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Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh cricket wanted more matches and got them. Now it’s time to perform

Before blaming others, we must look at the state of our cricket and ask where the real issues lie

Update : 22 Aug 2022, 11:16 PM

We often criticize BCB for their unanticipated and unplanned actions. This time, however, we must concede that they played well on the ICC board table for the upcoming future tour program. It is now time to perform well on the field. 

BCB ensured the most ODIs (59) and the most bilateral international matches for Bangladesh cricket. Bangladesh received 34 tests in total, which is the most for any nation outside the Big Three. Only New Zealand is given more than 30. 

Indeed, BCB earned a jackpot achievement for the cricket of Bangladesh. They played magnificently in all the formats on the table of the ICC. Now it is time to reflect that with noticeable results where it matters most.

Nonetheless, numerous supporters and the media have raised a few concerns.

Why do we not have a series against England in England? Despite the fact that it has been over a decade since we last played on English soil, we are eager to return. Why are there so many games against lower-ranked opponents? Why not against the higher-ranking nations?

To comprehend this, you have to be familiar with the typical construction of the ICC FTP. I try to explain based on my own understanding and perspective of the game. In addition, I have a few observations following the official announcement of the ICC FTP on August 17. I will elaborate on their significance in this article.

Firstly, the ICC reserves certain dates on its calendar for events such as the ICC global events, both in white and red ball formats, the Asia Cup, and others. Upon discussion at the board meeting, they are attempting to maintain windows for premier cricket leagues such as the IPL, BPL, PSL, etc.

In contrast, each nation typically proposes a series, whether it be an ODI, T20, test, or full series, among themselves. Here is how the negotiation works: 

Every nation reviews the offers they have received. Then, each nation chooses its series independently, based on whether it is a white or red ball or even a full series, but with the consent of all nations involved. These agreements are subsequently incorporated into the draft. 

After that, all the drafts are sent to the ICC for their review and approval. The ICC may omit or include anything upon receipt of the draft. In the majority of instances, they only make minor adjustments. Because both nations have to agree to a bilateral series, the ICC cannot impose its decision on the bilateral series in this case. Consequently, negotiation skills, sponsorship prospects, and team performance are all crucial to having a better situation.

To come back to why we do not have a series against England in England, why would England want to play Bangladesh in England if they have better offers to play against the top teams on their table? It is exactly the same scenario when many underestimate Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, and Ireland solely because of their inexperience. Cricket is not even among the top five most popular sports in Ireland, whereas it is the most popular sport in Bangladesh. Afghanistan as an economy is in disarray. Nonetheless, these nations are excelling in the field. We were defeated in our home series by Afghanistan. Yet, many of us are not happy to play too frequently against lower-ranked teams. Then why would England want to play Bangladesh in a bilateral series?

Past performances 

The Bangladesh team has played 134 Test matches so far since its debut in 2000. Only 16 victories and 100 defeats have resulted from these contests, while 18 games ended in a draw. The winning rate is 11.94%. With the exception of lower-ranked teams, the recent record of the T20 format has become even worse. Bangladesh also lost in the recent series against Zimbabwe in both formats. 

Bangladesh's ODI performances are regarded as a strength. Bangladesh has completed 400 ODI matches since playing the first ODI in 1986 and has become the 10th cricketing nation to do so. They were victorious in 144 out of 400 contests, while they were defeated in 249. The remaining seven matches resulted in a draw, winning 36.64% of their matches. Numerous victories came against lower-ranked teams however, which many in Bangladesh tend to undervalue.

Many Bangladeshis don’t acknowledge that Afghanistan and Ireland's performances have significantly improved. They lack Test-playing experience but are now Test-playing nations. Afghanistan even defeated Bangladesh in the elite format in Bangladesh. Our cricket, on the other hand, is not improving. Rather, we are going backward. The performance on the field says so.

Many of us wonder why England and Australia have no away series against us. Looking at our performances, we should be thankful to India that they have agreed to play Tests against us in India.

Besides, there are issues of sponsorship and competitiveness in the respective home countries. BCB is good at negotiating and plays well on the table of the ICC board. That's why we still got the most Tests after the Big Three, most ODIs, and most bilateral matches. I referred to it as a “jackpot” in the beginning. Our players need to play at least decent cricket on the field, if not excellent cricket. Something must be earned through on-field performances.

Before blaming the ECB, CA, BCCI, or other boards, we should better reflect on our game and truly improve it, not only with empty words. 

MD Talebur Islam is a Researcher, Columnist, and Communications and Development professional. Email: [email protected].

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