Needless to say that the Indian fan respects this minnow side totally as they were one of the surprise sides that defeated, the mighty Indians in the recently concluded World Cup in the West Indies. Sure, cricket is in itself a game of glorious uncertainties, but being beaten by a young inexperienced Bangladeshi side, was a tough and bitter pill for the Indian cricket fan to swallow.
As a one day side, Bangladesh has come a long way. They may not win every game that they play, but the opposition takes them a lot more seriously than they previously did. Captains of the opposition sides, are sure to express very clearly that 'Bangladesh must not be taken lightly, that they are a side to reckon with', and all that jazz. In the 2007 world cup they unpredictably beat the big ones, India and South Africa and more expectedly thrashed one of the newest entrants onto the World Cup Cricket stage - Bermuda.
What stood out most was the dauntless approach that the young team members had in whatever they did. The ever watchful coach, Dav Whatmore could be seen egging his boys on, and with the exuberance of a child that devours a chocolate cake, the Bangladeshi Tiger cubs celebrated every wicket, every landmark that they achieved. Who can forget that cherubic Mushfiqur Rahim as he belted out in a quasi Sachin Tendulkar voice - lala, lala!! And that dauntless opener, Tamim Iqbal with eyes, well, as indomitable as those of a tiger. What about Mashrafe Mortaza as he rushed into to dismiss, world class batsmen! All these are images that will live on in the mind, of a newly packaged, re energized Bangladeshi one day unit.
But, time for a reality check. In the longer version of the game, Bangladesh just doesnt have the goods to win matches at a serious level. In the 48 Tests that they have played, they have lost 42 and more significantly have won only one Test, and that to against a side that has recently been stripped off their Test playing status, Zimbabwe. The debate as to whether they should also have their status taken off or not is alive.
Many feel that they are a young side and with time will improve with time. Its been their 7th year in the Test arena, and as mentioned earlier, they have played 48 matches so far. Presently in the tear drop island of Sri Lanka they have been comprehensibly bludgeoned but have had some moments in the second Test that they can look back upon and smile!
Ofcourse the shameful first innings score of 62 all out must be taken into account, so that the century scored by captain, Mohammad Ashraful is looked at with more respect. The 6th wicket partnership of 191 between himself and Mushfiqur Rahim took the team from 78/5 to 269/6. More than the 22 year old captain who showed maturity, the 18 year old, wicket keeper Mushfiqur Rahims resilience was commendable.
One hopes that the third Test will be a little more evenly contested, for expecting a Bangladeshi victory is wishful thinking.
Perhaps its not fair to suggest that Bangladesh should lose their Test status, but they just have to put up better and more developed performances on the 22 yard strip. Or else like Zimbabwe, they will have to go back to being a one-day cricket nation. Zimbabwe played Tests for 13 years, so Bangladesh who are 7 years old as a Test nation, still have time to prove themselves, if they are given a similar time frame as the Zimbabweans.
They say that One day cricket has a positive effect on Test matches, and the Bangladeshis are steadily improving in the shorter version of the game. Give them a few more years and maybe, just maybe all the positive vibes from their one day performances could result in Test match victories!
Dont forget they have just lost a pillar of support in their last coach Dav Whatmore, who has ostensibly moved on to greener pastures, coaching the Pakistan Cricket team. As they await a new person to guide them to further cricketing milestones, one can only hope that they grow and mature into a fine Test side. Its all about learning and even the world champions the Australians say that in cricket, you never stop learning!
The Bangla Tigers have to deliver that killer bite. For right now, they are toothless!! But the tests carry on!