all the time.
This is great news because cricket has several nations operating on the breadline at the minute and there simply aren’t enough countries playing the sport that we can afford to lose them.
New Zealand themselves often seem a couple of injuries away from becoming a first-class side, but somehow they always keep it together. They have few stars, but no opponent assumes that they’ll beat them, least of all in one-day cricket. Bangladesh’s victory was no mean feat, particularly without the main man, Tamim Iqbal.8 Appeals
That’s that out of the way then. Up until yesterday, England had won every match they’d ever played against Bangladesh. Not any more.
Is it a good thing that Bangladesh won? Unquestionably. Why? Well some of our friends were at the match in Bristol yesterday and one pointed out that this match was infinitely more entertaining than last year’s one-day international against West Indies – a day-nighter that never saw night.
That’s it in a nutshell. Sport is about competition. This individual match was closely competed, the result means the series as a whole will be close and it also means Bangladesh cricket is more competitive in broader terms.
And don’t anyone dare say “it’s the kick up the arse England needed to keep them from complacency”. England weren’t complacent. They were beaten.8 Appeals
Tamim Iqbal has passed 50 in nine of his last 11 Test innings. Considering how he tends to start his innings – hacking away at every ball like he’s a Thracian gladiator de-limbing adversaries – that’s pretty remarkable.
Virender Sehwag is probably a role model, but with Sehwag, you rarely feel like he’s going to get out. It’s clinical destruction. Tamim Iqbal has a lot of shots, but he’s also got a bit of Steve Harmison the batsman in him.8 Appeals