Ian Baker - Bangladesh are good for test cricket
03 Mar 2010 - 12:43:30
With Andrew Strauss missing this current tour of Bangladesh to take a breather, the rest of his side seem to be taking it seriously.
A trip to the sub-continent is not for everyone - given its obvious health risks and sometimes chaotic life. And matches against the world's lowest ranked Test playing nation do not particularly whet the imagination of many players and fans.
But it's reassuring to hear that England's squad are showing exactly the right attitude.
Last week, a number of their players handed out biscuits to poor local school children. I was with them and it was a real eye opening experience - with excited kids so happy with life despite seemingly having so little.
There have been some suggestions that there could be a two-tiered Test system but it's refreshing to hear that the England players are dead-set against such an idea.
"It would be a crying shame," said left-arm swing bowler Ryan Sidebottom and you could hear the passion in his voice. "We want to tour places like this. They are very important for scheduling and for countries like Bangladesh. Just by England touring here may inspire hundreds and thousands of children to take up cricket.
"The guys want to tour Bangladesh. You need to take it and embrace it. It's alright going to places like Australia and South Africa but to come to places like this is part and parcel of the game."
Sidebottom certainly has a point. The Bangladeshis are simply mad about cricket. They absolutely adore it. And given the population of the country (150 million), they could well be challenging the top nations in years to come.
It's important that sides like Australia and South Africa also continue to tour places like Bangladesh too - in terms of cricket and terms of improving standard of life for the many people that are interested in it in such a fascinating country.
Bangladesh have certainly given England two good (one-day) games so far with the electric Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes and Mushfiqur Rahim especially impressive.
England have so far been a little too strong for the hosts and that should continue. But they did not like facing spinners such as Abdur Razzak and captain Shakib Al Hasan in their narrow win on Tuesday.
We should get a competitive Test series too - but England are making the right noises and I do not believe they will get complacent.
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