So another sterling performance from Bangladesh. I am all for expanding the game to make it as global as possible but so little progress seems to have been made since their elevation to test status. And as a man who loves his stats to the point of being really quite sad, they are also ruining cricket’s record books as they seem to be on the wrong end of a lot of them.
It is not their fault. They were promoted above their status after a one-off win against Pakistan in a World Cup match which has since been shown to have been ‘rather dodgy’. They have shown flashes of promise, particularly in the one-day game where their international status is rather more justified.
But as a test nation, it has been a sorry tale. In 59 matches, they have a solitary victory and that came against Zimbabwe who have since had their test status removed. They have achieved 6 draws but half of them were also against Zimbabwe who have in turn triumphed 4 times over Bangladesh. Therefore, in 51 tests against credible opposition, they have avoided defeat on a mere 3 occasions.
On this occasion, they have lost to Sri Lanka by 465 runs, the 5th highest defeat test history in terms of runs. Tillakaratne Dilshan, an admirable and solid player but one by no means out of the top drawer, scored 2 big centuries in the match, both a strike rates of over 80. With all due respect to him, he could never dream of achieving anything of the sort against any other test team.
The cricket calendar is crowded and rather a lot of one-sided cricket is being played. Is it not time to release Bangladesh from the 5 year future tours programme and leave them to play associate countries and maybe two series a year (one home, one away) against a test nation. That way they can progress more quickly than they would getting pounded all around the ground every game.
Furthermore, it would free up more time for rest and meaningful series of more than two matches between the other test nations. I would rather watch England play a four match series in India and not play Bangladesh and I imagine the majority of cricket fans would concur with that. The various Boards around the country would surely prefer it too as they would get more bums-on-seats for such a series with games more likely to go the distance. These are surely all desirable aims.
By Stuart Peel