Mike Holmans October 13, 2008

ICC hurting Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s cricket is being stunted because it would mean a loss of face at the ICC’s top table
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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.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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) ?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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) ?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Anonymous on October 15, 2008, 8:34 GMT

    I think Gorden Greenidge was coach of Bangladesh when they qualify for 1999 world cup. He knew Bangladesh cricket more than anybody else in India, Pakistan or ICC. Even though he was the coach he said Bangladesh aren't ready for test cricket. But poor Greenidge was lambasted by everybody for his remark.

  • Rohan Khanna on October 15, 2008, 2:45 GMT

    @Adhil - I can see a Bangladeshi under the guise of a NZander is talking about how good a side Bangladesh is. Well, i think they are as bad as it can get. 3-4 victories against international sides in 10 years is no accomplishment. I think Bangladesh first needs to get over the obsession of Ashraful, who by international standards is a below average player. Average of 23 inspite of playing most of the matches against UAEs & Canadas of the world vindicates my stand. ICC must bar bangladesh from playing international cricket. What surprizes me is people often taking away Test status from Bangladesh. My question is why only Test Status & why not ODI status. They are equally bad in both the categories. Any sports organization, which has even a scant respect for cricketing standards would not allow Bangladesh to compete against international sides. As someone rightly pointed out Aus under 16 team can blast Bangaldesh. They are so bad.

  • waterbuffalo on October 14, 2008, 17:38 GMT

    I think Bangladesh should be given Tests against the Indian Sub-Continent, I mean Pakistan has played 6 Tests in two years, we should play a 4 Test series every year! Home and away! But my point is when it comes to touring England and Oz and SA, they should only play against state and county teams, and not play any Tests at all, because they are clearly out of their depth outside South Asia. Say 6 matches against counties, and 3 one dayers, in OZ they could play 3 state sides, etc. If there is any progress, then they should be given 3 Test tours in due course. It will give them something to aim for, and they will still be able to play ODI's.

  • Aaron on October 14, 2008, 10:02 GMT

    I think the article is a little bit harsh. I think bangaladesh are slowly improving, and they need to play the best teams to get better. The fact that the U-19 team competes suggests the talent for the future is there. I think bangaladesh need to tour countries like australia and india consistently, perhaps play 5 or so first class matches each time against state sides, to gain experience and to expose their players to good teams before throwing them to strong test nations.

  • Antony on October 14, 2008, 10:00 GMT

    Western Australia providing opposition for Bangladesh!!! Your taking the mick, right? Any Sheffield shield side, even without their internationals, would murder Bangladesh nine times out of ten. Bangladesh would struggle to be competitive with a Perth under 16 team

  • Adhil on October 14, 2008, 9:49 GMT

    i think bangladesh has improved alot as a team but has a long way to go aswell.last week when they beat us,it wasnt breaking news as bangladesh has done it before to South Africa,Australia and india including sri lanka so they can do it but they need consistency! consistency! consistency! i might add the they still unable to beat the oppersition when they are on song and to be honest the kiwis were poor last week.They do have potential match winners Tamim Iqbal,Ashraful,Mortaza and they are much better than Kenya so all they need is consistency but it wont come in South Africa their next victory,if their sorry performances come again, they will be mauled by the proteas as not many teams go and win there

  • Mo on October 14, 2008, 9:28 GMT

    The solution to the hazare / ranji trophy conundrum would be to do what has been done in the past, and play a Bangladesh A team consistenly each year. This team could be in all but name, a Bangladesh national team (stick in two youth stars so it is seen as an A side). This would also be in the interests of the BCCI, as Bangladesh membership of the ICC aids their power/influence.

    Even better but I do not envisage how this could occur, would be for Bangladeshi players to play alongside other international stars (even former stars), so they can learn. The ICL Dhaka Warriors exercise is futile for this reason.

    Bangladesh took a few steps forward in the past 5 yrs but have now taken a few steps back. Something needs to be done, and unless the BCCI steps up (akin to helping the Sri Lankans), the Asian bloc will be weaker for it

  • Rohan on October 14, 2008, 9:01 GMT

    I can see a couple of bdeshi fans talking abt that Bangladesh can whitewash teams like Kenya, Ireland & Zimbabwe. Well i can bet my money on this that Bangladesh will emerge 3rd or 4th in any such quadrangular competition. Ireland & Zimbabwe are far better than Bangladesh. Bangladesh needs to be shown the door. The writer was rite in predicting that Bangladesh victory against NZ in the 1st match was a fluke & normalcy will be restored by the end of the series. Thats exactly whats happening right now.

  • Rich on October 14, 2008, 8:50 GMT

    I have not taken much notice in Bangladesh's progress in test cricket, I had just assumed they were getting steadily better. But those stats of 1 win (against Zimbabwe) and 5 draws (3 against Zimbabwe) out of nearly 60 tests are shocking. I would also add that if Zimbabwe had not lost 99% of their top players since 2003 then they probably wouldn't have got those results either. I think that Cricket is the top sport in Bangladesh may actually be hurting them, i'm guessing it probably creates pressure to perform and entertain. It is noticeable that when Zimbabwe fist started playing test cricket in the early 90's there scoring rates were very slow, with strike rates for their batsmen generally around 30 or 40. They were capable of reasonable scores though and took a lot of games to a respectable distance. I reckon this is because with such a small cricketing community there and with small crowds they didn't have any presuure to perform and just thought "lets go out there and try not to get embarrassed and cut out risk". A bit of this sort of attitude would probably do Bangladesh some good, rather than trying to play like India or Pakistan. I also think having such a small 1st class scene in Bangladesh is no help. The BCCI with its healthy wads of cash should allow Bangladesh to merge with it. If the Bangladesh domestic teams were allowed to play in the Ranji Trophy, even in the lower tier, standards would improve quickly.

  • Ifty on October 14, 2008, 7:43 GMT

    Bangladesh has improved as a side since 2000. Before Kenya used to thrash us and Ireland used to be quite competitive and Now we can whitewash Kenya, Ireland, Zimbabwe with ease. The thing is that the other sides that are currently playing are also improving...the indian side is a lot better than before and so is the Srilankan side so we are facing challenges in only improving our own game but to keep pace with the improvement of other sides....

  • Kamlesh on October 14, 2008, 6:06 GMT

    From past 8 year since Bangladesh are awarded Test status, there performance is below par. Their one-day matches performance though have improved but still it's very inconsistent. But their test matches record is awful. They just managed to win 1 test out of 53 matches and that match was also against Zimbabwe. But worrying factor is that they lost 47 matches, they are not good enough to even draw a match against oppsition. Out of 5 drawn matches 3 were against Zimbabwe. I am not against Bangladesh playing test cricket but their progress at Test cricket level is snail-paced, its not exciting. It just degrading the quality of Test cricket. Bangladesh Cricket Board should formulate a plan for improving quality of domestic first class and providing enough 4-day matches for players. They did came close to win against Australia and Pakistan but didn't manage. It would rather want them to draw an hard-fought match then just coming close to victory and not manage to seal it.

  • Julio de Cruz- Buenos Aires on October 14, 2008, 3:52 GMT

    AM, I think you will find cricket overtook football in Bangladesh in the late 90s, after Bangladesh victory over Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup, or thereabouts. I think Alex and sujan are totally right. Bangladesh are a cricketing nation, with full passion and love of the game. What point is there in giving Ireland or Canada test status and demoting Bangladesh, when cricket remains a fringe sport in countries like Ireland and Canada? Even in England, South Africa, and New Zealand, cricket isn't as played or as well supported as it is Bangladesh... yet no one talks about stripping the Test status of such countries?

  • Davesh on October 14, 2008, 3:41 GMT

    @Googly - Well that Bangladesh can stretch a test matches to 3 days is no accomplishment. Rather its a shame for test cricket. Bangladesh has plummeted the cricketing standards to a great degree. I have no doubts that Kenya & Zimbabwe are far better sides. A close look at the records of Bangladesh players reveal the true picture. They have played half their ODI matches against non-test playing nations & still most of them average pathetic 20s. I think its high time that ICC take test cricket status back from Bangladesh. They simply don't deserve it. As writer aptly put it - taken around the world like pets to be hammered by the nations. I wonder what kind of effect these defeats would have on the psyche of their players. I thought the sheer ignominy of defeats was one reason why few players decided to join ICL. ICL by and large is a tournament of second string players & Bangladesh fits pretty well there.

  • Rohan Khanna on October 14, 2008, 3:31 GMT

    I think Mike is spot on in assessment of Bangladesh Team. They are no way better than Kenya or Zimbabwe although they would like to believe so. I think bigger problem is that most of Bdeshi players inspite of being very ordinary players are getting carried away by largesse thrown by BCCI. Recently, Ashraful said that he was offered the highest amount in ICL and he will earn his place in IPL & Champions League. For a person like Ashraful who averages poorer than most of the tailenders of other international teams, this certainly is a case of big mouth & small deeds. If at all he plays IPL it will be a form of charity & nothing else and why should Bdesh play Champions League ? Another form of charity. I completely agree when writers says that Bdesh are carried around the world like pathetic pets to be thrashed. They should be allowed to play Ranji trophy although i feel even there they would be relegated to plate status pretty soon but atleast they would get the exposure.

  • sujan on October 14, 2008, 2:44 GMT

    @ AM >> i dont know when had u been there in bangladesh, but the fact is cricket is the most popular game in Bangladesh. in Bangladesh, you will find almost no Bangladeshi who is under 30 and didnt play cricket. Again, the ability of a cricketing nation must not be judged with the popularity of that game in the country. Except the Asian countries, Cricket is not the most popular game in other icc full-member countries.

    what bangladesh needs to improve is a competitive domestic league. the infrastructure is there. bangladeshi youth team, U19 team is good enough to compet any other team at that level. but after that i think there is a lack of proper nourishment when they come to international level. may be players are being recruited too early for the national team. Selector must think not only about the ability of the players but also the maturity of playing at international level.

  • AM on October 13, 2008, 22:28 GMT

    I always felt that Bangladesh were granted test-status with undue haste. I lived in that country for 10 long years. In my experience in that country I found people more interested in playing football than playing cricket. Football seemed to be their number one passion. If they could not excel internationally in a sport which most of the people followed so passionately, what chance was there for the Bangladeshis to do so in cricket? I feel that before granting Bangladesh full-member status at the ICC, a number of teams from Bangladesh should have been asked to play in the cricket leagues of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (at least two BD teams playing in each country) for a period of 5 years. This would have enabled Bangladesh to have a solid base of players groomed at the first-class level. Their transition to international cricket would have been considerably less painful. As things stand now, and with so many defections, there is not much to hope for.

  • D.V.C. on October 13, 2008, 22:11 GMT

    Perhaps the solution is longer tours. Instead of just playing the internationals, 3 (proper) four-day games against first class opposition on each tour before a 2 test series is about right I think.

    That way they still get the International matches that their administrators demand but they get more even competition prior to the tests. With the bonus that they are well acclimatised to the conditions before the test matches.

    All the other international teams play test series with more than 2 matches so there must be room on Bangladesh's calendar to squeeze in 3 first class games on each tour.

    It should be written into the future tours programme that 3 first class games need to be played prior to each Bangladesh test series.

    Combine this with more ODIs against the associates and Bangladesh will have the matches they need to improve.

  • Alex on October 13, 2008, 17:16 GMT

    Maybe the author is judging Bangladesh by the wrong criteria. They may not be competitive, but Bangladesh is a cricket nation, with stadiums, infrastructure, and resources. Yes, they get savaged on the pitch more often than not. So what? Bangladesh clearly belong in the ICC.

  • Anjo on October 13, 2008, 16:55 GMT

    An accurate summary and thought provoking article. An idea thats been floating around for a while now is splitting test playing nations into two tiers; the top four sides in one and the remaining six in the other, for a test championship. I think the gulf in the standard of play would still be too high and this wouldn't help Bangladesh's cause. What I would propose is relegating Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to a "development" tier which would include Kenya, Canada, The Netherlands and Ireland. To solve the vote bank issue, maybe all six get half a vote or even a full vote at the ICC? A bit idealistic, since the hope is it will promote cricket as a professional sport in these countries as well. And of course the top two get spots in the World Test Championship. The only thing is Bangladesh and Zimbabwe won't be playing official tests unless they make the championship which is probably fair given their recent records in Test cricket. But you're right, its hard to see a practical solution.

  • Googly (Banglacricket) on October 13, 2008, 15:31 GMT

    If the intention of this write-up is to try find out a way to improve the cricket standard of Bangladesh, a few things need to be pointed out. Let me inform the writer that before gaining test status, Bangladesh used to struggle against sides like the MCC, which consisted of players who retired long before. They can now thrash them. The writer should not ignore that Bangladesh almost defeated Pakistan and Australia in tests. Previously they got thrashed by non-test playing Sri Lanka in three-day unofficial tests. They can now last more than three days against any test side on most occasions. They have definitely improved because of playing at the highest level. Just compare Kenya and Bangladesh. These sides had similar standards before 2000. Now Bangladesh can whitewash them in a 5 match series. Please do not be biased and give Bangladesh some breathing space. Don't you have anything else to write on?

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  • Googly (Banglacricket) on October 13, 2008, 15:31 GMT

    If the intention of this write-up is to try find out a way to improve the cricket standard of Bangladesh, a few things need to be pointed out. Let me inform the writer that before gaining test status, Bangladesh used to struggle against sides like the MCC, which consisted of players who retired long before. They can now thrash them. The writer should not ignore that Bangladesh almost defeated Pakistan and Australia in tests. Previously they got thrashed by non-test playing Sri Lanka in three-day unofficial tests. They can now last more than three days against any test side on most occasions. They have definitely improved because of playing at the highest level. Just compare Kenya and Bangladesh. These sides had similar standards before 2000. Now Bangladesh can whitewash them in a 5 match series. Please do not be biased and give Bangladesh some breathing space. Don't you have anything else to write on?

  • Anjo on October 13, 2008, 16:55 GMT

    An accurate summary and thought provoking article. An idea thats been floating around for a while now is splitting test playing nations into two tiers; the top four sides in one and the remaining six in the other, for a test championship. I think the gulf in the standard of play would still be too high and this wouldn't help Bangladesh's cause. What I would propose is relegating Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to a "development" tier which would include Kenya, Canada, The Netherlands and Ireland. To solve the vote bank issue, maybe all six get half a vote or even a full vote at the ICC? A bit idealistic, since the hope is it will promote cricket as a professional sport in these countries as well. And of course the top two get spots in the World Test Championship. The only thing is Bangladesh and Zimbabwe won't be playing official tests unless they make the championship which is probably fair given their recent records in Test cricket. But you're right, its hard to see a practical solution.

  • Alex on October 13, 2008, 17:16 GMT

    Maybe the author is judging Bangladesh by the wrong criteria. They may not be competitive, but Bangladesh is a cricket nation, with stadiums, infrastructure, and resources. Yes, they get savaged on the pitch more often than not. So what? Bangladesh clearly belong in the ICC.

  • D.V.C. on October 13, 2008, 22:11 GMT

    Perhaps the solution is longer tours. Instead of just playing the internationals, 3 (proper) four-day games against first class opposition on each tour before a 2 test series is about right I think.

    That way they still get the International matches that their administrators demand but they get more even competition prior to the tests. With the bonus that they are well acclimatised to the conditions before the test matches.

    All the other international teams play test series with more than 2 matches so there must be room on Bangladesh's calendar to squeeze in 3 first class games on each tour.

    It should be written into the future tours programme that 3 first class games need to be played prior to each Bangladesh test series.

    Combine this with more ODIs against the associates and Bangladesh will have the matches they need to improve.

  • AM on October 13, 2008, 22:28 GMT

    I always felt that Bangladesh were granted test-status with undue haste. I lived in that country for 10 long years. In my experience in that country I found people more interested in playing football than playing cricket. Football seemed to be their number one passion. If they could not excel internationally in a sport which most of the people followed so passionately, what chance was there for the Bangladeshis to do so in cricket? I feel that before granting Bangladesh full-member status at the ICC, a number of teams from Bangladesh should have been asked to play in the cricket leagues of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (at least two BD teams playing in each country) for a period of 5 years. This would have enabled Bangladesh to have a solid base of players groomed at the first-class level. Their transition to international cricket would have been considerably less painful. As things stand now, and with so many defections, there is not much to hope for.

  • sujan on October 14, 2008, 2:44 GMT

    @ AM >> i dont know when had u been there in bangladesh, but the fact is cricket is the most popular game in Bangladesh. in Bangladesh, you will find almost no Bangladeshi who is under 30 and didnt play cricket. Again, the ability of a cricketing nation must not be judged with the popularity of that game in the country. Except the Asian countries, Cricket is not the most popular game in other icc full-member countries.

    what bangladesh needs to improve is a competitive domestic league. the infrastructure is there. bangladeshi youth team, U19 team is good enough to compet any other team at that level. but after that i think there is a lack of proper nourishment when they come to international level. may be players are being recruited too early for the national team. Selector must think not only about the ability of the players but also the maturity of playing at international level.

  • Rohan Khanna on October 14, 2008, 3:31 GMT

    I think Mike is spot on in assessment of Bangladesh Team. They are no way better than Kenya or Zimbabwe although they would like to believe so. I think bigger problem is that most of Bdeshi players inspite of being very ordinary players are getting carried away by largesse thrown by BCCI. Recently, Ashraful said that he was offered the highest amount in ICL and he will earn his place in IPL & Champions League. For a person like Ashraful who averages poorer than most of the tailenders of other international teams, this certainly is a case of big mouth & small deeds. If at all he plays IPL it will be a form of charity & nothing else and why should Bdesh play Champions League ? Another form of charity. I completely agree when writers says that Bdesh are carried around the world like pathetic pets to be thrashed. They should be allowed to play Ranji trophy although i feel even there they would be relegated to plate status pretty soon but atleast they would get the exposure.

  • Davesh on October 14, 2008, 3:41 GMT

    @Googly - Well that Bangladesh can stretch a test matches to 3 days is no accomplishment. Rather its a shame for test cricket. Bangladesh has plummeted the cricketing standards to a great degree. I have no doubts that Kenya & Zimbabwe are far better sides. A close look at the records of Bangladesh players reveal the true picture. They have played half their ODI matches against non-test playing nations & still most of them average pathetic 20s. I think its high time that ICC take test cricket status back from Bangladesh. They simply don't deserve it. As writer aptly put it - taken around the world like pets to be hammered by the nations. I wonder what kind of effect these defeats would have on the psyche of their players. I thought the sheer ignominy of defeats was one reason why few players decided to join ICL. ICL by and large is a tournament of second string players & Bangladesh fits pretty well there.

  • Julio de Cruz- Buenos Aires on October 14, 2008, 3:52 GMT

    AM, I think you will find cricket overtook football in Bangladesh in the late 90s, after Bangladesh victory over Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup, or thereabouts. I think Alex and sujan are totally right. Bangladesh are a cricketing nation, with full passion and love of the game. What point is there in giving Ireland or Canada test status and demoting Bangladesh, when cricket remains a fringe sport in countries like Ireland and Canada? Even in England, South Africa, and New Zealand, cricket isn't as played or as well supported as it is Bangladesh... yet no one talks about stripping the Test status of such countries?

  • Kamlesh on October 14, 2008, 6:06 GMT

    From past 8 year since Bangladesh are awarded Test status, there performance is below par. Their one-day matches performance though have improved but still it's very inconsistent. But their test matches record is awful. They just managed to win 1 test out of 53 matches and that match was also against Zimbabwe. But worrying factor is that they lost 47 matches, they are not good enough to even draw a match against oppsition. Out of 5 drawn matches 3 were against Zimbabwe. I am not against Bangladesh playing test cricket but their progress at Test cricket level is snail-paced, its not exciting. It just degrading the quality of Test cricket. Bangladesh Cricket Board should formulate a plan for improving quality of domestic first class and providing enough 4-day matches for players. They did came close to win against Australia and Pakistan but didn't manage. It would rather want them to draw an hard-fought match then just coming close to victory and not manage to seal it.