Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Nazmul Hassan has added fuel to the increasing debate surrounding the feasibility of Test cricket. Insisting that the traditional format of the game is declining in interest across all levels, he also lamented the attitude of senior Bangladesh players towards Tests.
Nazmul Hassan claimed, "Even in the ICC, I don't see any other country other than England and Australia showing interest to play Tests. As a board, they are not interested in Tests. The broadcasters are also not interested. They say they don't have any interest where there is no audience."
He added, "We are seeing in our country that some of our senior players don't want to play Test cricket. Shakib doesn't want to play Tests. Mustafiz also doesn't want to play but he hasn't mentioned it. He wants it to a point. Maybe since he is injury-prone, he feels he will get injured playing Tests. Maybe they feel Test cricket is quite tough, say for someone like Rubel. Bringing in younger players is our only option."
Shakib, who has had multiple stints as captain, created an uproar last year when he skipped the two-Test series in South Africa. Citing heavy workload, he had personally requested BCB to not consider him for Test cricket over a six-month period. The board complied to his request.
In Shakib's absence, Bangladesh suffered defeats by margins of 333 runs and innings & 254 runs on South African soil. Despite his indifferent approach to Tests, the star all-rounder took over the captaincy from Mushfiqur Rahim.
Bangladesh's lack of ability outside Asia was further exposed during the recently completed two-Test series in the Caribbean. Despite Shakib returning to lead the team, they were pummelled by margins of innings & 219 runs and 166 runs. The slew of hefty defeats has forced BCB to consider younger and format-specific alternatives.
Hassan affirmed, "We have to form a new set-up for Tests. I have been saying it for the last four years. We must have three or four players in common, all the international teams are doing this. Everyone has specialist T20 and Test players."
Bangladesh's next assignment will be the three-match ODI series against West Indies. The visitors will be buoyed by the availability of 50-overs captain Mashrafe Mortaza who has rejoined the squad after tending to his ill wife.