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Bangladesh's disappointing dozen

It is 12 years since they made their Test debut, and if they have little to show for it, the organisation of domestic cricket in the country must bear much of the blame

Mohammad Isam

November 10, 2012

Comments: 41 | Text size: A | A

Naeem Islam plays one through the on side, Rajshahi v Dhaka, NCL final, 2nd day, Mirpur
The NCL may be Bangladesh's first-class competition, but it plays second fiddle to the Dhaka leagues © BCB

On a winter morning 12 years ago, Bangladesh realised a dream: their inaugural Test had finally come to pass, after four turbulent decades. The first ball was bowled by Javagal Srinath and left alone by Shahriar Hossain.

Within four days, though, reality bit: Bangladesh lost to India by nine wickets. It pointed at the steep, but not impossible, path ahead. Twelve years on, however, there is no mild way to describe what has become of Bangladesh's treasured Test status. The country has failed to produce a team capable of lasting five days for more than 15 occasions without the assistance of nature. In the last five years, 14 out of 24 Tests featuring Bangladesh haven't gone to a fifth day. These numbers, apart from their record of winning just three Tests out of 73, are not the reward a cricket-mad public deserves for their loyalty through thin and threadbare.

When they take on West Indies next week, it will be Bangladesh's first Test match this year; they played their last one before it in December 2011. The 11-month break is not their longest: they went 14 months without a Test between June 2010 and August 2011. Several other such interruptions have dogged the team's progress, but these need to be partly attributed to the team's performance, due to which Bangladesh's administrators have lost confidence in arranging Tests with other cricket boards and in devising a balanced calendar, or asking for more Tests in the ICC's Future Tours Programme. Though they haven't been as explicit as Sri Lanka Cricket in postponing Tests, their focus seems to have shifted subtly to one-day cricket.

Jalal Yunus, a former cricketer and now a director of the BCB, believes that results matter at the end of the day and the team has miles to go. "[Confidence] entirely depends on on-field results," Yunus told ESPNcricinfo. "Whatever we do as board directors count for nothing when the team doesn't do well. The team hasn't reached the level of battling out the final day and drawing a Test match, for instance. So there has been very little progress in that sense. If we can draw a Test series, it will be a major achievement at this stage."

In their first 12 years in the game, Sri Lanka won just one Test more than Bangladesh have, four in 58, while Zimbabwe won seven out of 71. These two countries are frequently used in comparison to Bangladesh since they were the last two before Bangladesh to gain Test status. Those sides came through fighting; Bangladesh have fought too, but not hard enough.

On the outside, many have encouraged Bangladesh at every opportunity but there are plenty who criticise the ICC for granting them Test status. There is also always the mention of the lack of a first-class structure, and of how unprepared Bangladesh were when they began to play Test cricket. The fact is, they are still ill-equipped, but the level of interest in cricket in the country was always going to produce potential players, and it has. However, the BCB has left it at that, having failed to develop the first-class structure into a solid foundation.

If one looks at the BCB's power base, it would be easy to understand why the first-class competition, the regional National Cricket League (NCL), locally referred to as "picnic cricket" sometimes, has never enjoyed the influence that the Dhaka-based clubs that participate in the five-tiered one-day leagues do. The clubs in Dhaka have made a significant contribution to the development of players in post-liberation Bangladesh, chiefly for the financial security they have guaranteed over the years, and also the cricketing culture they have upheld, but the first-class cricket that is played has been along state or divisional lines. Decentralisation was paramount, but the process of making sure cricket grew roots in places outside of the capital has remained only in theory.

The NCL is played among the seven divisions of the country - Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Khulna, Sylhet, Barisal - and Dhaka Metropolis, in a league format across Bangladesh, wherever cricket grounds have been properly developed. It began in the 1999-2000 season, when the ICC seriously took up Bangladesh's appeal for Test status, which was ultimately bestowed in June 2000. The NCL is often played early in the domestic season, after which the players move over to the Dhaka Premier League. Till the 2010-11 season there was also a List-A competition alongside the four-day NCL tournament.

Of all the divisions, only Rajshahi has made itself self-sufficient enough to produce players for not just the Dhaka leagues but also set up a strong first-class team that has now won five NCL titles, including the last four in a row. For the most part, though, the onus of producing cricketers is on the Dhaka leagues, mainly because that is where the money is.

The board's constitution is tilted in favour of the clubs too: 12 directors are voted to power by 128 councillors among the Dhaka clubs, while there can be ten directors from the 68 district sports associations (DSAs) across the country. (Divisional sports authorities are also included in this category.)

If the BCB spent half of what it pays the already wealthy Dhaka clubs, in the form of grants, on divisional-level infrastructural development and basic facilities in the districts, Bangladesh's player development would have been truly countrywide

Yunus however believes that the numbers do not reflect the influence of the district directors. "In terms of representation, there isn't a big difference between club- and district-level directors. They now get equal say in important matters. We have never discriminated because they're not from clubs. Whenever they come up with suggestions, they are listened to." Yunus was voted to power as a director from the Dhaka clubs category in the 2008 BCB elections.

Be that as it may, the regional directors ought to have been groomed and educated for the responsibilities of running a first-class system, but they never have been. It has always been the way of the Dhaka clubs to look out for themselves, exemplified by how they stopped first-class cricket in the 2011-12 season and then dragged the Dhaka Premier League out till June after a quarrel over a player's registration.

The average Dhaka club is funded by donations from members, who are normally from the locality or are generally cricket lovers, but of late the Dhaka Premier League clubs (the top-tier of the city's league system) have attracted enthusiastic businessmen who are ready to pump in big money. The process of acquisition of players is rudimentary, with only the registration of the player changing when he changes clubs, during a short transfer window.

Till 1999, the Dhaka leagues were the highest level of cricket in the country. "It is true that the clubs are a dominant factor and one can't deny their contributions since 1977, when cricket really started in Bangladesh," Yunus said. "Clubs receive a large amount as grants these days, but they also spend a lot. A top Dhaka Premier League club now has to spend Tk 2 to 3 crore (approximately US$300,000) per season; a First Division club spends Tk 25-30 lakh ($33,000) in the same period. Where does this money come from? These clubs have made major contributions to players' development and livelihood." At present a top cricketer can earn up to Tk 25-30 lakh ($33,000) per season playing for a Dhaka club, while in the NCL, payments are equal to all playing members, and match fees and other allowances add up to about Tk 3-4 lakh ($4300) per season. Among centrally contracted cricketers, the highest payment amounts to Tk 12 lakh ($14,700) per year, while the rookies get half that.

It can't be ignored, though, that the clubs are only in it for a season at a time, building a team with money, competing, and then being dormant for the next nine months. Based as they are in the country's most affluent city, at least some of these wealthy clubs could have built themselves into top cricketing venues. Quite the opposite. More than 80% of these clubs do not have their own cricket grounds. Many of them are not even based in a playground, and hold their pre-season campaigns on rented cement pitches in any of the larger grounds in the city. When Jamie Siddons, the former national coach, visited a practice session at one of these clubs, he was appalled to see, among other things, an international cricketer drinking water from a bucket. In his time, Dav Whatmore would be seen at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium, trying to find a dust-free spot to watch from, finally settling for the match referee's tent, which at least had a roof against the sun.

The clubs end up taking money from the cricket board that could well be used on development, simply because the limited-overs-based Dhaka league system is the lifeblood of Bangladesh cricket. If the BCB spent half of what it pays the already wealthy Dhaka clubs, in the form of grants, on divisional-level infrastructural development and basic facilities in the districts, Bangladesh's player development would have been truly countrywide.

Yunus agreed that the payments made to the clubs are much greater than what the BCB pays the districts for cricket development. "It is nominal, really, but again, the clubs are recognised for their contribution. But I'm sure once regional cricket comes up, it will better decentralise the game in Bangladesh," he said.

An ample player base exists across Bangladesh - Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mushfiqur Rahim and Rubel Hossain, to name just a few, were produced by the districts. But they developed their game elsewhere, either at the Bangladesh Krira Shiksha Protisthan, in age-group tournaments, or through talent-hunt programmes.

Once these players were identified as ones for the future, they were yanked out of first-class cricket and placed in representative squads, with only fleeting returns. One of the reasons for failure in sport is lack of practice. When these players stopped playing first-class cricket against each other even occasionally, their ability to withstand five days of Test cricket was affected.

When Tamim made two hundreds against Dhaka Metropolis in the opening game of this season's NCL, he was playing only his fourth game in five years. He missed every first-class match for Chittagong Division since he made his Test debut in 2007-08. Shakib has played a game this season, which is only his eighth in the last five years (during which he took a three-year break from Khulna Division). Mushfiqur has played just the one game for Rajshahi in the last five seasons. Left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak has played nine of Khulna's last 47 games. All these players were regulars before they made their international debuts.

The shortage of appearances by the country's top players hampers the image of first-class cricket in Bangladesh. The scheduling, too, has been shambolic. The NCL has begun in October in four seasons (2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2012-13), in November on three (2000-01, 2005-06, 2006-07), three times in December (2003-04, 2002-03, 2001-02), once in January (2009-10), and in 2004-05 it started as late as February. On average, the league has taken up three months, with large breaks in the middle to fit in the Dhaka Premier League or the now-defunct NCL one-day competition.

Abahani, champions of the Dhaka Premier Division Twenty20 Cricket League 2007-2008
The Dhaka limited-overs competitions are where the money is at in Bangladesh cricket © TigerCricket.com

The lack of consistency in scheduling has been blamed on how short the Bangladesh domestic season is, but it has been seen that if the tournament starts in October, it leaves enough time for the rest to be held. The other major problem the BCB often talks about is the number of grounds used for first-class cricket. There are enough venues to hold four matches simultaneously without using the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, as will need to be done now, since West Indies are touring Bangladesh. In any case, if the BCB feels there is a lack of cricket grounds in the country, solving this problem would solve many of the country's cricket infrastructural issues, and speed up decentralisation as well.

One of AHM Mustafa Kamal's agendas as BCB president was to get this process going in some way. Towards the end of his term, he reportedly convinced the board's directors to bring first-class cricketers under the board's pay, thus ensuring player bases in all seven divisions, which is a step towards spreading the game. The BCB decided in August this year that 105 cricketers from the eight divisional sides would be paid a monthly salary, which would vary based on their first-class experience, and offered one-year contracts.

"We should all make a contribution, I feel," Yunus said, about raising the standard of the game. "I am of the opinion that even our 50-over Premier League should be converted to an 100-overs-an innings competition. If the cricketers are struggling to come to grips with a format, we should all help them. I think we could try it for a few seasons and when we get better at Test cricket, we can turn it back into one-day cricket."

A change in mentality of this manner is essential, as are more cricket-minded administrators in the BCB. The board unfortunately seems to attract mainly businessmen and politicians.

The oft-quoted line is that the country's passion for the game will pull it through. And it probably has, for 12 years. But while Bangladesh got lucky with the swift rise of the likes of Shakib and Mortaza, is there any guarantee they will keep finding players like them in the years ahead?

The questions remain: Does the BCB have a long-term plan? Do any of the board's directors look a decade down the line when they put together a schedule or hire a coach, for instance? There are more questions, but answers are hard to gather in the corridors of the BCB headquarters in Mirpur.

Cricket, so dear to the Bangladeshi people, and the heartbeat of the nation since 1997, should not have to be captive to the short-term personal needs of a few. While some might call Bangladesh playing Test cricket a travesty, it will equally be a tragedy if they were to stop.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Bangladesh

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by ExtremeSpeed on (November 13, 2012, 0:16 GMT)

Though long its worth it fantastic article highlighting on the development and state of Bangladesh's Cricket. Just shows that Bangladesh has a lot of work to do to catch up with the rest. I really hope they produce more good players especially bowling wise.

Posted by The_Ashes on (November 12, 2012, 16:15 GMT)

Yes but what about i.e. New Zealand disappointing "2 Dozen" before their first test win?

Posted by   on (November 12, 2012, 15:39 GMT)

10th November 2000.....The day Bangladeshis across the globe would always envisage and would never forget. The day when our tigers(Bangladesh) played their first Test match and was against India! Twelve years have passed Eversince and Test was monochromatic as it could get for our tigers unlike One Dayers, which is paradoxical! Which was a roller-coaster ride where they climbed the cliff to supremacy,got closer and closer to the summit and once again toppled by an Avalanche! The Test for our Tigers was like a lagoon full of piranhas where they sailed vessels on that rolled over and they drowned. It is a versimilitude that 160 million Bangladeshi's aspirations ,comprising mine are incessant. Aspirations that were requited by debacles and Nightmares. Still the aspirations didn't cease and never will! There are teams and players deemed as gems that suffused colors to the colorless canvas proclaimed as Tests. Our Tigers started doing it and I hope they'll splatter more colors than before.

Posted by AzAb12754 on (November 12, 2012, 14:34 GMT)

@Adnan_Mamoon:"shakib is perhaps great for bangladesh cricket standards. but in world cricket there are plenty of shakibs right now"??? - If that's true then why aren't they playing International Cricket and not succeeding like Shakib? If there are plenty of Shakibs then why apart from Kallis and Watson, the rest are not even close to Shakib with bat and ball in all forms? neither other all-rounders like Matthews, Hafeez, Afridi, Malik, Yuvraj, Pollock, Collingwood, Flintoff, Bravo, Gayle, Jadeja, Cairns, Oram etc even Watson has ever achieved a 5 wicket haul and test match 100 in the same innings of a test match like Shakib. Criticise Bangladesh all you want but Shakib its hard to criticise when his stats back him up as an all-rounder :P

Posted by AzAb12754 on (November 12, 2012, 14:25 GMT)

@Adnan_Mamoon: India first test win was against a 3rd string England side and wasn't really till the 70s and 80s where India first started to produce World Class players. Also India though a poor country still has has a very strong economy and a growing superpower whereas Bangladesh isn't. Plus India is a large country with more than 10 times the amount of population that Bangladesh has with all that resources and still history tells us that India have struggled in Cricket since they got full status. Even till today India are not dee best Cricket team in the World today. Cricket is new in Bangladesh and from the moment the nation was formed in 1971 after independence, Football was by far its most popular sport. It wasn't till 1997 when Bangladesh won the ICC Champions Trophy where Cricket started to dominate the country. It took only 6 years from the moment Bangladesh got full status to produce good young players the rest before were amateurs who also had other professions.

Posted by Tamimfan on (November 12, 2012, 10:39 GMT)

@Third_Gear.. reasons why india took so many years for their first win- 1: india were fighting for independence during the 30s and 40s, hence taking up sports is totally out of question.... 2: the world war took away several years of international cricket.... 3: sports facilities in india during that time was very poor due to economic recession and the aftermath of war... 4: india didn't have a minnow like bangladesh or zimbabwe to play against and win games, they only had the likes of aus eng wi nz.... 5: there was no cricket board, team selection was based on the decisions of maharaajas... 6: india played very few home tests.... 7: pitches were uncovered, day's play consisted of 120 overs, sometimes each over had 8 deliveries...... now pray tell me what is hindering bangladesh from their first REAL victory in test cricket? (cricinfo pls publish)

Posted by Advin on (November 12, 2012, 10:28 GMT)

It is a fact that the east and north eastern part of India has never produced great cricketers.Despite fanatical interest,in all of its history, that part of India has produced only one genuine cricket star and that is Saurav Ganguly.Bangladesh is probably suffering for that geographical and historical problem.

Posted by Tamimfan on (November 12, 2012, 10:27 GMT)

@Legend_of_All_Times.. why do you talk only about sachin all the time? india has produced some great batsmen before sachin also. eg- gavaskar, vishwanath, pataudi, vengsarkar, sardesai, srikkanth, azharuddin, amarnath etc.... "vijay hazare" who played between 1946-1953 was considered to be one of the best batsmen in the whole world during that period. "polly umrigar" and "vinoo mankad" who played during the same time were also called "great" by england, australia, west indies. is there any "great" in bangladesh current team? shakib is perhaps great for bangladesh cricket standards. but in world cricket there are plenty of shakibs right now. (cricinfo publish?)

Posted by Legend_of_All_Times on (November 11, 2012, 19:44 GMT)

(Continuing from the Precious Comment) Anyway, Bangladesh is a Promising Young Team who lacks some Essential Potentialities compared with other Old Teams. But, Bangladesh team is Promised with firm Determination to Improve its Deficiencies time to time and Become a Respectful Team quicker than most of the others. I think All will be Agreed in the point that this 12 Years old Bangladesh team is more and more Bright as well as Competitive than that while 6 years Old. And It wouldn't be wrong to Expect that in Next 6 years this Team will reach up to that Standard higher than twice time of present. :)

Posted by Legend_of_All_Times on (November 11, 2012, 19:30 GMT)

(Continuing from the Precious Comment) Where India's 3rd Generation Test Team Played their 25th Test in 1951 after 19 years of their Test Inauguration There Bangladesh's 2nd (Or, Slightly 2nd+) Generation are Playing their 74th Test Within only 12 YEARS since their Test Inauguration! This is really a Huge Gap and Difference while Comparing Both team's Initial Test Stages. And somebodies who argue that "Hi-Tech Facilities in 21st Century provides Bangladesh team more Advantages over mid 20th Century's Beginner Teams", they are completely Wrong. Because, Where Bangladesh's All Opponent Teams are using all those (Even More) Hi-Tech Facilities there what Advantage may Bangladesh team get Extra RELATIVELY over mid 20th Century's Beginner Teams? (Strong Facilities against Strong Opponent) - (Weak Facilities against Weak Opponent) = 0.

Posted by Warm_Coffee on (November 11, 2012, 19:21 GMT)

Its true even as a Bangladesh fan to ignore this but history tells us that teams like India and New Zealand struggled in Test Cricket but all of us weren't born to witness their struggle. We understand fans frustration of Bangladesh's progress and believe they could've done a lot more to become a competitive team but the important is that they are serious about Cricket, producing good young players and so on.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 19:14 GMT)

if bangladesh plays in year two to foru tests then how bangladesh will improve? can ICC tell to us (fan) we are blaming to ICC that they are not giving chance to grow up.

Posted by Legend_of_All_Times on (November 11, 2012, 19:04 GMT)

(Continuing from the Previous Comment) In the Present time this is the only 2nd (Or, 2nd+ but not 3rd) Generation of Bangladesh Test Team Linage Handling the Test Challenges. If it was 6th or 7th Generation instead of 2nd one then We all would surely notice a Stronger and Qualitative Bangladesh Test Team competing Hardly as well as bagging pretty more successes against the other Test Teams. Even If the next 74th Test (against West Indies) was Played by its 4th Generation instead of 2nd one then the Both team would have 50%-50% chance to bag the result. Here is an Simple Example: India got a Legendary Batsman Sachin Tendulkar after 57 years of their Test Inauguration, while reaching to almost 6th to 7th Cricketing Generation. That means there Evolution in Cricketing Linage took pretty much Advancements and Oncoming of World Class Players were Easier as well as Usual in that time of Indian Cricket. So, You must Consider the matter of "Time and Evolution" Factor While Evaluating a Team.

Posted by Legend_of_All_Times on (November 11, 2012, 18:29 GMT)

Somebodies here are Overreacting on the "Fade Records" by Bangladesh Team during their 1st 12 Years of Test History, they are again and again incriminating that "Even after Playing 75+ (within 10+ years) tests Bangladesh Team haven't learnt yet Properly How to Perform in a Test Match". Those Backbiters are "Cleverly" skipping the Effects and Role of "Time Factor" in the Process of "Becoming a Strong Team Gradually after starting as a Newbie". Simply, "You can't Expect to get many Better and World Class Players in Your Team immediately within 7-8 Years just after starting Your Journey in a Rough Track like Test Cricket", But Why? Because, "The World Class Players are Actually the Results of Proper EVOLUTION in Cricketing Linage, that means they are BETTER GENERATION Evolved from a Process of PLAY-and-DEVELOPMENT Yourselves". And You can't Expect this Evolution should get itself MUCH STRONGER to generate World Class Stars or 100% Fortified Dependable Players within only 10-12 Years.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (November 11, 2012, 18:27 GMT)

The problem with BD is they think their current players r great and all these is BecoZ of only lack of test cricket. Teams like AUs talk abt bradman India abt Sachin but BD fans talk abt players like shakib who r not even proper test crcketers and moreover they compare him with greats like Kallis which is totally waste of time

Posted by The_Ashes on (November 11, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

Bangladesh complain of lack of Test Cricket and yes that's true but when they play teams like New Zealand and especially Zimbabwe, instead of playing 2 test matches series, raise the bar to 3 because honestly, all 3 of those teams are struggling in the prestigious form of the game.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2012, 16:12 GMT)

One of the problems with Bangladesh supporters is not wanting to take a critical look at their team. eg, A gentleman here commenting that India took 33 years to win their first test whereas Bangladesh did not take so many..while its factually incorrect (India won their first test match in 1951-52 I think ie after ~18 years of playing its first test of which nearly 5 were lost to World war..but that's not the point here), the point is that instead of admitting that their team is found wanting and is regressing, they tend to find other examples to prove that they have been better than somebody!! Nobody is saying India'a performance in initial years was good so why compare and feel happy with it??

Posted by Baber_Baloch on (November 11, 2012, 12:18 GMT)

Bangladesi team have some talent like tamim,shakib, razaq,rehim just they need to play more test matches.

Posted by Third_Gear on (November 11, 2012, 6:42 GMT)

One team can not learn without playing enough matches. If you see the total number of matches in last 12 years bangladesh its very unadequate to be proved and for improvement. Bangladesh has done far better than India and NZ in compare to their performance in the priliminary stage of getting theirt test status. India has own their first test after 33 years but bangladesh did not take that time. SO ICC responsibility to allow them to play test matches round the and let them grow. ICC should make window for test playing and emerging countries not for IPL.

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (November 11, 2012, 2:04 GMT)

I fully agree with my friend GetSetGoPak- B'desh have missed a trick of not focusing on one form of the game. In all fairness, B'desh are not blessed with big fast bowlers with express pace like Pakistan has. B'desh are more like India and they need to work hard on developing quality spinners and quality batsmen. I must also mention that B'desh missed a huge oppertunity not to visit Pakistan for whatever reason as Pakistan did not lose as much as B'desh did. I also feel that B;desh were thrown too quickly into test cricket as PCB in those days was a very strong board and pushed B'desh for promotion. Lastly, it is a shame that BCCI has never allowed B;desh to play against India in India!

Posted by Shortcuts on (November 11, 2012, 0:46 GMT)

You need fast bowlers to at least be competitive in Test Cricket and Bangladesh sorry to say does not have that. In shorter formats ODIs and T20s its fine but in Test Cricket no. But what I'm really unhappy about is that there's no plan from Bangladesh management to overcome this. Don't think we can even beat Zimbabwe with our attack if this is not solved.

Posted by the_way_you_play_it on (November 10, 2012, 21:59 GMT)

Bangladesh have produced some world class players who have showed glimpses of being a world class player starting from Mohammed ashraful, Mashrafe mortaza, Shakib al hassan, Tamim (on very few occassions though) and certainly the very young enamul haque, if they really want to improve the trade, they need to tour or arrange tour for first class teams on their soil, for a first class test match and have their top players play on them, if they are not able to arrnge tour to the first string teams, in this way they can stop sit idle and atleast develop their skills and develop individual player skills......

Posted by maheemanga on (November 10, 2012, 21:43 GMT)

when NCL performers like Anamul, Enamul could not get chance in the Test squad and some ABUL gets the test cap taking just 8 wickets in 6 match its very demoralizing.

And I dont understand why Tamim, Mushfiq could not play NCL in the last 4-5 years. are the busy with IPL!!!...Tamim says they could not play test match for 11 months and before that 14 months (2010-2011). So why dont you play domestic matches on that time. Oh i forgot that, when its time to play NCL, you guys gets injured!!!

@Meety, I was also just thinking same BPL - club combination..That wud have been rely gr8

Posted by getsetgopk on (November 10, 2012, 20:27 GMT)

That is a pretty grim picture of the state of BD cricket. If you cant do well in the longer form of the game then im afraid you wont do well in any other forms of the game. First class cricket is the foundation, its the kindergarten for every cricketer regardless of the format. The board im afraid is a fairly incompetent one but the players too dont seem to have it in them. 12 years is a long time but could be short, depends on how you look at it, personally, I believe the BD board missed a trick, Pak, Ind and SL were a bit lucky as when they started playing cricket, the only dominant form of the game was Test cricket and that helped these countries get on their feet pretty quickly, in BD's case though in came the IPL and T20 and BCB jumped in with every thing they got, they should have focused more on the longer game, BPL was way too early, BD was never ready for BPL. T20 takes from the game and puts nothing back in. Now, I dont think BD will ever become a top shelf cricket force.

Posted by Ashique129 on (November 10, 2012, 18:36 GMT)

Thanks Mr. Isam for this astute analysis. It is so easy to blame, but so hard to perform an honest soul-searching to identify the cause (and not the result) of the problem. What I like about your article is it's holistic view of looking at the last 12 years, as well as the current state. I sincerely hope that all who are responsible for Bangladesh cricket take a similar approach, and then act. Let us come up with a plan that includes sub-plans of 1-year and a 5-year activities about all levels of cricket in Bangladesh. This plan should involve school and college-level, as well as district, division and club-level decision-makers. I firmly believe, we do have 11 players in the current 1st-class league capable of lasting 5-days of test. they simply need the focus, mentoring and assurance for the next, say 2 years. There may not be a Waqar or a Steyn, but a county of 160 million is capable of producing a Cook, Phillander or Narine.

Posted by DaDaL0G on (November 10, 2012, 17:18 GMT)

i Guess Bangladesh need some good coaches to work on their boys while they play first class cricket and have to groom them and prepare them for 5 days cricket. Try to make them stay at the wicket for long time, BCB have many option for the coaches from Pakistan and India if they want Sunil Gavaskar or Misbah ul Haq could be good choice because they are the best warms of Test matches, having worst strike rates but have spend so much time with the bat on crease

Posted by   on (November 10, 2012, 16:01 GMT)

@InsideHedge...Totally disagree there's no excuse for them but to win the coming series against West Indies. You have to be aware the amount of top players of the other teams that are retiring, those teams are becoming considerably weaker. Lee, Laxman, Dravid, Strauss etc who have all gone recently and past like Collingwood, Flintoff, Pollock etc and future like Dilshan, Misbah, Ponting, Sachin etc whereas during those times past, present and even going to the future, Bangladesh are developing as a Cricket team with none of their players including reserves is close to retirement therefore will find it much easier against those opposition considering they have to field young inexperience payers replacing those legends common sense really. Bangladesh's oldest player has only just turned 30 years old meaning the rest are in their 20s so experience is key for Bangladesh team.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (November 10, 2012, 15:24 GMT)

I feel sorry for Bangladesh, after 12 years of test cricket and their batting is still worse than England's. Still, they are improving, they just need to find 2 or 3 more players like Shakib / Tamim. World cricket needs more than 6 test teams.

Posted by TheRisingTeam on (November 10, 2012, 14:46 GMT)

Yes I agree Bangladesh have been disappointing in Test Cricket but in all fairness of those 12 years, the first 6 they were awfully terrible but the last 6 where they produced good players like Rahim, Tamim etc their performances in matches overall have been much better than the first six years. They're progressing but a lot of work needs to be done quickly and sufficiently.

Posted by InsideHedge on (November 10, 2012, 14:44 GMT)

Improvement Plan for Bangla ================== 1. Continue to LOSE but take games into beginning of 5th day. 2013 Plan. 2. As above but avoid innings defeats. 2014 Plan. 3. Take game past lunch on 5th day. 2015. 4. Post Tea. 2016. 5. DRAW a Test or two. 2017 thru 2020. 6. 2021: Begin to win the odd Test at home.


Posted by   on (November 10, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

Great article. Bangladesh need more seasons like this year, where their internationals play at least a couple of rounds of 4 day regional cricket before the tests start. Also they obviously need to unearth a couple of test standard seamers, rather than relying on Mashrafe Mortaza's fragile body, which can unfortunately only stand up to ODIs and T20s at present.

Also the administration needs sorting out, they have plenty of talent in batting and spin bowling, but when their coaches keep getting fired or resigning every 6 months it can't help.

Posted by   on (November 10, 2012, 11:45 GMT)

yeah they started really bad, but now they have improved a lot ,

New Zealand: they took 45 tests and 26 years to win their first test.

Posted by   on (November 10, 2012, 11:29 GMT)

Agree with most of the comments as well as the article itself. But the main problem is with the ICC itself. How often do the BD team play test matches comparing to other teams? If BD don't play much tests matches, then how can you expect them to develop? Just playing first-class cricket doesn't means you gonna be good in test cricket . May be you should look at Mark ramprokash and many other examples..

Posted by   on (November 10, 2012, 7:52 GMT)

Bangladesh has not understood the knack of playing international cricket. They flash hard or get bowled. The way they have played their Test Cricket is horrible. For the fan following they have, they should have atleast become No.5 in the world. Put the past aside and work on the future. Play as many domestic games as possible and make sure you pick the best out of the lot. Sakib, Tamim and recently Nossair Hussain are playing good cricket but not the best. They should try to play like international players rather than play like a sunday afternoon bet match. Cut down on T20 and they have to play more of 4 day games in domestic circuit, once they come to a level of establishing themselves as a test team, which can be rated as winning becoming a habit then they can surely come up. Sirlanka is a very good example for this. They were never the favorite in 1996 and even considered as underdog then. But, they went on win the World cup in 1996. Best is yet to come. Hope they do better.

Posted by ovzdatta151 on (November 10, 2012, 7:03 GMT)

To be a mature test playing nation one need time. Problem with Bangladesh players they are too focused in T20 format or 50 Over format. To be a good test player one need to have enough patience to stay on the wicket.

Posted by Meety on (November 10, 2012, 3:09 GMT)

What a great artivle. Unfortunately it highlighted what I have often thought - that the Premier Clubs have TOO much say in the way cricket is run in Bangladesh. Wouldn't a good compromise be - the Premier League clubs hold the franchise to the BPL & allow the Bangladesh Board to hold FC cricket when it is NEEDED & encourage ALL the National players to play in the FC comp? Makes sense as an outsider!

Posted by   on (November 10, 2012, 2:53 GMT)

I don't ever remember reading anything that long. I think they were given test status due to PCB and BCCI involment, but I think BCCI has completely turn there back on BCB. and there left in the middle of now where.

Posted by ExtremeSpeed on (November 10, 2012, 2:34 GMT)

What can Bangladesh do to improve in Test Cricket? well first improve your domestic structure, board needs to be professional and explore all the possible routes to succeed at this level, set up a pace academy, alter some of your Cricket grounds which encourages fast bowlers and play in different conditions all over the world to gain news skills. If you that than Bangladesh will obviously succeed in Test Cricket. They already have one of the best Under-19 record third overall only behind to Australia and India so they clearly have the talent and desire to succeed just a lot of things needs to be up to scratch. If Bangladesh can produce the best all-rounder in World Cricket today then they can surely produce one day the best batsman and bowler in the World. They already have batting talents coming up like Anamul Haque who was the top scorer at the Under-19 World Cup. Bangladesh just need to be positive for now and enjoy yourselves good luck!!!!

Posted by The_Ashes on (November 10, 2012, 2:17 GMT)

Not going to say much because the article says the things I wanted to say anyway but its obvious why both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe struggle in Test Cricket they're new to test Cricket and learning how to play this tough form properly but even then they're not even playing enough of it at the highest level. The important thing is that Bangladesh are not going backwards in Cricket but yeah has serious problems when it comes to Politics, Domestic, Pace bowling and so on.

Posted by S-Matrix on (November 10, 2012, 2:15 GMT)

Very insightful analysis, effectively highlighting exactly what is wrong with the first-class structure in Bangladesh. The figures of Tamim's, Shakib's and Mushfiqur's first-class participation in recent years are illuminating. What about the first-class tallies of the fast bowlers? And speaking of decentralising, can anyone provide information on the degree of cricket decentralisation in the subcontinental countries? Sri Lanka built a new stadium in a hitherto undeveloped town of Hambantota, but has it contributed towards decentralisation of cricket?

Posted by   on (November 10, 2012, 2:07 GMT)

Very long article but an important one!, its obvious now why Bangladesh have progressed slowly bad administration in my opinion. Also why do regular Bangladesh players skip 1st class matches? that's not on because no other full member nation does that probably do not even deserve to play tests if we have that kind of attitude. Regardless Bangladesh still has a lot of work to do but they important thing is that they have and are improving, producing good players and have the passion. I agree Bangladesh should've done more in terms of progression no doubt about that so its understandable why the team gets a lot of criticism. Tests will always be a problem for Bangladesh unless they sort out their domestic structure and fast bowling otherwise they will continue to struggle in tests. Also they should play in 4 day games abroad in seaming/swinging fast surfaces to develop further and improve their skills and at this moment there's no signs of them doing that pity but true,

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