Was the Tiger in the Tank?
Yours truly is now in a state of monumental depression. Back to back debacles have induced a fear pychosis in oneself. Is the immediate future as dark and foreboding as I am making it out to be? Or is it just a passing cloud likely to drift away and normal business resume to the relief of a tortured mind straining to come to grips with existing reality? A total of 58 has sprouted a host of unsavoury possibilities, all of which are pregnant with morbid implications. England winning by 6 runs have further complicated an existing scenario already rife with the tensions so typical of the fear of the unknown. Add the fact that the Barclays Premier League is now thrown open to the vultures waiting for the kill. Man United forgot to turn up at Anfield the other night and gifted another three points. To LIVERPOOL! Has this crazy world gone crazier all of a sudden?
But let's get back to England. A performance quite out of the ordinary. Only 170 odd to the good, yet packing enough firepower, grit and resolve to make a statement. A loud message sent out to all and sundry that there is still a long long way to Tipperay, before this group of teams can call it a day. For Bangladesh, this result must be a shock rude to the extreme. The Tigers are presently in Chittagong, seeking some respite and finding much needed time to lick their wounds inflicted by the Windies to both body and ego. The wary and tactical retreat from Dhaka, the scene of the most horrendous crime committed on a cricket field this side of the Suez in recent times could not have served the purpose of the team, as news of the English victory filtered in slowly but surely.
Choking is an ability rare to many, yet perfected to a fine art by the South Africans. Against England SA proved to the world they are past masters of this craft. There is little to deny them the tag of having the most potent bowling attack in this group; a battery of quick men complemented by a duo of spinners, one of whom has brought the dying art of leg-spin back in fashion. A robust batting order capable of scoring runs at will somehow managed to crumble at the most inappropriate stage of the match, thus nullifying all that the bowlers had achieved earlier in the day. All of which enabled England to rise from the ashes of what has been a dismal competition for them so far. Food for scary thoughts for the Tigers?
From a purely cricketing point of view, there is reason for concern in the Tigers' camp. Suddenly the English quickies are found to be running in with purpose and the rhythm seems to be back. The batsmen are no strangers to the subcontinent and least of all the Tigers' bowling attack. Chittagong too has been a happy hunting ground for them not too long ago. Although the Tigers' batting boasts of a tail supposedly marginally longer than that of a dachshound's, the team has a proliferation of left handed batsmen. And England have Graeme Swann arguably the best off-spinner against these kind of batsmen. Life unfortunately is not showing much signs of getting any easier.
The onus however lies elsewhere, after the events of a certain Friday not too long ago. Priorities are piling up for the Tigers, not just to perform in the manner they are capable of; but also to prove that there is enough still left in them to keep the dream alive. A modest dream perhaps, but shared by millions. Therein lies the pressure. Can it be handled? Only if we can answer the metaphysical question, do we have the tiger in the tank?