West Indies Test series a litmus test for Bangladesh cricket?
Publish- February 03, 2021, 08:26 AM
Saif Hasnat - UNB Staff writer
Update- February 07, 2021, 06:52 PM
The Bangladeshi cricket team is all set to take on the West Indies in a two-match Test series starting from February 3 in Chattogram. The West Indies, who are missing some of their main players, lost the ODI series earlier 3-0. They are now looking forward to doing well in the Bangladesh vs West Indies Test series.
Bangladesh won the last Test that they played before the deadly outbreak of Covid-19 in the country against Zimbabwe. But they have suffered defeats in 11 out of their last 14 Tests, including one against Afghanistan.
Despite having played Tests for two decades, Bangladesh is yet to find a decent place among the Test-playing nations. They are currently ranked ninth in the list of nine teams who have played adequate matches to get a place in the ICC World Rankings.
Many experts believe that Bangladesh also has the ability to replicate their ODI victories in Tests. But it requires a long-term plan and the chance of playing more matches.
A long-term plan is needed
Ahead of the Test series against the Caribbeans, BCB chief selector Minajul Abedin told the media that they were working with a special pool of cricketers.
“We have created a special pool of cricketers for Tests, and most of them are in the 18-member squad that we have announced for the West Indies series. We are planning to keep all of them in a system so that they can improve their skillset to do well in the future,” Minhajul said last week.
“We came up with this pool keeping all conditions in mind. We have to have a different game plan when we play abroad, and we have to go in a different way when we play at home. So we tried to gather as many players as we can to make a good future plan,” he added.
The chief selector had also said that he believed a long-term plan was something that "Bangladesh needs to improve their Test fate".
Players urge for more matches
During the last three years, Bangladesh played a total of 14 Tests, whereas, other Test-playing nations apart from Afghanistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe, played at least 20 matches.
England topped the list with 35 matches, while Australia is right after them with 26 matches. India and Sri Lanka are at number three, playing 25 matches each, while New Zealand and Pakistan played 22 matches each, and South Africa and West Indies played 21 and 20 matches, respectively.
Mominul Haque, the Test captain of Bangladesh, urged many a time like his predecessor to increase the number of Test matches, which can help the Tigers immensely in improving their quality in the most prestigious format of cricket.
Thanks to the ICC World Test Championship, Bangladesh are scheduled to play more matches in the coming years, which is a good chance for Mominul and his team to prove their mettle at the highest level of the game. The West Indies series is also a part of this event.
“We are back to play Test cricket after a gap of one year due to Covid-19. It’s a chance for us to start everything from the scratch. You have to face many challenges when you play international cricket. But I’m thinking more about doing well as a team. I don’t want to remember what we’ve done in the Championship so far. The only thing we can do is to play better in every situation of the game and start from scratch,” Mominul told the media on Tuesday.
Test cricket deserves more care from high officials
After losing the Indore Test by an innings and 130 runs against India in December 2019, Nazmul Hasan, the BCB president, told the media that he was shattered.
“There was a lot of hope to win the series against India. But we lost to them narrowly. I eagerly wanted the team to win the last of this series, but they failed. I just can’t accept it,” Nazmul told the media after losing the Indore Test.
BCB claims it cares most about Test cricket, but before the players’ discontent in October 2018, which shook the country, the players who take part in the longer format of the game at the domestic level used to get a petty match fee. Even at the international level, Bangladeshi cricketers used to get a lesser amount of match fees compared to their counterparts around the world.
However, after the players’ movement in 2018, the scenario has changed for the good as the board increased the amount of match fee for First class cricketers, along with improving other facilities during the events.