The Asia Cup is on in full swing with the four Test playing countries in the sub-continent participating in it. Earlier some of the associate countries in the region also got a chance to qualify for the main tournament, but with schedules being tight and not much time to spare, this edition had to be short one and so is only between the four Test playing countries in the region.
It is a bit unfortunate for the associate members for it is only by rubbing shoulders with Test players, that their cricket can improve. It would be wonderful if Test teams tried to help associate members from their region by stopping over on their way to another Test country and playing a couple of games.
While the associates may not be testing enough, the very fact that Test players are playing will bring about a goodly crowd and also help the players of the associate teams to assess their talent and what they need to do to get better.
Sri Lanka is a fine example of how a team progressed from being one-day specialists to a Test winning country, and even Bangladesh has progressed after doing well in one-day cricket. They may not have made significant progress in Test cricket, but in one-day cricket they are a team that cannot be taken lightly. They have got over their earlier unease in international cricket, and can lock eyes with any opposition today.
Even as one-day cricket is on in Bangladesh and now in the Caribbean Islands between West Indies and Australia, the Test series between hosts, New Zealand and South Africa is on. The South Africans dominated the first Test, and but for rains washing out the last day's play, would have gone one up in the series.
That wash out meant that South Africa can at best win the series 2-0 while they needed a 3-0 win to become number one ranked Test team. England will now keep the ranking that they snatched from India in August last year. South Africa were dismissed for not too many in the first innings, but in the second innings they batted well with the experienced duo of Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis getting centuries.
Kallis has now got an incredible 42 hundreds in Test cricket and is second only to Sachin Tendulkar, who at the time of writing has just completed the feat of hundred tons in international cricket. More about that next week. There were centuries also for Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli in their first game against Sri Lanka and the Indians won the game quite easily.
However, it is the brilliant hundred by the South African captain, Graeme Smith which makes him the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week.
Professional Management Group