Are Bangladesh capable of playing in Tests?

Written by: Suresh Parekh
Published: Saturday, September 2, 2000, 12:45 [IST]
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Rajkot: The news is finally out. Bangladesh will be playing their first ever Test against India. Indeed it was the long cherished dream of all cricket aficionados, administrators, cricketers and those who believed that cricket will put Bangladesh on the international map in the real sense of the word.

Amidst all these glory and celebrations, one question that arises is will Bangladesh put up a decent performance, which will justify the early Test status granted to it by the International Cricket Council (ICC)?

Indeed a game like cricket needs exposure and if former ICC president Jagmohan Dalmiya was hell-bent on his policies to globalise cricket in a short time-frame, he was right but not in the right way.

Dalmiya, who had a soft corner for Bangladesh, used his abilities and succeeded in convincing the other cricket playing nations to grant Test status to Bangladesh. If this was his mission, then it was well accomplished.

But the point to ponder is whether Bangladesh have performed creditably to convince their critics. The answer might be a 'no'. In the last couple of decades, Test playing countries like Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe have put up creditable on the field performance, which made everyone to take notice.

Sri Lanka performed so well in the 1979 World Cup that they also beat India in one of the encounters. Lanka by doing this became the first non-Test playing team to trounce a team which had got the Test status way back in 1932.

The Sri Lankans were playing a lot of first-class cricket then. They even toured India in 1974-75 to play an unofficial Test series and their performances were inspiring.

So when they finally got the Test status, they were fully armed and needless to say that it took a short time to see what a good side Sri Lanka was.

On the other hand, Zimbabwe, who got the Test status in the last decade or so, had the advantage of their highly talented players finding places either in county cricket or in South Africa where cricket was highly professional and competitive.

When they played their first match in the third edition of the World Cup in England, they defeated none other than Australia and almost beat India not before Kapil Dev emerged from nowhere and seized the match from Zimbabwe's hands.

But, Zimbabwe showed the world that they were a team to reckon with. This unfortunately is not the case with Bangladesh. Last year they participated in the World Cup and defeated a team like Pakistan.

But cricket lovers are still not sure whether it was a genuine victory or was the result of match-fixing as alleged by some sections of the media. The fact is that Bangladesh are capable of playing limited-overs cricket and not Test cricket, where the side lacks the kind of experience to threaten the pponents.

Frankly speaking, Bangladesh have no player who could be a match winner. They hardly have quality medium pacers and spinners who can turn the complexion of the match.

Bangladesh hardly have batsmen who can occupy the crease and play long innings. It is also difficult to believe whether Bangladesh players are fit enough to survive for five days under the scorching sun.

I just can't imagine the sight of Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee firing all cylinders with four slips and a gully against any of the Bangladeshi batsmen.

I can't imagine Shoiab Akhtar bowling his fastest and nearly full-pitched delivery against them. I can't imagine them playing against Shane Warne's flipper and the ball which pitches way outside the leg stump and goes straight on to the stumps.

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