~~Spate of defeats could spell disaster for game in Bangla~~

Published: Saturday, February 15, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: Bangladesh team manager Abu Sharif Faruque warned on Saturday that a failure to win any of its six World Cup games would be a disaster for the sport back home. Defeats to Canada and Sri Lanka in its first two matches have extended its losing streak to 28 games and with encounters against South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand to come, Bangladesh is looking at more humiliation. "Bangladesh's performances here have been hugely disappointing and if we fail in all our games it would be a cricketing disaster back home," Faruque said. Bangladesh went down unceremoniously to part-timers Canada in its first game by 60 runs and was then routed by Sri Lanka by 10 wickets. Its only realistic hope of breaking its unwanted streak will be against Kenya on March 1 in its last group game in Johannesburg. "I have received a very negative feedback after the loss to Canada because it was a match we were expected to win and this will affect the following back home." Bangladesh went into the World Cup having played a series in Namibia and a warm-up game which gave it a good lead-up, but things have gone from bad to worse since then. "We never expected to lose against Canada after some good performances in Namibia and in a warm-up match we chased 251 to win," he said. Cricket took over from football as the most popular game in the 130-million people nation after the country was awarded test status in August 2000, a decision still being questioned in many quarters. That followed its win over Pakistan by 62 runs in the last World Cup in 1999 in England, a result which raised many suspicions. Bangladesh has had a torrid time as a Test playing nation. It has lost 16 of its 17 Tests, 11 by an innings, and has fared equally worse in the shorter version of the game, losing 59 times in 63 outings. "I don't think it deserves Test status," said former Bangladesh's coach Gordorn Greenidge of West Indies - a comment that led to his quick departure from the job. Also sacked was Australian Trevor Chappell in April last year who hit back. He was just an unflattering in his assessment of the country's fortunes. "Bangladesh must improve its domestic cricket system," said the Australian. "Its players suffer because of that and are not learning." Current coach Mohsin Kamal, who played nine Tests and 19 One-day games for Pakistan, blames lack of collective effort. "Bangladesh has talent but it will not be successful until its put in a collective effort - our last chance will be against Kenya," Kamal said. Captain Khaled Mashud said Bangladesh is capable of doing better. "We are capable of doing better but the batsmen have failed us," he said. Meanwhile, Faruque hasn't ruled out wholesale changes when the team returns home. "The problem is that in the sub-continent we blame each other rather than finding the root cause so everyone has to face the consequences," the manager said. That would suggest that Kamal may soon be joining Greenidge and Chappell as a former coach.

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