Tour review

West Indies v Bangladesh 2009

Tony Cozier

Test matches (2): West Indies 0, Bangladesh 2
One-day internationals (3): West Indies 0, Bangladesh 3
Twenty20 international (1): West Indies 1, Bangladesh 0

Shakib Al Hasan poses with the series trophy, West Indies v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, 4th day, Grenada, July 20, 2009
Shakib Al Hasan led Bangladesh to a historic series win against a depleted West Indies © Associated Press

On their second tour of the Caribbean, Bangladesh were inadvertently provided with all the circumstances to transform their habitual Test agony into historic success.

They arrived to find the perennial row between the West Indies Cricket Board and the West Indies Players' Association simmering ominously; it came to the boil a couple of days before the First Test when, under advice from the WIPA, all 13 players selected (captain Chris Gayle, Adrian Barath, Sulieman Benn, Dwayne Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Runako Morton, Brendan Nash, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andrew Richardson, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Jerome Taylor) declared themselves unavailable, as did several others who would have qualified as their replacements.

From the severely reduced residue, the selectors hurriedly assembled teams for the two Tests, three one-day internationals and one Twenty20 international. Most players had no international experience: there were seven debutants in the First Test at St Vincent - the most for West Indies since their inaugural match in England in 1928 - and only two of those had played one-day internationals before. The captain was Floyd Reifer, who turned 37 before the one-day series; he had played the last of his four previous Tests ten years earlier.

Bangladesh's unexpected advantage was further enhanced by pitches that favoured their strength in spin bowling and, conversely, confirmed West Indies' weakness against it. Coach John Dyson and captain Reifer hopped around the Caribbean imploring groundstaff to provide surfaces with pace and bounce; they were left fuming when, despite promises, they got the opposite. The upshot was a clean sweep of Tests and one-day internationals by Bangladesh, a dramatic turnaround from their usual misfortunes. Their only previous Test win had come at home to Zimbabwe four years earlier, leading to their only previous Test series victory. They bettered that by winning 2-0 overseas, and followed up with their first 100% record in a one-day series against a Test side other than Zimbabwe. West Indies' consolation win came in the final match, a solitary Twenty20.

None of Bangladesh's victories was straightforward; they trailed by 69 on first innings at St Vincent, slid to 67 for four seeking 215 at Grenada, and had to amass their highest winning score chasing in the second one-day international. The principal difference was confidence. Bangladesh's grew by the day, while the ad hoc West Indies side lacked the experience to capitalise on promising positions. Unfairly, if not surprisingly, the board identified Dyson as their scapegoat, firing him from what was a hopeless job within two weeks of the tour's end.

Match reports for

Tour Match: West Indies A v Bangladeshis at Bridgetown, Jul 3-5, 2009
Report | Scorecard

1st Test: West Indies v Bangladesh at Kingstown, Jul 9-13, 2009
Report | Scorecard

2nd Test: West Indies v Bangladesh at St George's, Jul 17-20, 2009
Report | Scorecard

Tour Match: University of West Indies Vice Chancellor's XI v Bangladeshis at Portsmouth, Jul 24, 2009
Report | Scorecard

1st ODI: West Indies v Bangladesh at Roseau, Jul 26, 2009
Report | Scorecard

2nd ODI: West Indies v Bangladesh at Roseau, Jul 28, 2009
Report | Scorecard

3rd ODI: West Indies v Bangladesh at Basseterre, Jul 31, 2009
Report | Scorecard

Only T20I: West Indies v Bangladesh at Basseterre, Aug 2, 2009
Report | Scorecard

© John Wisden & Co.