They’ve been taking giant strides on the cricket field. They’ve been playing quality cricket over the past couple of years. The team from Bangladesh showed immense character and promise when it participated in the Cricket World Cup in 2015. Successive victories in the bilateral series against the likes of Pakistan, South Africa and India reiterated the fact that Bangladesh has transformed as a cricketing nation.
Last year in October, the Bangladesh cricket team defeated England in the second test match of the series. The victory will find a mention within Bangladesh’s best-ever moments in international Test cricket. Beating England in a test match and picking up 10 English wickets in a session was not something that even the most fervent Bangladeshi supporters would have imagined.
The game of cricket is not new to witnessing upsets. Almost every second day, we get to see an upset. Minnows going all guns blazing against supposedly formidable cricketing sides is something we get to see quite often. The advent of the Twenty20 format has led to the decline of Test cricket. Crowds watching test matches are dwindling at a rapid pace across the globe.
In such a sad situation, Bangladesh’s victory against the likes of England, the forefathers of the game, comes as a refreshing sign. Bangladesh is a huge market for cricket. There’s some serious passion for the game and if Bangladesh is made to compete against the likes of Australia, India and England more frequently, the passion and the consequent fan base is bound to grow. It would be a welcome development for the game of cricket at large.
Bangladesh is largely an untapped market when it comes to the development of Test cricket. Bangladesh hardly hosts test matches on their home soil. In the absence of newer markets, Bangladesh can come forward and rekindle the dying passion for Test cricket. Bangladesh is an emerging nation which isn’t short of fans and sponsors. With icons like Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim, sponsors too can find newer and fresher opportunities for investment.
It is just a matter of time before Bangladesh makes its way into the big league. The more they’ll play, the more they’ll learn. Test cricket is considered the ultimate test of a team’s temperament. Bangladesh need to play more test matches in order to get a taste of this ultimate form of the game. The likes of Tamim Iqbal and Mahamudullah are talented cricketers in the limited-overs formats. Players such as Shakib have even had a chance of playing for an English county side (Worcestershire). There’s no lack of potential. What the country’s cricketing setup requires is a will to be a bit more proactive when it comes to organising matches.
Recently, Bangladesh toured India for a one-off test match. Our neighbour isn’t being given the due respect it deserves. In my opinion, there should have been a second test match. What’s the use of hosting a single test match without any context? The Bangladesh Cricket Board shouldn’t have accepted the proposal of playing only a single test match against India.
The Bangladeshis are set to tour Sri Lanka in March 2017 for a couple of test matches. With both teams undergoing a transition phase, it would be an interesting contest. The Bangladesh cricket team would also be travelling all the way to the highlands in South Africa in order to take on the Proteas in a two-match Test series. The experience of playing on the bouncy tracks would give the team a taste of seaming tracks. An opportunity to play across different pitches outside the sub-continent would teach them the significance of adapting according to the conditions.
Non-Asian teams have felt largely unsettled on the turning tracks of Mirpur and Chittagong. With young spinners like Mehdi Hasan emerging from their ranks, the future certainly looks a lot brighter for the South-Asian talent house.
Finally, it can be said that things have fallen into place quite nicely for Bangladesh. They’ve taken some giant strides forward in the limited-overs formats. Storming into the quarter-finals of the Cricket World Cup in 2015 was a huge breakthrough. It’s only a matter of time before they spread their wings in the Test cricket arena too. Their victory against England might just have marked the beginning of their dream-run in Test cricket.