Dhaka: Bangladesh deserved Test recognition despite the nightmarish start of losing all but one of its 11 Tests, the country's cricket community says.
"The situation would have been the same if Test status had come four or five years later," former national captain Raquibul Hasan told reporters. "We had to start one day and so we got it in the year 2000 as part of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) globalisation programme," he said. Bangladesh needed some time to improve under highly skilled professional guidance, he added. Bangladesh, granted Test status on June 26, 2000, played its inaugural match against India in Dhaka in November 2001. Since then it has played 11 Test matches against India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and New Zealand. It lost all, except one against Zimbabwe, which was washed out. But its not been all bad news for Bangladesh. Aminul Islam, Mohammed Ashraful and Habibul Basher have all scored Test hundreds, and there have been five-wicket hauls from Mohammed Sharif and former captain Naimur Rahman. The national team is currently preparing for a series of two Tests and three One- dayers in Sri Lanka in July. "We Bangladeshis are often labelled as being emotional, but questioning the justification of our Test status is very negative," one fan said. Another fan said that cricket was unpredictable and point to New Zealand's massive defeat against Pakistan recently as an example of even successful teams doing badly. "We had to start somewhere. Had we been given Test status earlier we might have achieved something in the last five years," said Ahmed Sajjadul Alam, a veteran cricket organiser and a director of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). "We played only One-day cricket at home till we got Test status. First-class domestic cricket began only after 2000," he said. Alam blamed Bangladesh's poor performance on a lack of professionalism among the game's administrators and the absence of well-equipped gymnasiums and practice facilities. Bangladeshis argue that all new Test-playing nations had suffered similar results when their turn came to pad up against the big boys. They are confident of the future, saying there is "time, scope and opportunity" to develop the national team. "Practice makes a man perfect. More matches, more practice and Bangladesh will one day outshine many," one fan said. Bangladesh now has a new coach in former Pakistani star Mohson Kamal after Australian Trevor Chappell was sacked last month.
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