Beaten but un­bowed, Bangladesh plead for more Tests

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

CHITTAGONG: Skip­per Mush­fiqur Rahim pleaded yes­ter­day for Bangladesh to be given more Test matches af­ter the crick­et­ing min­nows fell ag­o­nis­ingly short of an his­toric vic­tory over Eng­land. While Eng­land’s main chal­lenge is to man­age their play­ers’ work­load, Bangladesh strug­gle to ar­range se­ries against top-flight op­po­nents and the just-con­cluded match in Chittagong was their first Test in 15 months. While In­dia have agreed to host their first-ever Test match against Bangladesh next year, it will be a one-off and will do lit­tle to sate the hunger of a cricket-mad na­tion. Rahim made his Test de­but back in 2005, the same year that his op­po­site num­ber Alas­tair Cook made his first ap­pear­ance for his coun­try. But while Cook broke the Eng­land record in Chittagong by win­ning his 134th cap, Rahim was making only his 49th ap­pear­ance-a stark il­lus­tra­tion of how lit­tle Test cricket Bangladesh are ex­posed to.

While Bangladesh have made big strides in one-day cricket, win­ning six homes se­ries in a row be­fore los­ing to Eng­land ear­lier this month, Rahim says their lack of op­por­tu­ni­ties is hold­ing them back in five-day cricket. “You can al­ways im­prove if you play more Tests,” said Rahim. “I have felt that each of my Tests has been like a de­but game, and I have played 49 Tests so far. “I think we should play more Tests, which will give you more con­sis­tency in the other for­mats.” Bangladesh were to have hosted Aus­tralia for a Test se­ries last year but the tour was scrapped at the last minute over safety fears. Eng­land’s tour was also in doubt af­ter a deadly at­tack on a cafe in Bangladesh’s cap­i­tal Dhaka in July which was pop­u­lar with tourists. Since be­ing in­vited to join the game’s top ta­ble 16 years ago, Test cricket’s new­est na­tion has lost 72 of its 94 Tests and won just sev­en­five of them against fel­low strug­glers Zim­babwe.

Bangladesh en­tered the fifth and final day of the first Chittagong Test need­ing just 33 runs for vic­tory with two wick­ets left, but could only add 10 to their overnight score.

Rahim re­fused to be down­hearted and said there were many rea­sons to be proud at run­ning Eng­land so close. “We can take a lot of pos­i­tives-Mi­raz (Me­hedi Hasan) and Shakib (Al Hasan) bowled well. Tamim (Iqbal) bat­ted well... it was a good Test for Bangladesh,” he said.

The 18-year-old Hasan took six wick­ets on his de­but while Tamim’s fight­ing 78 helped Bangladesh post a com­pet­i­tive first in­nings to­tal, al­beit less than they hoped for at one stage af­ter a lowerorder col­lapse. Rahim said the out­come should not be blown out of pro­por­tion.

“If we would have won, we wouldn’t be­come an ex­tra­or­di­nary Test side. But we ended up achiev­ing much of what we had set our­selves.” — AFP

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