Bangladesh still have a long way to go in Test cricket despite win against England
The culture of Bangladesh is an intriguing one. As a Bangladeshi myself, I can attest to the fact that we just love being over-zealous about issues that people in the west don’t even care about. For instance, a marriage ceremony here is flooded with thousands of people, some of whom the bride and groom would never even see for the rest of their lives.
Marriage ceremonies are just one of the very few examples that could be listed here. Be it any festival, people just love celebrating pompously—even when some ceremonies don’t warrant such a reaction.
One such instance could be found in the deepest and darkest portion of every Bangladesh cricket team’s fan’s memory. With just 6 runs needed from the last four balls, Mushfiqur Rahim smacked a boundary to make it two from the last three. He was already jubilant, waving his fist in the air; it was as though Bangladesh had already won this contest against India.
The next three balls became a heartbreak that etched itself on the shattered walls of every fans’ mind. Two wickets and a dot ball sealed India’s win; Mushiqur Rahim’s premature celebration became the topic of much mockery.
However, one can’t really blame the Test captain for this. As Bangladeshis, it is in our very DNA to be impulsive, to provide an over-exuberant reaction to a stimuli. At times, it looks great, like a little child speaking like an adult. However, after a while, that child becomes exasperating for the very thing that once made him cute.
The Bangladesh cricket team is no longer a baby. They have risen out of the shadows to forge themselves as one of the major cricketing power in the world. Once upon a time, playing Bangladesh was an exercise meant for the purpose of morale boosting. Now, however, they can break the spirit of even the finest.
And this is something that the opposition, teams and fans alike, find difficult to accept. The team that once equated to a punching bag now throws in the knock-out blow themselves. At first, they were reluctant to accept it, labelling it an elaborated fluke that stayed limited to the 50-over version of the game.
However, cricket enthusiasts are slowly beginning to accept it: The Tigers are starting to roar.
Test cricket has always been the benchmark for quality. If a team is good in Tests, they are genuinely good at playing the game. Even though Bangladesh’s recent performances in One Day internationals have been great, Tests was where they really wanted to get going.
And it seems as though the foundation has been laid; but it is only just that: a foundation.
At Mirpur Shere Bangla Stadium, the Bangladesh cricket team made history. For the first ever, the Tigers beat the Lions in a Test match and the celebrations were nothing short of ecstatic. Fans and players alike are in a state of jubilance and, to be fair to them, they have the right to be.
However, the Bangladesh cricket team still have a long way to go before becoming a stable threat in Test cricket. Even though they came close to beating England in the first Test as well, it could easily be argued that the mentality of the players is not quite up there to absorb the pressure that Test cricket exudes.
A step in the right direction for Bangladesh cricket
At the risk of being labelled as a skeptical party-pooper, this Test triumph should be seen as nothing more than a stepping stone for greater achievements. For one, winning at home is a good start, but it shouldn’t be forgotten than the pitch was tailor-made for the team to succeed.
One can’t remember the last time a team went into a Test match with only one pacer and yet give the feeling that it was unnecessary to have one. The fact that England didn’t have quality spinners like Graeme Swann played into Bangladesh’s favour.
Against teams with world class spinners, Bangladesh would find it incredibly hard to cope—even in home conditions. Hence, the jury is still out when it comes to discussing the adaptability of the team.
However, the main barrier that the team will face is the mental one. In the first ODI against England, Bangladesh had the game by the scruff of the neck but blew it away at the very end. Similarly, in the first Test, Bangladesh lost marginally in a game that was won by the team with a superior playing mentality.
All of Bangladesh should be celebrating this historic win today. However, lingering too long over it would result in a loss of focus due to its premature status—just ask Mushfiqur Rahim. There are still a lot of areas that the team could strengthen on. Hence, channeling the energy more towards that would be an advice that coach Hathurasingha should impart to his disciples.