Ratings - May 2007
Hurrah! Test cricket returns. No more one-dayers for another four years.
England (1174.65) v West Indies (832.90) - 4 Tests.
The last six months have been torrid for England. If articles posted on the Guardian blog are anything to go by, the absolute mauling they received in Australia has put question marks over the capabilities of half the (still young) side. Ian Bell can't pen an article about the West Indies without mentioning Australia three times. By contrast, their abject performance in the World Cup was only mentioned once. It shouldn't matter. They still have some batting talent, even if the tail remains too long with Flintoff and a newly blooded Prior at 6 and 7. Test cricket at home against the West Indies is neither an Ashes tour, nor one-day cricket.
The reason: the West Indies are rubbish. Not by individual talent, in which they are still the brilliant calypso showmen of yore, but mentally and collectively. The past decade has seen a procession of disinterested show-ponies crumble at the first sign of any pressure, simultaneously failing to apply any pressure of their own. Lara-less, not just as a player, but as a presence, this series begins an new era, of either patient rebuilding, or ...? Only new teams plunge the depths the West Indies are in. An intriguing series then, but one England should romp home.
Bangladesh (599.27) v India (1105.52)- 2 Tests
Somehow, by dint of others' failings, India have found themselves as the third best team going around. Albeit by the barest of margins. They will drop to seventh though, without two wins against a Bangaldeshi side still reveling in knocking them out of the World Cup. They are two teams heading in different directions. The Indians, towards retirement, their great middle order, and key bowlers moving on. The Bangladeshis towards their early twenties, thrust into international cricket too soon, but adapting and talented. They are due a win, if not in these two games then soon. Like the other series, a mismatch, but an interesting one.
Australia (1st) 1441.45
Pakistan (4th) 1102.43
South Africa (5th) 1101.32
Sri Lanka (6th) 1095.42
New Zealand (7th) 1065.59
Zimbabwe (9th) 671.01
16th May, 2007 18:57:21
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