Spinning to Success
Has cricket in Bangladesh come of age?
Having beaten such sides as Pakistan, India and South Africa in ODIs, the Bangladesh cricket team is really coming up. Since its arrival in international cricket in 1998-99, the Bangladeshis had struggled against the top teams but then their hard work is now paying off and they are performing well against the top-ranked sides with consistency and maturity in all departments of the game.
No wonder, they managed to finish 7th among the top 10 teams in the ICC ODI Team Rankings, which also helped them qualify for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 which is to be played only among the eight
highest-ranked ODI sides, while teams like Pakistan and West Indies are still finding ways to qualify for the event. This shows that Bangladesh cricket is moving in the right direction.
Usually, subcontinental sides rely on their spinners, especially when playing on their home grounds as pitches in this part of the world are dry and mainly support spin bowlers. Compared to the bouncy tracks found Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa, fast bowlers don’t find much seam or swing when playing in the subcontinent in countries like India, Pakistan Sri Lanka and Bangladesh,.
The Bangladeshis have recharged their pace battery with fast bowlers who are not only young and spirited, but also have immense talent. This refers more specifically to young guns like Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman who have emerged as game changers for their country.
The 20-year old Taskin Ahmed, for instance, has taken 21 wickets in 14 one-day matches so far with a strike rate of 29.1, and that too against teams like India, South Africa and Pakistan. Rubel Hossain, 25, rightarm fast bowler, has picked up 87 wickets in 67 ODI matches with a strike rate of 35. And when it comes to an emerging star like Mustafizur Rahman, 19, left-arm medium, the young lad has produced even more astonishing figures to this point.
In recent performances, the Bangladeshi side has displayed a fast and steady attack which is consistent, accurate and able to destroy any batting lineup in limited overs cricket. They may not be as fast as Dale Steyn or as experienced as Sir Curtly Ambrose but what makes the Bangladeshi pace attack threatening is their ‘ freshness,’ suggesting they are here to stay for long and will surely become more lethal and sharp with time.
The future of Bangladesh looks bright and promising, though considering their overall record in all formats of the game, they still need to do a lot more to jump the ICC rankings and be counted among the top 3 teams. Bangladesh has performed comparatively well on its home grounds compared playing outside the country.
The Bangladesh record in Test cricket is below the standards of any Test playing nation and they have yet to mark their first victory against any Test playing side, except Zimbabwe and West Indies. Their win against the West Indies in 2009 was more due to the strike called by the 13 regular West Indian players over contract disputes.
Given that Bangladesh attained the status of a Test playing country in 2000, the team can be termed as the most pampered side of international cricket. It has been continuously enjoying Test status for 16 years without having anything to show by way of performance at the competitive Test level. Playing the majority of their matches at home venues, the playing conditions for the Bangladesh team are always ideal. They have never been posed with the kind of challenges faced by the Pakistan team, which continually competes with the other sides away from home and is deprived of international cricket at home.
The good news is that Bangladesh has started showing good results in both the ODI and T20 formats. What they need now is to keep up the momentum because they still have a long way to go as a top cricketing nation, especially in Test cricket. They also have to show that they are as good playing away from home as they are on their home grounds.
The Bangladesh record in Test cricket is below the standards of any Test playing nation and they have yet to mark their first victory against any Test playing side.