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Bangladesh need to play more Tests - Tamim

Siddhartha Talya

April 10, 2012

Comments: 66 | Text size: A | A


Tamim Iqbal reminds everyone he has scored four half-centuries in a row, Bangladesh v Pakistan, Asia Cup final, Mirpur, March 22, 2012
More Tests, not less, is the solution to improving Bangladesh's fortunes as a Test-playing nation, says Tamim Iqbal © Associated Press
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Tamim Iqbal has said Bangladesh's performance in the Asia Cup was a turning point in its cricket history but his team could only carry such form into the five-day format if it played Test matches on a more regular basis. According to the Future Tours Programme, Bangladesh only play 42 Test matches until the end of 2020, with no tours of India and England. Their next Test assignment is against Zimbabwe in August.

"That's the main problem for Bangladesh," Tamim, 23, told ESPNcricinfo. "The moment we start to do well in Test match cricket, we get a year's break or a 14-month break. If we want to really improve in Test match cricket, we need to play the format a lot more. You see us playing ODI cricket for quite some time and quite regularly, and the performance is changing. The world is seeing that Bangladesh is coming up. It's the same with Test cricket.

"We need to play a lot of Test matches to improve, to gain confidence, to learn how to deal with situations and play session by session."

Bangladesh have lost 63 of their 73 Tests, winning only three since their debut in 2000-01. They've had more success in ODIs and, most recently, almost won the Asia Cup, falling short by two runs in the final against Pakistan. They beat India and Sri Lanka en route to that final, and ran Pakistan close both times they played.

"We have been playing international cricket for quite some time now and we needed something like this," Tamim said. "Scoring hundreds is a habit. Winning matches is a habit. Against India, we chased down 290. Sometimes when the opposition teams batted first and got to around 300, if you are not habituated to chasing down those kind of runs you get confused. So, when you start doing it, you know what to do, how to go about it, make plans and how to bat.

"The more matches we'll start to win, the better we'll get. So, this was a great tournament for us because we chased in every single game and did very well. The boys will remember how we did it and take it forward."

The Asia Cup was preceded by the inaugural edition of the Bangladesh Premier League. Tamim missed much of that tournament due to injury, but said it had an impact on the national team's Asia Cup showing as the experience of playing with other international stars made its players more self-confident. "In Bangladesh domestic cricket, you're facing bowlers bowling at 125-130kmph, so sometimes it's hard to adjust when playing international cricket.

"But here you've seen Shakib [Al Hasan] playing some unbelievable shots, which was rare for him. Mushfiqur [Rahim] played an unbelievable innings against India, hitting sixes. So they're getting this kind of confidence from BPL."

The build-up to the Asia Cup was mired in controversy surrounding Tamim's exclusion from the squad, but he was eventually drafted in and went on to get four half-centuries in a row in the competition. Tamim admitted he'd been in poor form in the home series against Pakistan but said he'd been able to recover through practice and showing more determination at the crease.

"These things happened to me in the last series against Pakistan, and to be very honest I panicked," he said, about a series in which he had scores of 0,4 and 0 in the ODIs and averaged just 15 in the Tests. "I wasn't sure what to do, whether I should relax etc. I practiced really hard, did everything possible to score runs and I went there, took my time and eventually it happened."

Tamim, who is the third-highest run-getter for Bangladesh in Tests and ODIs currently, was grateful for the support of his team-mates during his exclusion and after his return to the Asia Cup squad. "Sometimes, when these kinds of things happen in different teams, they talk about it. They ask you, 'Why did this happen and why were you dropped?'. The best part of my team was they never talked about this, they always trusted my ability and knew what I'm capable of.

"If someone else goes through the same period, the boys should react the same way. It's not the first time a cricketer is facing this kind of thing. It'll happen again, it's a part of life you know."

Tamim had an excellent run in the Asia Cup but was disappointed not to have converted those fifties into bigger scores. "When you're going through a good patch, you should make it count as much as possible. Someone like Virat Kohli, he's doing tremendously well, scoring hundreds every second game. The way I got out in the final wasn't good, that is something to work on."

Tamim was signed up by Pune Warriors before the ongoing IPL season. "I'm lucky to be part of Pune Warriors because you've got Indian legends like Sourav Ganguly, someone like Michael Clarke is also a great player. I'm young and I have a lot to learn."

Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Harry_Kool on (April 11, 2012, 22:11 GMT)

Seems like most agree that BD needs to get their first class structure in order before seeking more test matches. 10 years after gaining test status, their ability to play first class or test structure is still very poor. They need to play a lot of matches aginst "A" teams. To be blunt, BD would struggle in most of the fc competitions around the globe. I am not questioning their ability as cricketers, just their experience in playing the extended version. Even David Warner had to play a number of games for NSW AFTER making his T20 debut and score runs in different circumstances to be able to achive test success. Sorry Tamim, if you think you are going to be competitive in tests, you're dreaming pal.

Posted by Quddus-Mamu on (April 11, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

I'm not a big fan of Test cricket. It is the 19th century's format of the game. In T20's time who cares about Test cricket? I think, it's time to get rid of Test cricket, it's nothing but waste of time. Better to play more ODI and T20.

Posted by fr600 on (April 11, 2012, 14:16 GMT)

No need to tour India, tour other countries that are still strong for you guys. You have to stop playing weak teams and go for the bigger ones.

Posted by Praxis on (April 11, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

1. BD won't get more matches without improving their statistics, 2. BD won't improve without more matches. 3. Winning couple of one-day games is never an indicator of improvement in test cricket. 4. BCB wil never give first class cricket the most importance. 5. Doesn't matter how much Bangla fans keep denying & give excuses, the fact is we still don't deserve to be a test playing nation.

Posted by S.Jagernath on (April 11, 2012, 8:46 GMT)

This will just boost cricketer statistics.Sri Lanka must be thrilled though!

Posted by   on (April 11, 2012, 6:45 GMT)

IDK what some people have against Bangladesh. You don't provide us adequate opportunities to improve by playing more Tests and then you indulge in questioning our Test status. Double standards much? I'd love to see what happens of other Test nations if they're compelled to play ludicrous number of Tests like Bangladesh.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (April 11, 2012, 5:13 GMT)

No disrespect to Bangladesh but can they tell us how many test they have drawn in last 12 years. May be none. BD defeated the exhausted teams of India and Srilanka who were back from grueling tour of australia. BD when played against Pakistan last time lost every match. Then they played against Australia lost all matches and count goes on. Every body knows that because of Sachin very slow 100th 100 BD won the match and were in the final. We are not fool, yes BD has improve but they got to win a series or even draw a series for once. What happens to Asia cup, BD lost it. Though they won millions of fans but in the end they lost the final. Win which matters. BD got to win to play test cricket against best nations. Got to improve more and more. Also BD was playing Asia cup at home, i can win asia cup at home too, it's away tours which you need to win and win real status.

Posted by dariuscorny on (April 11, 2012, 4:09 GMT)

@RandyOZ yes we will witness Auss level when they travel India.did u draw some level on basis of current Aus form,struggling to beat a struggling outfit WI.so going by ur analysis AUS,WI,BD are of same level as BD defeated WI comprehensively.

Posted by derpherp on (April 11, 2012, 0:51 GMT)

@Ashik Imran yeah, i don't think so, it is very rare that top test playing nations would lose to lower test teams even away from home, and Australia did defeat Bangladesh at Mirpur (in fact it was a 3-0 whitewash early last year in a one day international series). Bangladesh simply need to just play more cricket, win, lose or draw it doesn't matter, they will improve as long as they're out on the field.

Posted by Meety on (April 11, 2012, 0:29 GMT)

@yoogi - I don't mind that idea, although I think it should be a 3-tiered test structure. The top 4 or 5 in tier A (atm Eng, Saffas, India & Oz), the next 3 or 4 teams (SL, Pak, NZ & WI), then Tier C (Banga, Zim, Afghan & Ire). Tier A play 4 or 5 test series home & away against each other, then play 3 test series v Tier B. Tier B play 4 or 5 test series amongst each other & play 3 test series against Tier A, AND play 2-test series away v Tier C & one off test at home. In Tier C Zim & Bang play 3 test series against each other & play against the Tier B sides, they play one off tests at home v Ire & Afghan & 2 tests away. Rankings would play the major part in this structure, however, financial & marketability has to be included. Also there would be scope for say one off tests for Ireland v Oz & Eng (heritage ties), the same for Afghan v Pak. Progression between the tiers would take place over a 4yr period.

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