Blogs & Opinion


Mike Atherton:

Most Popular Posts:

Opinion Archive:

Whetting the appetite

Bangladesh have potential to Test tourists, says Athers

Mike Atherton - Michael Atherton Posted 5th March 2010 view comments

So it's 'job done' for England on this stage of their Bangladesh tour.

We expected no less than a 3-0 one-day scoreline to England and that's what transpired, with the tourists rounding matters off with a resounding victory in Chittagong.

In the grand scheme of things this result won't reverberate around the game.

Job gone: Morgan congratulates Kieswetter on his ton but greater Tests await both

Job gone: Morgan congratulates Kieswetter on his ton but greater Tests await both

But equally people would be wrong to be dismissive and say 'England have only beaten Bangladesh'.

The home side had their moments in all three games - the problem was there simply weren't enough of them.

Bangladesh are a young squad and at times their inexperience and naivety stopped them taking advantage when they could have exploited a weakness.

Flower stressed that every player - not just Kieswetter - is learning and that applies to Kevin Pietersen too.

Mike Atherton
Quotes of the week

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
Bangladesh v England

First Test
3am, Fri, Sky Sports HD1 & SS1

I've no doubt that will change with time and as the likes of Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan develop.

There is an undoubted passion for cricket in Bangladesh, an enthusiasm and level of interest that can only bode well for the future.

With such fervour amongst a population of upwards of 150 million, there should be no shortage of talent to choose from in the years ahead.

Reassuring

After two modest returns, it was important that Craig Kieswetter made a significant contribution in Chittagong.

He made a watchful start and then played very well against the spinners in the middle of the innings, before showing his power to claim a maiden one-day international hundred.

Andy Flower, when I interviewed him after the game, wasn't getting too carried away though. He rightly refused to endorse Kieswetter's claims or say he's cemented his place so early on in his career, but it is a significant step forward.

Flower stressed that every player - not just Kieswetter - is learning and that applies to Kevin Pietersen too.

By all accounts, Pietersen is concerned about his form and it was reassuring to hear from Flower that the Hampshire batsman is still putting in plenty in practice.

I believe that if you have got Pietersen's ability and his class - and the work ethic and desire is there too - then it can only be a matter of time before he comes good.

When it does, he should form a dynamic partnership with England's most recent recipient of an incremental contract, Eoin Morgan.

The left-hander is going to be an integral part of England's one-day team now for years to come and it's easy to see why.

He looks like a terrific player who is capable of hitting the ball in a variety of ways; he's also got power and the ability to stay calm and cool at the end of an innings.

He's the sort of player England have been looking for and the challenge that now faces him is to score heavily enough in first-class cricket to ensure he cannot be overlooked for the Test squad.

Concern

While there is competition for batting places, there is opportunity in the bowling ranks where a succession of injuries have taken their toll.

The good news is that there is a chance that both Stuart Broad and Graham Onions will be fit for the first Test after their most recent scans revealed no problems.

The larger question that persists, though, is 'why do the faster bowlers keep picking up injuries'? Are England going about things the right way?

Fast bowlers have always got injured - there's nothing new in that - and it's hard to say if England's current crop is getting injured at a faster rate. It is certainly worth asking if their training is cricket-specific enough.

Ryan Sidebottom's long-term international future is now a real concern after he was forced to fly home.

He's the wrong side of 30 and has not put a string of games together for some time. My feeling is that England have probably seen the best of him.

In contrast, Tim Bresnan's had a pretty good series - he's probably been England's most consistent seamer - and Amjal Shahzad has filled in well.

Now he has the opportunity, he must prove he is capable of fulfilling his potential and perform well enough to enable people to make a favourable long-term judgement on him.

Heartened

Looking ahead to the Tests, England have a decision to make at the top of the order.

In Michael Carberry they have a ready-made opener who will feel he has earned his chance.

But the selectors will want to play two spinners when the opening Test gets underway here in Chittagong on Friday and so must decide whether Carberry's inclusion should come at the Jonathan Trott's expense.

It may be that they want to give the Warwickshire batsman another go after his modest tour of South Africa rather than hand out a new cap; I'll be watching that one with interest.

For their part, Bangladesh will have mixed feelings going into the series.

They'll be heartened by nearly winning the second one-dayer but quietly I think they had some expectation of giving England a tougher time at home. They'll want to put that right.

I can see Jamie Siddons' side giving England a decent run for their money if the Chittagong pitch turns as expected.

I don't expect them to be pushovers because they have four spinners capable of constantly going at England.

The tourists won't find it easy to score runs on very slow decks - conditions that mean the depleted seam attack won't be able to blast out the opposition either.

Comments (3)

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Sooryanarayan Iyer says...

what atherton has said is partially favouring england. Iam of the view that even millows which has commented by present english cricketers has turn the table. So comments would be accepted by Asian Cricketers. We asian cricketers feel that we can upset Aussies of even so called english cricketers whoi prove themselves as cricket playing giants

Posted 06:05 8th March 2010

Mr A says...

Well that is as solid a tour as you could ask for really, have become more and more impressed by Bresnan the more i see him bowl and in a one day side i really feel he is the consistent seamer that we have needed. Kieswetter will get most of the plaudits and everywhere i read he will be in the side at the expense of Matty Prior who for me has been one of englands best players (both test and ODI) for the past year. Why cant the two of them play together...? I know they are both w'keepers but surely Englands one day side has been lacking bit hitting openers with the ability to play a range of shots, which both of these are.... personally i would like to see them both given a run in the one day side together, even if that sat pietersens expense for one game i think it would be worth a try..... Also to note what an outstanding job Ally Cook has done ive said it before and this only reaffirms my view that he one day will be a superb England Captain, he has certainly done himsel, the team and England proud.

Posted 21:41 7th March 2010

Martin Hicks says...

Mike - I generally agree with your comments, our seam bowlers seem to have the Kiwi disease. It is rare for New Zealand to ever have their first choice team fit and like them we need to rally round and fight. I would pick 2 seamers and 2 spinners plus Luke Wright - we don't know whether he is test class and if we never pick him we will never find out. I also like the way Morgan builds a one day innings before cutting loose and would like to see him given a test chance sooner rather than later.

Posted 13:33 6th March 2010

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

back to top

Other Cricket Experts:

Latest Posts in Cricket:

Latest News RSS feeds

Cricket mourns Hughes

Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes has died in hospital in Sydney two days after he was struck by a ball while batting.

Strauss: Cricket never safer

Andrew Strauss believes cricket is as safe as it has ever been, despite the tragic death of Phillip Hughes.

Hughes 'one of the good guys'

A distraught Shane Warne has given his tribute to Phillip Hughes, who he says was 'one of the good guys'.

KP pays tribute to Hughes

Kevin Pietersen has spoken of his sadness at Phillip Hughes’ death and believes he was on course to have a great career.

Gillespie feels for Abbott

Jason Gillespie and Steve Harmison are thinking of bowler Sean Abbott after the tragic passing of Phillip Hughes.

Features

Phillip Hughes tragedy: 'He won the hearts of millions through his feats and character'

Phillip Hughes tragedy: 'He won the hearts of millions through his feats and character'

Phillip Joel Hughes was born on 30 November 1988 to a banana-farming father Greg and an Italian mother Virginia in Macksville, a small northern New South Wales town of barely 2,500 inhabitants on the Nambucca River midway between Brisbane and Sydney.

England v Sri Lanka: 'Moeen Ali's superb hundred full of power and adaptability'

England v Sri Lanka: 'Moeen Ali's superb hundred full of power and adaptability'

Moeen Ali’s hard-hitting and adaptability impressed Marcus Trescothick during England’s first ODI against Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka v England: Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene must be stopped

Sri Lanka v England: Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene must be stopped

Those who think life ends at 30 obviously haven’t been watching the Sri Lanka cricket team.