Bangladesh’s abysmal Test record is well documented, and widely cited as a legitimate reason for revocation of their Test status.
The lure of a potential influx of new playing nations may help Bangladesh salvage their Test status with better suited opposition, but they must weigh their interest in maintaining their Test status now, against their integrity of temporarily giving it up for long term gains.
Their stagnant progress and ineptitude with bat and ball has been consistent, due to a mixture of their own failings, but of course also due to the sheer enormity of the gap between them, and ‘the rest’. In statistical terms, they have nearly always been on the losing or drawing side in Test cricket.
Of course, someone usually has to lose a contest, but the cold hard fact is that since their inaugural Test in 2002, Bangladesh have been victorious in four Tests out of 84. When considering that out of the four wins, two were against a desecrated West Indies second string XI, and two were against a weak Zimbabwe side, the relative importance of those four wins, are relatively minor.
Yet In ODI cricket, Bangladesh have had more success, and really, ideally, should be building on this, instead of being continuously trounced in whites.
They have won 80 out of 276 ODIs, and have a stronger sense of how to win in the format. A key factor in this, is the fact that they have played against 17 sides in total in limited overs cricket, compared to the 10 purely Test playing nations, and this does not even include sides such as Afghanistan or Nepal, which are strong emerging nations.
Out of the 80 ODIs that Bangladesh have won, the vast majority of victories have been against the lower ranked Test sides or non Test playing associate and affiliate nations. For example, against Zimbabwe, 31 out of 59 ODIs have been won, in addition to 15 victories against the West Indies and New Zealand.
Against non Test playing nations, there have been 22 victories which leaves only 12 victories against the top six Test playing nations, in ODI cricket.
It could not be more plain and simple. They are able to compete against lower ranked sides, because they are of a similar skill level.
They have never had a meaningful victory in a Test match, but they have a chance in coloured kits.
It must be devastating and uninspiring for young Bangladeshi fans and potential stars of the future, to see your side so paralysed with losses.
It’s time to do something about this.
The ICC, and the Bangladeshi Cricket Board must now be seriously consider the position. Bangladesh are stuck in a perpetual and static position of losing, with the faint hope of having more competitive opposition in the near future.
But, they need to decide whether they wait for others to reach their standard, or they move to a different position. It might be too long to wait for Test nations to created, so they may have to go towards the prize, by making themselves a ODI and T20-I only side.
It may be a bitter pill, but it is possibly a backward step, with prospects of returning to Test cricket in the near future, in a one step back two steps forward approach.
They not only need to play greater amounts of competitive and meaningful cricket, but through doing this, they will produce a more positive and realistic approach. Ambition will be given context, and hopefully a legacy can start to be built up more strongly.
Through playing a more fitting opposition in a more hospitable format, that will be inducive to a more positive outlook.
When Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996, or when India won the World cup in 1983, they ignited a long term relationship between not ‘just’ their country, their fans and cricket, but a love of One Day cricket in particular. They were the biggest upsets in limited overs cricket, and it quickly became apparent that ODI cricket was no longer a drab footnote on Test cricket’s behind, but it was a platform where a team could have an impact.
India has millions of adoring cricket fans that flock to ODI matches, and undoubtably, the 150 Million Bangladeshi fans would do the same, if there was greater likelihood of them winning.
Being continuously thrashed makes a side numb with pain, almost blinding as to why. They need to play more competitive cricket, and now. Cricket they can win, and cricket in which there is something to play for.
It would seam the best long term option, with the view of playing Test cricket again in the future, is for them go to their new opposition, instead of waiting for them.
They need a break from Tests, and to reassess their own skill levels against less proficient opposition.