Boria Majumdar, a cricket historian has an article on what explains Bangladesh’s surge in ODI cricket. This was written before the country registered its second emphatic win against India y’day:
Till very recently Bangladesh was considered a minnow. So much so that during the proposed International Cricket Council’s (ICC) revamp under N Srinivasan, Giles Clarke and Wally Edwards it was proposed that Bangladesh would have to battle relegation to stay on in the elite tier of world cricket. It was only at Mustafa Kamal’s insistence and because the big three were desperate for numbers at the time to get their main proposals passed, that this suggestion was rejected. However, such ignominy is now a thing of the past. Bangladesh, it can be said with certainty as far as ODI 50 over cricket is concerned, is no longer a minnow. If the World Cup quarter final showing was an aberration, the demolition of Pakistan at home in April 2015 was a real statement of intent. And now to literally thrash India in the first ODI at Mirpur tells us that Mashrafe Mortaza, Shakib al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim are finally tired of telling their own that good days are just round the corner.
The fact is good days are here for Bangladesh cricket and this lot of cricketers led by Tamim Iqbal, Shakib, Rubel Hussain, Mashrafe and the like are giving the fans a whole new dream to live. At a time when world cricket is desperately seeking newer pastures and newer fan bases, Bangladesh is a welcome change for sure. Passionate fans, who can give the Indians a run for their money, is something world cricket would absolutely love. And for Bangladesh cricket, which has had a stop start career since getting Test status in 2000, it is a remarkable transformation that has taken a bit long in coming. Three things have prompted this change.
First is the fact that Bangladesh has suddenly discovered a good crop of fast bowlers. Rubel Hussain and Taskin Ahmed can both bowl at 140 plus miles and can make batsmen jump and fend. Rubel’s final spell against England in the World Cup encounter that sealed the fate of Eoin Morgan’s men and the fiery one he bowled against India in the quarter final are a clear testament to his ability. In fact, it was interesting to know that on the eve of the second one-dayer Bangladesh was planning a four pronged pace attack against India on a fast bouncy wicket at home. Under Heath Streak, a long time war horse for Zimbabwe and a quality bowler at his peak, the Bangladesh fast men have a new found confidence.
Second is the fact that a number of the batsmen who have been around for a while now are reaching their peak at the same time. Be it Tamim, Mushfiqur, Shakib or the newer crop of Mahmudul lah, Soumya Sarkar and others, each of these men have displayed a fearlessness in recent times not seen before. They were not afraid of attacking Trent Boult and Tim Southee in New Zealand when many other teams folded up against the duo, they were all over James Anderson, Stuart Broad and company in the World Cup and more recently thrashed the Pakistani and the Indian bowlers in home conditions.
Finally, it is about team unity. For the longest time Bangladesh cricket was fraught with disunity among players, behind the back intrigues and politicking that impacted on field performance. Here is a Bangladesh team that is playing as a well-oiled machine and each of the senior players and coach Hathurasinghe deserve a lot of credit for his.
I think third is the most important factor. One can see how they are all playing like a team.
The country has a deep history which is obvious as it was part of Indian subcontinent colonised by British:
For a country with a cricket history as rich as Bangladesh’s, their cricket is 150 years old going back to the 1850s, it is about time that the sport finally claims a place in the nation’s soft power ambitions. It is of interest to note that in the 1890s there was a regular tradition of cricket matches played between Dhaka University and Presidency College, Kolkata and in many of these games Dhaka University got the better of their West Bengali counterparts. Also, the Dhaka Times of 1876 reports at length about cricket played in the city, a tradition that suffered a serious setback in the 1920s and 1930s. It was only in the 1980s under administrators like Mustafa Kamal that cricket made a comeback when internationals like Wasim Akram, Neil Fairbrother, Raman Lamba and others travelled to Bangladesh to feature in local competitions. It was this momentum that finally resulted in Bangladesh winning Test status in 2000.
Though, one still has to see the team graduate like SL did and become a world beater across countries. From a home grown tiger to a tiger that can growl anywhere…