October 13, 2008

Mike Holmans

ICC hurting Bangladesh

Mike Holmans
Mohammad Ashraful scored an unbeaten 60 to steer Bangladesh home, Bangladesh v New Zealand, 1st ODI, Mirpur, October 9, 2008
 © AFP
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Last week I predicted that Bangladesh would be massacred by New Zealand, so they promptly went ahead and recorded one of their rare wins against a major country.

Unfortunately, though, I cannot regard it as any great evidence that they have improved. As when India and Australia were beaten, it was the senior country’s first competitive outing in the tournament or series and they were caught on the hop. Normal service was rapidly resumed.

Bangladesh's performances recall those of the minor counties in the English Gillette/NatWest knockout cup, the first one-day competition in county cricket which has since been displaced by Twenty20. The first round of that pitted fifteen of the first-class counties against minor counties, the combined universities, Ireland or Scotland. Every couple of years one of the minor sides would win because they played very well and the first-class side played very badly, usually with the help of a difficult pitch, and everyone would have a good laugh at the first-class side’s expense.

Durham won two or three times in the Eighties, which bolstered their application to graduate to first-class level no end, but when they were promoted in 1992 they had to import a swathe of experienced old hands from Boon to Botham to be even semi-competitive on a regular basis rather than riding their one-off luck.

But Bangladesh do not have that option. They can’t go into the market to recruit Stuart Law, Graeme Hick, Shaun Pollock and the about-to-be-ex-international Sourav Ganguly to flesh their team out and coach the younger guys while they find their feet in international cricket.

And that consigns them to limbo for a generation if their schedule remains as at present. Playing only against national sides is futile since the gulf in ability is too great. There are plenty of teams who would provide very reasonable opposition, but they are called Warwickshire, Warriors or Western Australia rather than West Indies. But how to do it?

An obvious answer is to have them play in the Ranji Trophy and the Hazare one-day competition, but this could easily turn out to be rather embarrassing. Bangladesh would probably not win and questions would then be asked about why a team which ranks below an Indian state side is playing international cricket. So it will not be done, more’s the pity, and neither will anything similar in some other country, because it would not look good.

Bangladesh’s cricket is thus being stunted because it would mean a loss of face at the ICC’s top table. By insisting that Bangladesh are a fully-fledged international team they delay almost indefinitely the day when it will actually be true. Instead of helping Bangladesh develop, political horse-trading dictates that they shall be kept as pathetic pets to be taken round the world for ritual thrashings with the occasional reward of patronising comments about how well they did when a proper team falls over its bootlaces.

It’s hardly surprising that getting the chance to be taken seriously in the ICL proved an attractive prospect, and unless something constructive is done, more will be enticed there. Putting a few more Bangladesh players in the next IPL auction is mere tokenism: there is no guarantee that franchises will bid at all for players whose records are as unexciting as most of the Bangladesh team are, and those who are picked up will be support actors when they need to learn how to be the leading men.

Bangladesh’s cricketers deserve more respect than this. What is so sad is that I see no prospect of them getting anything else.

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Posted by Ashraf on (October 30, 2008, 3:48 GMT)

Bangladesh can really whitewash teams like Ireland or Zimbabwe. And for your kind information Sri Lanka took 4 years to win their first test and new zealand took 26 years to win their first test, while bangladesh took 5 years. And Crewie is right its a disgrace for Bangladesh. And let them have little bit more time they will be good. And you Indians stop talking Bangladesh can beat Ireland, kenya, Zimbabwe and these teams in any kind of cricket. And talking about Ranji Trophy?Your clubs can't even come close to the whole Bangladesh team. And why are people talking so much about Ireland and Kenya? Didn't Bangladesh just Whitewash Kenya And Ireland just a few days ago? And Rishi to tell the truth if Bangladesh plays against Jharkhand and HP the results are going to be the other way :). And You Indian morons don't think you are the king of cricket just because you have crapy leagues like icl or ipl. And please Update you brains before posting comments. We don't need your help to grow.

Posted by Crewie on (October 23, 2008, 14:51 GMT)

To be honest I think the vitriol being directed towards Bangladesh here is disgraceful. Clearly many of these people forget how long it took other countries to become competitive in Tests.

They are a solidly better team than Ireland or Kenya, as their results prove. Suggesting that an Aussie State U16 team would thrash them is just idiotic.

They have just been shorn of 13 players and most of the current side are in their early twenties - give them some more time. The young players in the side will improve and this together with the comparative health of Bangladeshi youth cricket will see the Test side improve over the next 2-3 years.

Posted by Andrew on (October 23, 2008, 7:16 GMT)

As a New Zealander, I believe Bangladesh will improve considerably over the next three to five year period. There is no simple solution that would accelerate their progress at Test level, only time. Sri Lanka and New Zealand are examples of this. Very much like test cricket's nature, this is not a race to the finish line. More importantly it is a chance to get there on a session by session basis. It's human evolution, the Bangladeshi players that become defetead and weary will have their places filled by aggressive, confident young players. The difference being the younger generation are more skilfull and have better technique. Administrations just need to be reminded at times of their true purpose to develop the sport

Posted by Zalil Khan on (October 21, 2008, 9:53 GMT)

Imagine this so called test-worth Bangladesh team can't defend 300 plus score on a fifth day minefield pitch against a team that has 6 players with a combined test experience of 20 matches. What more will it take for ICC to ban this disgusting team from playing test cricket & wasting time of international teams ? Bangladesh should be disallowed to play test cricket from immediate moment. They are literally the real minnows or have a test tournament among Zimbabwe, Ireland, Bangladesh & Kenya & let the winner of the tournament play test cricket. I am sure it would be either of Kenya, Ireland or Zimbabwe who would win the tournament.

Posted by Rishi on (October 21, 2008, 4:14 GMT)

Few of the Bdeshis misled fans are talking about the performances of U-19 Team. Well then why don't you allow them to play instead of your senior team. And i m sure most of the U-19 teams that they compete with would be U-12 or U-14 teams of those nations. Bangladesh is not a responsibility of world cricket to help them to improve & become better side. The onus was on them and now the time is running out. If Kenya or Ireland are provided oppurtunities to play test cricket then they would become competitive sides in no time since these teams have the right talent. On the other hand for Bdesh slogging is same as talent. They are the nothing but the pets of BCCI. If BCCI is so convinced that Bdesh should play test cricket then why don't they invite Bdesh to tour India ? It would be an embarassment to BCCI when even tour matches will be over in 2-3 days with some HP or Jharkand team thrashing Bdesh. Bdesh is just not good enough to play test cricket as rightly predicted by Gordon Greenidg

Posted by rohan khann on (October 21, 2008, 4:00 GMT)

Well on what basis should the world give Bangladesh further time to improve ? Do they have any divine right to play international cricket ? Why not give the same chance to say Kenya or Ireland who are far better teams than Bangladesh. Bdeshi fans keep talking about that they have defeated Australia, India or SA. All these victories were nothing more than few strokes of luck where the oppostion were at fault more than anything. I think Bangladesh should be & must be relegated to play only ODI cricket & should be banned from playing Test matches. Who wants to play Bangladesh & more importantly who wants to watch Bangladesh play (except for Bdeshis) ?

Posted by THS on (October 20, 2008, 18:33 GMT)

Perhaps ,talking against Bangladesh's cricket seems to be very fashionable way to prove every bodys cricket gyan.Well I know you people will start talking about Aloks maiden century or Nazims blast in the ICL.Remember they are the product of the current infrastructure of Bangladesh cricket.Vis a Vis see the recent performance of the test against NZ. Can't you find any potentials in Bangladesh Cricket??Give them some time.

Posted by nothin to do on (October 19, 2008, 13:39 GMT)

what are you trying to say?? if Bangladesh did'nt improve they wouldn't have been able to keep Australia within 198, beat New zealand, India and South Africa. bangladeshi people have the skills but they need a good coach and more practice. the u-19 teams are winning series all over the world. they have a good future. the government needs to put more money in getting better coaches. they also need better approaches for developing the skill of young cricketers. Bangldesh are putting up good challenges now. even though their winning percentage is low. the just need to start winning matches to shut the mouth of people like you around the world. and if you are to write anything please write atleast something good about it. please.

Posted by THS on (October 19, 2008, 11:28 GMT)

I think Mike Holmans is too harsh in his comments.Wait for a couple of days and all of you will get the answer.

Posted by Shafin on (October 18, 2008, 11:30 GMT)

Well, those who are blasting Bangladesh with their tails blazing, you have a point. The senior team performance is way below par. But before making imaginary comments like the Bangladesh side being thrashed by U-16 Aussies, take a look at the recent record of Bangladesh U-19 team, you'll be astounded. It's certainly one of the top 3-4 teams of the world. Dont just look at the U-19 WC, look at the tours too, you'll see that BD U-19 has Actually beaten Aussie U-19 in a series. BD Academy recently beat Sri Lanka U-19 in a series in Sri Lanka, which is a hard achievement. And apart from being beaten by Ireland in the last WC, there are no data to support your bullshit that BD is worse than Ireland or Zim. Yes, BD is not still there with the big 8, but if academy and U-19 performance is any indication, it'll be there sooner than you might think.

And how long did it take NZ to win a test?

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