Bangladesh Series. Test Series or Stat Padding?

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South Africa are hosting the Bangladesh cricket team this spring with a 2 match test series, 3 match ODI series and 2 T20 fixtures at the tail of the tour before the visitors depart again. Perhaps CSA knew this was going to be a one-sided affair when they allocated the matches to Potch, Bloemfontein, Paarl, PE and East London. No offense to our smaller city neighbours, but perhaps CSA thought they could take the game to the other regions, and by that I means smaller stadiums for a tour which would be poorly attended because of the opposition?

The Test Series

Looking back at the Test series there seems little point in the two matches with the South Africans achieving a comfortable 333 run victory in the first one and an innings and plenty win in the second one. Both results are better described as stat padding than test matches for the South Africans.

The top three scored 433 runs between them (Elgar 199, Markam 97 Amla’s 137) in Potch. And despite the second innings being a flop  with only Bavuma and Du Plessis getting 50’s the 176 run lead at the end of the Sri Lankan first innings meant SA could literally throw their wickets away and still bowl the visitors out for a comfortable win. Did I say comfortable? I meant laughable. The visitors managed ninety (90).

Maharaj took 7 wickets for SA in the match, 4 in 10 overs in the 2nd innnings. I thought teams from the sub-continent could play spin?

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image: cricket.co.za

Captain Faf said this: “First of all confidence,” he said of the positives from the series in Bloemfontein on Sunday. “ We had good targets leading into this series of what we wanted to achieve as a team; not just as a batting unit, and we achieved those goals hands down. The confidence from this series ahead of two big series at the end of the year, we appreciate that.

“ From this series there is nothing that we could have done better,” he said. “ Everyone scored runs, there were big hundreds and many hundreds, there were also some important partnerships. We are not the finished article, we understand that we are a team that needs to get better. If we get better, we will challenge for the No.1 position again.”

Du Plessis says he ‘expected a bigger fight’ from the No.9 ranked Bangladesh team, who came into the series following a drawn (1-1) series against Australia at home. While the victory will be celebrated, the captain will look ahead to having a full-strength team to pick from for the battles that lie ahead later this season.

Confidence from smashing a sub-par team in the most one-sided test series I can remember? In my book that’s like Bafana dismissing Robindale Girls side 3 – 0 and then thinking they ready to win the World Cup. What I have always liked about Faf is the honesty, he’s under no illusion about Bangladesh. He is aware that they are the equivalent of the Robindale Girls and they knew before the game they just needed to pitch up and the series would be won. So if the players knew this and the administrators knew this, why are they playing these games of no interest? Simple, stat padding.

Ok, so Bangladesh beat Australia a few months ago in a drawn series. Perhaps they should have put up a better fight but should such a one-sided series be accredited Test status? I think the SA team would have been better prepared for the summer tours against India and Australia with a sequence of matches against SA A.

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image: indianexpress.com

The One Day International Series

Another humiliating series for the visitors with 2 out of the 3 matches played. It would appear only a natural disaster can rescue their tour with another whitewash looming. When last did a team win a high scoring (250+) ODI game by 10 wickets? The answer is October 15th, 2017. De Kok and Amla chased down 278 in 44 overs. De Kok scored a mighty 168* (10 short of his best) and Amla knocked off 110* (26th century). Stat padding.

In the Boland, SA set a target of 353 with AB de Villiers the star of the show. Another monster ODI score of 176 enough to see a win by more than 100 runs as the visitors were skittled inside 48 overs.

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image: cricket.co.za

The T20 Series

Cricket’s big money spinner, if you ignore the collapse of the Global T20 before it even started, should offer more of the same right? I won’t be watching unless the selectors actually pick the equivalent of the Robindale Girl’s team so that we have a contest to watch.

 

stat padding is an action that improves a player’s statistics despite being of little benefit to his or her team or its chance of winning

 

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