Going through Bangladesh play any form of cricket is quality Kolavari for anyone who understands the game at superficial level or someone who is die hard game follower. I pity the fans; who with hopes in their eyes hustle to grounds or hook to Television set to see their team win some day. But this winning consistency has eluded fans now for more than a decade. The Team still performs like one freshly launched onto international arena. While on the other hand there are likes of Netherlands & Ireland who take pride in the fight they put on the field despite of reprehensible cricketing infrastructure to support game in their countries; these are sadly the associates who try to punch above their weight to be recognized but alas it turns out to be a futile effort every time they do well.
Not sure if Bangladesh Cricket Board has the welfare of the elite version of game at its heart or does BCB think they are left behind while other boards are raking money which reasons introduction of BPL (Bangladesh Premier League). A cheap imitation of IPL and is nothing but encroachment of shorter format over its most elite version. The question arises; are they in for tactical short term goal of making money or strategic long term goal to strengthen cricketing culture.
Bangladesh as a team always leaves its followers wanting for more in terms of the fight they put up while playing the longer version of the game. Bangladesh’s batting has let them down as usual. In eight Test innings this year they went past 300 just once & none of them could manage a century and this is the way it has been since all the foreign coaches came and left their shores. So the problem lies with players and the board; it can be either players are not talented or they are taking the game for granted and board is complacent enough to recognize this adherent problem. Board has it interest more towards the politics at ICC level or is sycophant to heavy cricket boards in subcontinent.
Issues like why Bangladesh players are not selected for IPL or how they can qualify for champion’s league are at the fore front of its management and first class cricket is just a formality to be followed as per ICC guidelines since Bangladesh being a test playing nation. The problem might very well lie in the formation of the Bangladesh board and as it’s learnt that the clubs around Dhaka have a very heavy say in the functioning & proceedings of the board.
The problem lies at the grass root level where players are deprived of quality first class cricket. Absence of 3 day or 4 day matches are not only hurting players technique to survive longer version of the game but also the culture in which cricket is growing is impacted massively as any kid growing through this era would only want to play shorter version of the game and make quick bucks. Former captain and All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan opined about the ignorance showered on first-class cricket in his newspaper column saying, “We will play the Premier League and BPL after the Pakistan series. But we won’t play four-day cricket, the real area of concern. I don’t want to say much about it because we all know the prescription, but we never take the antidote”. With this level performance and attitude towards the elite version of the game; Bangladesh are walking on thin line where prominent teams would abandon them on the pretext of not deserving a chance to play at the highest level.
There are lot of other avenues apart from playing first class cricket in Bangladesh; BCB can organize County stint for their top 10 players which in itself is an immense learning or organize more first class games with emerging associate nations during off season would bring in the change in mindset and most importantly the technique they carry into the game. Patience is a virtue that needs to be valued while playing the longer version of the game which is clearly lacking when it comes to Bangladesh; flat body language while playing test against Zimbabwe or frequent predictable batting collapses or fielding glitches are few examples of shoddy game they have carried all through last year. Players need to imbibe patience as that is the virtue which fuels up the focus to stay competitive for next 90 overs.
Law the coach of this team shall be on the mercy of this board to arrange some kind of first class cricket all throughout this year in order to iron out the problems pertaining to both mental and technical aspect. Cries for abundant first class cricket are there but on paper and DPL and recently launched BPL comprise of the bread and butter these players earn. Stuart Law by the time premier league ends shall get all round view of how cricket functions in this part of sub-continent. He has bigger challenge to fit in first class cricket culture at the root level of this country.
It’s ultimately the Test Status which was at the heart of their fight since long and now it needs to be protected and not lose it to the lust of more financial gains on offer by shorter format.