Well, that was a tough offseason. In between New Zealand vs England finishing, and the IPL starting, I started to have real fears for my sanity. Where was all the test cricket?
Those few weeks hurt. But fortunately, all is well with the world again. Zimbabwe are hosting Bangladesh in a two test series, which is sure to be a cracker. Some will scoff at that description, given the lightweight tags of both teams. In fact, Cricinfo even called them lightweights in their preview.
But think about it. Both of these teams will be desperate to record some wins. Both are capable of doing so. Whichever team to take the series will be able to make the claim for years, ‘at least we aren’t as bad as X.’ Battles between teams at the bottom of leagues are often the most enthralling, as they both know their chance has arrived. And both of these teams are very squarely in cricket’s metaphorical relegation zone.
Bangladesh have the edge, though they may appear stronger than they really are. Shakib will likely only play as a batsman, and while he is completely capable of performing this role his bowling will be missed. As well as that, Tamim Iqbal is out, a huge blow for Bangladesh. Iqbal has destroyed some of the best attacks in the world, and when he fires the team gets off to a tremendous start. Ashraful being back will also be interesting, he is on what seems to be his hundredth comeback, and some runs now might cement his place for good.
Zimbabwe have few world class players, but they do know how to scrap. In their home conditions they should prove tough to put away. Jarvis and Meth make a reasonably formidable new ball attack, and could give Zimbabwe the opportunity to run through Bangladesh’s top order early.
My only problem with this series will be watching it. The lucky bastard from Limited Overs will be enjoying the games, as they are broadcast on an American network. As a New Zealander, I’ll have to resort to scrounging for streaming sites and clicking refresh on the Cricinfo commentary.