England in Bangladesh: Preview

Friday sees the England team back in action after a break that scarcely warrants the term.  To put it into context, they begin the ODI series in Bangladesh on October 7th.  In 2017, they will finish their home international season on 29th September.  It’s been pointed out before that England’s schedule is beyond ridiculous, and irrespective of all the other matters around whether England were to tour at all, it would be unsurprising if some within the England camp were hoping for it to be cancelled for no other reason than to provide a more meaningful break.

Some players are missing anyway of course, Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan deciding not to tour, while James Anderson is injured, and in so being thoroughly justifying the medical team once again who advised so firmly against his selection during the English summer.  If this series feels like a warm up for the India tour, it’s not helped by the lack of any scheduled preparatory matches before the first Test in Rajkot; the implication that Bangladesh will provide what is needed is hard to avoid.  Nevertheless, despite the debates over the security issues, Bangladesh as a cricket nation desperately needed it to go ahead.  If England had not agreed to go, the likelihood of other countries visiting would take a big hit.  There may be lots of criticism about how deserving Bangladesh have been over their Test status in the last decade, but losing home matches would be a body blow to the prospects of the game there.  Cricket is not in the healthiest state it could be, and while Pakistan reaching the number one ranking (since overtaken by India) while playing in exile might be a notable achievement, it doesn’t mean it’s a template for others to follow.

This series comprises three one day internationals and two Tests, but few in England will be excited about it.  That isn’t the point though, and while it is easy to play a game of whataboutery, whether it be concerning Ireland’s treatment or the actions of the ICC, for the game to have any chance, the weaker and poorer members of the international firmament need to play against the rest, and play at home.  On my recent travels I had the opportunity to talk to a number of people from Bangladesh, hoteliers, ground handlers and so forth, and while this cricket tour is not something from which they expect to see any business, the very fact that it is happening at all was clearly uppermost in their thoughts.  In difficult times even the most peripheral action can have an impact on the future and on the degree of confidence in the future.  They need this, and they need it badly.

England will expect to win, and although Bangladesh’s progress is uneven, they are even more hampered by having not played international cricket since March’s World T20.  In a time when the ECB are heavily criticised for grinding their players into the dust in an attempt to extract the maximum financial return, it is easy to forget that other countries might regard that as a nice problem to have.

This tour will be low key on the field, and all hopes are that it will be equally low key off it.  Yet for England fans the selections of Zafar Ansari and Ben Duckett will be of interest, as will the performance of some of the bowlers given the challenges ahead.  Chris Woakes has had the kind of summer he would have dreamed about, but rising to the challenge of sub-continental pitches will be something new to deal with.  How he does that, particularly in the absence of Anderson, will provide an indication as to how competitive England will be in India.  The same can be said of the spin attack – the recall of Gareth Batty doesn’t inspire great confidence in the potential amongst the younger players, but dealing with the here and now rather than chasing a future that never arrives is perhaps something England haven’t done enough of in recent times.

However it turns out on the field, this tour says more than just about cricket, and perhaps that is the most important thing.  The debate about the rights and wrongs of players going, not going, how the ECB handled that, how the cricketing press responded to that has been done and not too many came out of it with a great deal of credit.  The matches themselves can at least provide a respite from that.



47 thoughts on “England in Bangladesh: Preview

  1. northernlight71 Oct 5, 2016 / 6:26 pm

    I have to admit, I’m slightly torn on the tour to Bangladesh. Is it important to encourage more countries to play cricket? Of course. Is it worthwhile to support the efforts of Bangladesh’s cricketers to improve by playing against the top teams in the world? Again, yes.
    But then I read about what England playing in Bangladesh involves . . .

    The five England and Wales Cricket Board vehicles were lined by armed motorbikes and 4x4s. The task force included government troops, special forces, intelligence agencies and scores of police at ground level, with rooftop gunmen in attendance.
    As many as 500 people were involved in the security effort, which was funded by the Bangladeshi government; they worked in conjunction with the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the ECB’s security adviser, Reg Dickason, whose visit last month declared Bangladesh safe to tour. Such a convoy will join the team – who have the director of cricket, Andrew Strauss, and the chief executive, Tom Harrison, for company – each time they travel to and from the ground.

    All this for a few overs of cricket. Three times. Plus practice sessions. Funded by a government that doesn’t have the money to provide basic food and clean water to all of its children. Or even most of them – 60% of the population doesn’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. 100,000 children each year die of diarrhoeal disease thanks to dirty water.
    But they have funds for special forces and presidential-style security for some bloody cricketers.

    I know it’s wrong to directly equate such things. There’s always something you can point at and say it’s better to spend money on that than on sport. But this whole episode just smells wrong to me. If the ECB want to support cricket in Bangladesh then change the disbursement of ICC funds, let Bangladesh play over here more often and don’t tour if it creates a problem which they have to spend money to solve in the first place. Why don’t the ECB pay for the security, for instance?

    Yep, you’re right. It’s been another great day 🙂


    • Mark Oct 6, 2016 / 8:16 am

      Does anyone really belive the spin that we are touring to help BAngladesh cricket? Or are we there for nothing more than preperation for the Indian tour? After all, the country is right next door to India, and has similar conditions? As has been pointed out, if we were wanting to “help” Bangladesh cricket, we would invite them to tour here more. But that doesn’t sell, and modern cricket is only about money. So we rock up once in a blue moon when we happen to be in the neighbourhood on route for some where more profitable.

      Now this may just be realpolitik, but please spare me the sanctimonious ECB lectures about doing good works. We wouldn’t be there if we weren’t going to India.


      • thelegglance Oct 6, 2016 / 8:33 am

        No I don’t think anyone believes that at all. But it doesn’t mean it’s not desperately needed by Bangladesh either.


    • Mark Oct 6, 2016 / 8:28 am

      Doesn’t say much for Australian cricket if they can only win by shouting, snarling and verbally insulting people. How about skill, craft and consistency?

      Was Don Bradman some sort of skin head thug, stomping around telling every one to F** off?


  2. @pktroll Oct 6, 2016 / 9:06 am

    Can see England falling up short here in the ODI series. Despite a rather different line-up to when England last played Bangladesh in the doomed last world cup bid, Banglas have been a pretty useful team at home and that England’s line-up won’t have a great deal of experience in those conditions.


    • RufusSG Oct 6, 2016 / 9:14 am

      I actually think Bangladesh start as marginal favourites, although the fact that they lost a game to (what was admittedly a highly competent, especially in their bowling) Afghanistan in their recent three-match series should encourage England that they can be beaten. They certainly have the strongest spinner on show in Shakib, however.


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Oct 6, 2016 / 11:15 am

        Finally got my twitter I’d sorted after a bit of a hiatus. They’ve often been very strong against the likes of even NZ in recent years on their own territory.

        On a side note, the decline of even 50 over cricket in Windies is fairly tragic. They are getting stuffed by a Pakistan side that themselves only won a repecharge match v England and who got stuffed at home last winter. However, Pakistan seemed to have found themselves a batsman in Babar Azam, who didn’t find the going so easy over here.


  3. "IronBalls" McGinty Oct 6, 2016 / 9:18 am

    Sigh! That bloody bunch of vicious, vindictive, incompetent charlatans have done it again, and destroyed my view of England, built up on the last year or so, and relegated them back to Team ECB! I now couldn’t give a flying fuck what happens in Bangladesh, or India for that matter!
    I see that two besuited weasels, Clarke and Harrison are off to have talks with the BCCI regarding the Champions trophy. They will doubtless take lessons on chicanery from that bunch! Nest of vipers the lot of ’em..a pox on all their houses I say!!!


    • Mark Oct 6, 2016 / 10:03 am

      I have reached that point as well. The Durham assassination is pretty much the final straw for me. How Graves can preside over this punishment while he has bailed out Yorkshire and warned about the ECBs test allocation sytem is beyond me. I hate the ECB, and the people who run it. I think it is rotten, dupicitous and hypercritical to the core. The actual cricket team is the shop window of a horrible organisation, a phoney front for charlatens, liars and spivs, I don’t view it any more as being the national team. It is a private club of insiders run for profit. Huge salaries and jobs for the boys. It’s Test captain is a great example of what the organisation stands for. He is a beacon of ECB thinking and image.

      As a result I won’t be filling in the awards list because I don’t give a shit anymore. Sorry Dmitri! but the last little bit of enthusiasm for English cricket has been drained out of me. As for the media charlatans, I celebrate the fact so many of them have lost their cushy jobs at newspapers, and are now forced to write for publications that have one reader and a dog as their audience. Perhaps there is a god after all? Just need Newmams head on a plate for the full set of lickspittles to have bitten the dust

      Now many will say that all sports governing bodies are rotten. look at the FA for gawds sake. You can’t beat the FA for complete incompetence. And over so many decades. It must be a world record of stupidity and incompetence? And look at FIFA or Euafa or the Olympic movement? Look at world cycling and the Lance Armstrong affair? Look at India and they way they are running world cricket? Sport in general is now run by get rich quick merchants who are compromised by finacial gain and sponsors. look at the reaction to Sharapovia having her drug ban reduced? Her sponsor Head celebrated on Twitter and congratulated her. Pardon me if I throw up.

      What’s worse is that sport is only good when it really matters, and the money men have made sure that most of the time it doesn’t matter. Endless football matches with no purpose other than constant milking of the customers. (Fans) and lots of second chances so the big boys don’t get eliminated in a one off game. But that is what attracts people to sport in the first place. Or at least it did me. Very rarely does it mean much these days. When it means nothing but another sponsors pay out it is pointless. It might as well be Microsoft vs Apple or Google Vs Tesco or Boeing VS Facebook.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Oct 6, 2016 / 11:30 am

        This post at the G said it all for me, especially coming from a commenter who often follows the official line:


        if you haven’t seen it, you need to open the links to the photo and the article, and then note the reply below from zak01704.

        That’s cricket. That’s a sport being nurtured and future players being encouraged, right there.

        The problem is that the sport’s ‘administrative body’ isn’t one. It’s a badly run pseudo-business, insisting on counties being run as pseudo-businesses and putting them in a position where they feel obliged to take risks that sensible real businesses wouldn’t take. I believe Durham is the tip of the iceberg – I remember reading somewhere that a feature of Clarke’s chairmanship was that many counties had loans from the ECB on punitive terms and were therefore in no position to argue.


  4. SimonH Oct 6, 2016 / 1:06 pm

    Biggest day ever (since the last one) in the showdown between the BCCI and the SC.

    The BCCI’s Twitter feed is a hoot today.


    • SimonH Oct 6, 2016 / 1:14 pm

      Overtaken in comedy value by the BCCI lawyer’s defence of Anurag Thakur (“he was a cricketer…..”).


      • Mark Oct 6, 2016 / 2:04 pm

        I don’t know. Yesterday Australia’s bowling attack (coached by Selveys mate Saker) unable to defend 370 was pretty funny.


  5. thebogfather Oct 6, 2016 / 2:56 pm

    Radio commentary for ODI’s just confirmed on TalkSPORT2,,, your team will be Jonny Norman, Steve Harmison, someone else and….Mike Selvey!


      • thebogfather Oct 6, 2016 / 3:29 pm

        Oh Leggy! TS2 appeared on DAB earlier in the year, covered all the matches live at the cricket WC with either their own comms or feeds from others,(unlike TMS), did a lot of county T20 commentaries too – they also have Jarrod on their weekly cricket prog – yes there’s ads, (tho’ not too many during comms) and as the BBC have declined to provide full match commentary, then a bitter and twisted Selfry could be a damn sight more interesting than Lady Haw Hurgh or Swanny anyway


        • thelegglance Oct 6, 2016 / 3:53 pm

          The only time I tend to listen is when I’m in the car, and my modern classic doesn’t have DAB so I’m largely unaware of what’s on there!


    • Mark Oct 6, 2016 / 3:07 pm

      I knew some scumbag media company would hire him. They have no imagination. They just move one dead weight from studio to studio. Talk Bollocks is the appropriate place for Selvey. 24 hour bullshit with adverts.


      • thebogfather Oct 6, 2016 / 4:02 pm

        Mark, I understand your concerns, but at least TS is trying to fill in the gaps that BBC leave gaping for us radio only cricket idiots…and having listened to Jonny Norman and Danny Kelly rip apart the ECB about Durham the other evening, it will be interesting if they taunt Selfry into pontificating now that he’s an even more grumpy ex player, ex press, ex ECB hagiographer (they won’t want to know him so much now that his platform has collapsed…)


      • thebogfather Oct 6, 2016 / 4:23 pm

        True it is, and some of their best football and general jocks left the company as a result of the takeover, but, from a personal need, particularly as I’m now half blind, then any radio commentary is better than none, and, as an aside, the BBC coverage of CC is wonderful, no matter who is playing, and is still under threat. So when I post my ‘Awards’ this weekend, they will be recognised fully


        • thelegglance Oct 6, 2016 / 4:25 pm

          I should have expanded on what I meant there. It was referring to the likelihood of them criticising the ECB on a regular basis. I’d say that was about as likely as Sky doing so.


  6. "IronBalls" McGinty Oct 7, 2016 / 10:08 am

    There’s a link to a petition denouncing the ECB at the start of the Graun’s live feed. If you want to give the ECB your own kick in the nuts, then it’s there to be signed!


    • "IronBalls" McGinty Oct 7, 2016 / 10:15 am

      I’m one of the first five supporters to have signed it. I’ll get the live link in a day or two and post it here, then the more techno savvy amongst us could send it viral??


  7. pktroll (@pktroll) Oct 7, 2016 / 10:30 am

    Game quite well posed at the moment. After being 63-3, Duckett and Stokes have made a 100 partnership. However a couple of wickets and I reckon it could be tough going against the spinners for the new batsmen.


  8. SimonH Oct 7, 2016 / 2:07 pm

    Superb piece from Andrew Miller drawing together the three recent big ECB announcements:


    To be clear, I’m not inherently against D/N Tests. With a proper ball, and in certain parts of the world, they can be a brilliant addition to the game. However I’m not at all convinced that’s where we are. The f/c pilot match for pink ball cricket in England was called off – but they’re going to do it anyway? How does that make sense? Many of us have experienced hare-brained management schemes in our work that were bulldozed in without a proper pilot because management were so convinced of their own genius. I read somewhere (wish I could remember where) that many Aussie and SA players are unhappy about the pink ball but are under great pressure not to go public with their concerns (which hasn’t stopped one or two).

    Test matches against the West Indies are a hard sell. Why? The hours of play and the colour of the ball? We all know these are not the main reasons.


    • d'Arthez Oct 7, 2016 / 3:19 pm

      Day / Night Tests make little sense in England. Less than in say India, Sri Lanka, the West Indies, or even South Africa. Why? Distance from the equator – in summer if the weather is good, play can easily go on to 8 PM, even more so when the local councils grant permission to use the floodlights in case they’re needed. It will be pitch dark in most of the above mentioned countries by then. Of all the Test playing countries, D/N Tests are the least needed in England. Unlike say South Africa and West Indies, chances of Tests being staged in the middle of winter are quite slim in England.

      Then there is the issue of television rights’ value. Again, due to the position on the globe of England, there is not much point in having D/N Tests in England. Or do the administrators think that 3 AM is prime time in India? 5 AM prime time in Australia? The other way around might might (slightly) more sense.

      Test matches against the West Indies are a hard sell. That much we can all agree. But as SimonH rightly points out, that has nothing to do with the red / pink ball. Or playing hours.

      It has everything to do with the weakness of the West Indies (England’s inability to win either of the last 2 series in the Caribbean recently notwithstanding). The West Indies only occasionally draw on the road (yes, the vast majority of their away draws on the road in recent years where heavily influenced by rainfall) when 100+ overs are washed away. That is not exactly great cricketing skills on display. They have had 1 victory on the road against teams other than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe since 2001 (to go with 45 losses). And have not won a series on the road against the big teams since 1995 (!). Great to face if you’re in need of some runs / are a few shy of a landmark, but otherwise the only reason to attend is when you like foregone conclusions. Might sound harsh, but the standard of play from the West Indies on the road is really quite low.

      But no one in the ICC is actually interested in broadening the playing base, both in terms of countries participating, as well as coming up with programmes / methods to improve the quality of players playing (international) cricket. Like making Zimbabwe actually schedule a few fixtures, before paying them out millions for being a Full Member, and not bothering to pay their players, upkeep of cricketing infrastructure and not diverting money into the pockets of some dodgy administrators. But those are ideas that have a whiff of “good governance” about them – and we can’t have that with the ICC, can we?

      The D/N fracas is probably another step towards the WWE-ization of cricket.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Adam H Oct 7, 2016 / 3:31 pm

    “This tour will be low key on the field”

    On the contrary, this tour promises to be far more interesting on the field than anything we’ve seen this English summer, or we’ll see on Indian dust bowls.

    The ODIs especially will be very entertaining and closely fought, while the tests could be interesting in the sense that England will have to do very well to take 20 Bangladesh wickets.

    As I write this Bangladesh need 95 to win off 84 balls with 6 wickets in hand in the first ODI.


    • d'Arthez Oct 7, 2016 / 4:21 pm

      Looks like Bangladesh are choking massively. 271/4 has become 280/8 – still 30 runs to get from 36 balls, with two tailenders in.


      • Adam H Oct 7, 2016 / 4:43 pm

        Wow that was one of the most amazing chokes of all time! What a game all round. Can’t wait for the next game!


  10. quebecer Oct 8, 2016 / 2:39 am

    Phew! What a scortcha.

    Excellent game and some serious plusses for England. Stokes was fabulous, and clearly now maturing (well, not quite the right word, but still) in to a real leader for the team. It’s more that infectious Botham like influence of indefatigability, but kudos to the excellent Buttler for not being threatened by that.

    Rashid? So impressive the way he changed strategies from quicker and straighter to more flight and turn. And by the end, just really owning it. Great to see, and I watched replays, and I know I couldn’t pick him.

    I like Ball a lot, I must say. Kind of a mix of Trembles and Bres,

    But I thought Duckett was excellent. Obviously, this is a huge step up from those second division attacks like Durham, but it was the way he reacted to that which really got my attention. He said after the game how it was frustrating that he was hitting fielders, not quite getting things right. but did he panic? Oh no. An excellently crafted 60 on debut was the result of that frustration. I think that boy is the real thing.


  11. d'Arthez Oct 8, 2016 / 6:55 am

    Well tossed Kohli.


  12. SimonH Oct 8, 2016 / 9:52 am

    “”I applaud ECB’s radical, responsible and imaginative response to the crisis in the coverage of the domestic game. Other sports are already looking hard at the lead ECB has taken in [making the ECB Reporters Network possible], and I truly believe that by continuing to work together, the board and this club can do a hell of a lot more yet to make the network a leading promotional force for good in English cricket”.

    From the Cricket Writers’ Club key note speech, ladies and gentlemen.


    If you want to dislike Bransgrove even more or read a homily to Selvey that makes wctt sound like Brian Sewell, then click the link.

    The only ray of light is at the end when Atherton had noticed what he calls the “good egg” clause in the new England contracts and was railing against it. Yes, being the anti-KP is now an England contractral obligation….


    • Mark Oct 8, 2016 / 12:12 pm

      Wow! Just completely vindicates and validates everything we have said on here for the last 2 years. It was never just about KP. It was about taking the ENGLAND national team and turning them into a corporate entity. All players must be obedient to their ECB masters, and sponsors. If they are not they will be dumped. All hail Emperor Straus, and Vice Emperor Flower.

      Shorter Bransgrove…….grovel, grovel, grovel………please ECB give me an Ashes test match. I will be even more of a brown nose to the ECB.

      English cricket has been reduced to a version of ancient Rome. And we all now what happened to that. Who will get to play Nero?


    • LordCanisLupus Oct 8, 2016 / 3:38 pm

      What’s that Atherton thing about? The ECB have a behaviour clause in the central contracts?


      • SimonH Oct 8, 2016 / 5:37 pm

        “Under the new structure, players in both formats will receive a ‘ranking’ based on their performances on the pitch, as well as a number of other factors, including off-field contribution, fielding and fitness. Those rankings will then correlate with the level of remuneration”.



        • thelegglance Oct 8, 2016 / 6:18 pm

          I can imagine a few employment lawyers might take issue with a naughty boy clause.


      • d'Arthez Oct 10, 2016 / 4:31 pm

        I guess pissing on the pitch is not covered by that.


  13. Tom Oct 8, 2016 / 11:55 am

    I managed to watch a live feed of England’s first innings; first live cricket I’ve seen for ages.

    Stokes’ batting was very impressive. He seems to have really matured. What amazed me more was Buttler. You’ll have to forgive me, as I haven’t seen much of him, but I was transfixed. He got to fifty while I thought he was still in the twenties. I can’t remember watching anyone score so quickly without realising it.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to stay awake for the Bangladesh innings but was so pleased to wake up and find Rashid played a big role.

    I haven’t seen Ball bowl before so can’t gauge his performance, but good to see another quick bowler in the ranks.


    • Mark Oct 8, 2016 / 12:19 pm

      It seems nobody in world cricket has worked out a way to bowl to Butler yet. His runs come so quickly that he turns average scores into very good ones. England hardly ever score less than 300 these days. Makes the laptop 240 score even more ludicrous.


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