The Bangladesh Cricket Board and members of the national squad are aware of their important tasks and responsibilities ahead and they should chart out their cricket activities within the available time before stepping into the forthcoming World Cup cricket tournament in England.
DURING the Football World Cup, we were all deeply engrossed in football matches held in cities of Russia. Hardly had we we the temptation to know of other sports and games going on both at home and abroad. After all, the World Cup injects the highest degree of intoxication in football lovers. But as the FIFA World Cup is now over, our attention has turned to Tigers’ international cricket engagements.
Our national cricket squad, the Tigers, have just ended their West Indies Tour. They conceded embarrassing defeat in the Test series but showed their mettle by defeating the powerful West Indies in both the ODI and T-20 series with flair and style. Their rather humiliating defeat in both the Tests have been richly compensated by memorable ODI and T-20 series win against strong Caribbeans.
It is the extraordinary team effort and determination of the entire squad which have earned them a rare distinction of clinching double series win against the hosts. In fact, this win against West Indies has once again made it clear that Bangladesh have the ability to bounce back any time and against any team in the world.
Our ODI series win against West Indies has been an effective morale-booster because this win came after a very dismal performance in the Test series against the hosts. We lost both the Tests in a rather undignified manner. In the first innings of 1st Test, our team was were restricted to small total of 43 runs, which was certainly demoralising.
We all know that our national team was passing through a prolonged bad patch. The West Indies tour of the Tigrs was preceded by shaming defeats in three-match T-20 series against Afghanistan in Dehradun in India and a very poor show in all formats of the game against South Africa on their own soil. It is reported that within the last one year the Tiges have failed to register any appreciable win in T-20 format.
So our team’s long bad patch further deepened with the embarrassing defeat in both the Test matches against West Indies. The overall mood of the players and the cricket-loving people of Bangladesh turned quite blue. There was no sign of resurgence — no light at the end of the tunnel.
But our promising cricketers have proved everyone wrong by turning around brilliantly and pulled off a memorable series win in both ODI and T-20 format. If the ODI series win against the West Indies turns out as a morale booster, the T-20 series win against the reigning World Cup champion West Indies turns out as pride-salvaging. Unlike respectable ODI achievements, the performance record of the Tigers in T-20 international series is not so comforting. But the series-levelling second T-20 and series-winning third T-20 against the Caribbeans have brought into focus the fact that even in the T-20 format, the Tigers have enough potential to do a formidable score and thereby make it difficult and challenging for the opponent to chase it.
That we have now earned the distinction of winning both ODI and T-20 series against the powerful Caribbeans, we have to shoulder a greater responsibility to retain this winning spree and, thereby, maintaining our prestige and dignity. We have to do a lot of serious homework to ensure consistently better performance. And particular focus and concentration should be given on the appropriate measures to improve the Test performance. This is because losing Test in an ordinary and disgraceful manner is not only agonising but it also degrades Tigers’ position in the global cricket community.
It also sometimes reinforces the widely-held perception that we are not capable of playing the longer version of the game. This particular image must be reversed with creative and perspective plan by the Bangladesh Cricket Board. The board should come up with fresh ideas to improve the standing in Test encounters. Otherwise, a satisfactory performance in ODI will be overshadowed by the ordinary performance in Test series and sometimes in T-20 series. It will be like moving one step forward and two steps back, with an overall negative standing.
Coming back home, the national team is expected to make preparation for the Asia Cup. And this will be followed by hosting several foreign teams. In 2019, England will be playing hosts to the cricket world’s mega event World Cup Cricket (ODI version). All the participating countries are seriously doing their homework in a very planned manner to earn the distinction and also to protect the dignity and prestige. Bangladesh has already made an impressive mark in world cricket, particularly, in ODI version, by beating all the elite of the cricket world over the past several years and earned the distinction of being a giant killer. The cricket world has started to reckon Bangladesh as a potential threat to their cherished dream.
This is undoubtedly an invaluable strength for the Bangladesh squad and a constant source of inspiration for us. We understand that the cricket board and members of the national cricket squad are fully aware of their important tasks and responsibilities ahead and they should accordingly chart out their cricket activities within the available time before stepping into the forthcoming World Cup cricket tournament in England.
After all, our cricket-loving people do not want to see that their national team is putting up an ordinary and substandard performance. They eagerly look forward to see that the Tigers will stand their ground and put up a heroic performance. Winning and losing are part of the game. But losing the game must be in a dignified manner and, thereby, doing justice to their name and fame as a rising cricket nation.
M Ashiq, a former national hockey player, is a former teacher of Scholastica.
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