Limit exposure to speed progress November 10, 2004

Crowe: Bangladesh 'have to learn the slow way'

Cricinfo staff

Martin Crowe, the former New Zealand captain, believes Bangladesh's Test matches should be confined to playing only the side ranked immediately ahead of them on the ICC Test Championship, while also playing much more cricket against international A teams.

Rather than having to see the Bangladeshis struggle against other countries as they try to meet their commitments to the five-year playing programme, Crowe believes there would be greater long-term benefit to Bangladesh with such a scheme. The same would also apply to one-day internationals, although exceptions could be made for the World Cup and Champions Trophy.

Crowe, who now works as executive producer of cricket for Sky Television in New Zealand, the host broadcaster of cricket, said he heard the comments made by television commentators and officials during the New Zealand series with Bangladesh that New Zealand was in no position to talk about Bangladesh's record, given how long it had taken to win its first Test match - 26 years and 44 Tests.

But he said he didn't agree with that sentiment. The New Zealand teams of the 1930s and 1940s had no money, no video analysis, no coaches and no academies, he explained. Yet the New Zealand side of 1949 to England was still probably a better team than the current one.

"I have no problem with giving Bangladesh a chance, but they are not going to improve in their next 30 or 40 matches," he argued. "They have to learn the slow way. Their official Test matches should only be against the side ranked above them, and Zimbabwe should do the same."

It would then be up to the Test-playing nations to provide A-team contests with Bangladesh to allow them to build up their experience and exposure in first-class matches.

Crowe said that New Zealand hosted several Australian B teams during the 1940s, '50s and '60s as part of their learning process, and they had been a significant step up for the side that blossomed in the 1970s.

But, he continued, Bangladesh keep introducing new, young players in their quest to try to win while experience was not being retained. A constant level of A-team cricket for the side would be a much more suitable way for lifting their basic standards to make them more competitive in the international fray.