Mehedi Hasan is no Murali

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Mehedi Hasan is making his debut. Bangladesh saw fit to give him the Murali role.

Younger readers might think that ‘the Murali role’ is all about being brilliant and freakish and baffling people with magic, but there is a more prosaic aspect to it too. For much of his career, the boggle-eyed, flexi-limbed one-of-a-kind was obliged to bowl half of his side’s overs and take at least half of the wickets.

Being a genius can be bloody hard work.

We daresay the role doesn’t become easier when you’re not actually a genius. Mehedi Hasan isn’t a genius. He does however appear to be a pretty fine bowler on this minimal evidence. If he continues to open the bowling and monopolise an end, he might also end up with a shoulder every bit as loose as Murali’s by the end of what could prove to be a 20-year international career.

From England’s perspective, 258-7 was a decent salvage operation. While it’s hard to say whether that score’s any good or not until Bangladesh bat, we are still concerned about this generation of England batsmen.

Most will have rarely faced decent spinners in county cricket and until this season they will most likely have been countering them on seaming pitches anyway.

In the coming months, it’ll be interesting to see whether England Lions tours and the like have papered over these cracks. Much of the plaster in our kitchen was applied onto wallpaper, which just goes to show that despite what people think, you can achieve a lot with this sort of approach.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. Why did you plaster over wallpaper? That sounds a rather half-arsed approach… ultimately, you have plastered over the paper which papered over the cracks. I had an artex ceiling plastered over, mind you. Lovely job they did too. Can give you their number if required.

    1. Who said we did it? We discovered it while undoing the plastering.

      As such, we do actually need a plasterer, but can’t imagine yours is likely to be local to us, what with this being the internet and all.

  2. Mehedi looked very useful indeed, not least the ability to make it turn big or not turn at all with no perceptible difference in action or ball rotation.

    But will that exaggerated unpredictability happen on every track? I doubt it.

    Minimal evidence? Is he Mominul’s brother? And in any case, why should he be giving evidence if he isn’t even selected for the squad? Which reminds me, what has become of Anamul?

    1. Anamul averaged 9 in Tests, this was by most accounts not quite what Bangladesh were after.

      He did better in ODIs but by and large was the one who lost out to Imrul Kayes having his second wind and returning successfully to internationals. Since 2014 Kayes has actually been pretty effective and the young opener talk has since moved on to Soumya Sarker anyway.

  3. Hassan currently has a first-class average north of 40. Admittedly that’s from 12 games, with a top score of 80 – only one not-out though, so it’s not average inflation by diminishing denominator.

    This is another feature that can be used to distinguish him from Murali, though I do recall Murali had a good eye for clubbing the ball when the mood struck.

  4. Keen to loaf for a while rather than write the talk I actually need to write today…

    …I started to think about Gareth Batty being so much of a bowler that he batted at number 11 today and then recalled Peter Bowler, who used to open the batting for Somerset.

    I then wondered whether the two: Gareth Batty and Peter Bowler ever crossed swords.

    Answer: not in first class cricket as far as I can tell, but several times in List A cricket.

    Here is an example, although Batty irritatingly batted in an all-rounder position during that stage of his List A county career:

    I feel better now – except that I really had better get on with the far less interesting business of writing that darned talk.

    1. Outstanding facting.

      Tragically there was no opportunity for a catch to be taken in that game by Arthur Fielder, who played for England and Kent but quite unsportingly died in 1949.

      1. Has anyone ever played a comeback Test and realised one of his team-mates was not born when he made his debut?

        As I type this, I have that creeping feeling I’ve asked a stupid question.

        I get that feeling quite a lot.

      2. At least once!

        John Traicos played for pre-exclusion South Africa as a 23-year old in 1970. He then disappeared* for 22 years and later turned up playing for Zimbabwe in the 90s. In his comeback test in 1992 he played alongside Grant Flower, who was a foetus when Traicos first played Tests.

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