The past couple of days of the Bangladesh – West Indies series is further proof that international cricket needs Pakistan to survive. Firstly Bangladesh could only make 238 against a West Indies B team, and secondly West Indies is playing a flippin B team again!@£! I thought the world had seen the last of Tino Best as a test cricketer, but alas that goofy, crazy, parody of a fast bowler, who is essentially Andre Nel without the talent is back.

So, we have India, Australia, England and South Africa which are run professionally and consistently produce international callibre players (England don’t really produce great ones, but they have enough good ones to stay competitive),  and have economies capable of supporting top class sports.

Sri Lanka and New Zealand are smaller countries with slightly different profiles. Sri Lanka produces top class cricketers consistently but are reliant on the IPL to ensure their players get paid enough and New Zealand produces a whole bunch of mediocre players, with the occasional Shane Bond, Daniel Vettori or Jesse Ryder.

Bangladesh aren’t going anywhere, while the West Indies are going somewhere, but its not somewhere good. That leaves Pakistan is the only other country with the size to regularly produce world-class international cricketers. I think people should seriously think about dividing test cricket into 2 divisions of 5 or 6, with one getting promoted and relegated every year.

Onto the Ashes. Australia again showed the required temperament to get to where they wanted in the match, while England didn’t have the patience or control to put the Aussies under any sustained pressure. Michael Clarke is a really interesting player. I was really excited by him when he came into the Australian team. In a way he was Phillip Hughes before Phillip Hughes. His flourishing style and in particular his exaggerated footwork against spinners was incredibly exciting – as shown by his debut century in India. He still has some of those characteristics and is by no means bad to watch, but while he’s a much better batsman now, I preferred his style in his early days.

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