Bangladesh Cricket History
Bangladesh are currently the youngest Test playing nation in world cricket and have been steadily impressing in the One Day format of the game as well as trying to come to grips with the 5 day games.
Having been granted Test status in 2000, The Tigers are still finding their feet in Test cricket. To date, they have played 49 Test matches in seven years, but have only managed to record one victory.
Flying Start at Test Level
Although Bangladesh have found the going tough at Test level, they got off to a bright start in their inaugural game
against Asian rivals, India. The game was played in November, at Dhaka in Bangladesh, and they started the match by batting first. The Tigers posted an impressive score of 400, with Aminul Islam top scoring with 145. With this being the first ever Test match played by Bangladesh, it meant that Islam had the honour of being the first ever Bangladeshi player to score a century at Test level.
The game ended with India winning comfortably by 9 wickets, after Bangladesh collapsed in the second innings and were bowled out for 91. However, Bangladesh had certainly made an impression on the world of cricket.
Not as Easy as it Looks
Unfortunately for Bangladesh, despite such a spirited start to their Test career, The Tigers lost 30 out of the next 33 Test matches – the remaining three were draws. Although they continued to put all their efforts into the games, they were being technically outclassed in every department of the game. Most of the defeats were large and humiliating and the game would often be finished without their opponents having to bat for a second time. They suffered their worst ever defeat at the hands of the West Indies in 2002. The game was played at Dhaka, and Bangladesh were blown away by Lara et al, with the end result being a West Indies victory by an innings and 310 runs.
Throughout this period, two players were consistently performing well in a poor team. Habibul Bashar was top scoring for The Tigers more often than not, and his figures clearly separate him from the other batsmen. In 47 matches, Bashar has managed to score 2953 runs, at an average of 32.09. Although this average is not that impressive when it is put alongside the averages of some of the greats of the game, for a young Test nation, Bashar was making a name for himself. Throughout his career, Bashar has scored 3 centuries and 24 half-centuries, with his top score being 113 not out, against the West Indies in 2004.
The other noteworthy player was the experienced slow left arm bowler, Mohammad Rafique. Like Bashar, his stats and figures are nowhere near being in the same class as the game’s top players, but he was a consistent performer for Bangladesh. During his 31 Test matches, Rafique took 94 wickets, at an average of 40.79. His best match figures came against Australia in 2006 when he took 9/160 over the course of the game.
First Win in a Test
With the defeats stacking up, many began to query the decision that was made by the ICC to allow Bangladesh to be given Test status, as they were being humiliated on countless occasions. However, in 2005, the Tigers hosted Zimbabwe for a two match Test series. Even though Zimbabwe were in the middle of a difficult period (mainly due to political issues that had arisen within the country and had affected the national team), they were still a tough team to beat.
With Bangladesh winning the toss, they put faith in their batsmen and decided to bat first. As in their first ever test match, they posted an impressive score of 488, with Bashar top scoring with 94 runs. Then the bowlers came on to the field and restricted the Zimbabwe team to 312, thanks to the efforts of Rafique who took 5/65.
With the match being in the 4th day, time was against Bangladesh, who knew they had to score quick runs. They came out for their second innings and scored 204. Although they never looked like losing, they still had to take 10 wickets to win the game and with the help of the impressive bowling of Enamul Haque Junior – who took 6/45, The Tigers wrapped up their first ever Test win and the game ended with celebrations of massive proportions. They drew the second Test and won the series as well.
Unfortunately for Bangladesh, they quickly reverted back to old ways and have failed to win a match since. However, in the One Day format of the game, their fortunes have been somewhat different.
Shock in the One Day Internationals
Although they have only won 36 games out of 163, they have shown a steady improvement since their first game against Pakistan in 1986 – which they lost by 7 wickets. They lost another 21 games before they recorded their first victory, which came in 1998 against Kenya in Hyderabad.
At the ICC World Cup in 1999, they shocked everyone by beating Pakistan in the group stages. They may have failed to win against any other Test playing team, but this win was the catalyst for the ICC to grant them Test status.
The Tigers were on the up in One Day cricket at the World Cup in 2007 in the West Indies. They surprised the whole sport when they managed to qualify for the Super 8 stage, having beaten India in the group stage. The victory was thoroughly deserved and by beating Bermuda in the next game, they confirmed that they would be staying in the West Indies to play in the next stage. This was truly the crowning moment in the short history of Bangladesh, and was made all the sweeter when they beat South Africa – who were many people’s favourites for the tournament – in the Super 8 stages.
Bashar and Rafique have been the most consistent of the players in the team but Shahriar Nafees has impressed fans all across the world with his aggressive cricket. In 49 matches, he has scored 1565 runs at an average of 34.77. Nafees has a bright future in the Bangladesh team and will be integral to the team’s improvements over the coming years.
Abdur Razzak has also impressed in the One Day format, having taken 80 wickets in 52 matches. Not only have the stumps been flying out the ground but Razzak has also managed to obtain a notable average of 22.85.
Nafees and Razzak were present at the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa, where Bangladesh fielded the youngest team of the tournament. Only two of their players were over 24 and this shows that the current coaching system has put faith in the young talent that the South Asian country is producing.
The gamble paid off when they produced an amazing result, drubbing the off-form West Indies team to qualify for the next stage of the tournament. Although they failed to beat any of the major teams in the rest of the tournament, they put up many spirited performances which can only inspire the team for years to come.