Sports, Cricket

An eventful year for Bangladesh cricket

Published : 31 Dec 2019 08:16 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 08:52 PM
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The outgoing 2019 would visibly be remembered as an eventful year for Bangladesh cricket with incidents taking place in the field and off the field albeit most of those were unpleasant ones to those who love the game.

Bangladesh cricket saw its lowest ebb though there were occasional flashes of brilliance and memorable performances by some cricketers.

Morning shows the day : Bangladesh cricket marked the beginning of the year with the tour in New Zealand, which ended abruptly after a terrorists attack on two mosques of Christchurch. During the incident, Bangladesh cricketers were very close to one of the mosques and even some cricketers were just about to enter into there to offer their Friday prayers.

Fortunately for them a lady appeared at the scene to tell them about the attack that prevented them from being exposed to the deadly assault.

The panic gripped cricketers left New Zealand immediately but with a permanent scar in their mind, skipping the third Test. But before that they lost first two Tests by an innings margin after being peppered by a barrage of shorts by the Kiwi bowlers.

Ratio of success and failures : Bangladesh played 30 matches in this year across the format. If we count the success, it was all gloom. Bangladesh played five Test matches and lost all duly-four defeats came by an innings margin. 

Bangladesh played 18 ODIs and won just seven. The good thing is that they won their first trophy in a tournament involving more than two teams. That trophy came just ahead of the World Cup when Bangladesh played a tri-nation series in Ireland, which also involved West Indies.

Bangladesh beat West Indies to clinch the trophy and went to England with high hopes of sealing the semifinal berth in the World Cup.

They began with bang, beating South Africa and then also beat teams like West Indies and Afghanistan before experiencing a downhill spiral and eventually finished the cricket’s biggest extravaganza at eighth placed team. Bangladesh played seven T20s and won four, including a maiden win against India in Delhi.

Journey starts for world test championship : Even though Bangladesh often finds them in vulnerable state in the longer version format, they became the part of World Test Championship, introduced by International Cricket Council (ICC) this year.

With the two-match Test series against India in November, Bangladesh entered into this tournament. But sadly for them they lost two Test matches and languished at the bottom of the point table.

Historical day-night test : Bangladesh was supposed to play their first day-night Test in pink ball in their tour in New Zealand but they refused to play. However they entered into the unknown territory of pink-ball Test with their second Test against India. The second Test between the Bangladesh and India converted to day-night Test due to the keen desire of BCCI’s newly appointed president Sourav Ganguly.

Bangladesh however survived only two days and 47 minutes in the Test before conceding an innings and 46-run defeat. But the Test was held amid the fanfare as Ganguly invited many dignitaries including the players of Bangladesh’s maiden Test.

Ganguly started the journey of Indian captaincy when he led the team against Bangladesh in their inaugural Test in 2000.

Players’ strike : There was no indication that such things could happen. Players’ strike against BCB came at a moment when Bangladesh cricket was going through a lean phase following their Test defeat to Afghanistan and at the same time when the preparation for tough India series is set to start.

Led by Shakib Al Hasan, country’s first class cricketers called an indefinite strike to fulfill their 11-point demand. Later they added two more points to make it 13. For at least three days, all activities of cricket were stopped until BCB president Nazmul Hassan Papon came up with solution.

He however agreed to all of the demands of the players and asked them to return to the ground. Responding to his request, the players lifted the strike. After this revolt of the cricketers, the match fee for first-class cricketers was raised by 100 percent.

The cricketers who took part in the National Cricket League 2019 were paid the increased amount. At the same time, BCB increased the facilities available during the First Class matches.

BCB in turmoil : While the on field performance of the players were not up to the mark, the BCB also went through some bad experiences internally. One of the directors of BCB, Lokman Hossain Bhuiyan was arrested for unlawful possession of alcohol, during the country-wide drive against gambling and casino.

Lokman was the director-in-charge of country’s traditional and popular club Mohammedan Sporting Club from which RAB and Police also captured nine gambling decks, two roulette tables and other ingredients.

Apart from Lokman, other BCB director Mahbub Anam also summoned by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). Those two incidents were embarrassing for BCB.

Shakib banned by ICC

Unarguably the biggest shock of the country’s cricket experienced since their berth as a cricketing nation. The news of Shakib’s ban came a day after he successfully led the cricketers’ revolt against the BCB.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) found Shakib culpable of hiding the corrupt approaches to him by a bookie. That was not for just a single time, according to the version of ICC, Shakib didn’t report them for three times.

A whatsapp conversation between him and bookie Deepak Agarwal was captured by ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit in the last year and they dug deep into the matter to find Shakib guilty. Deepak Agarwal was a suspected bookie earlier and ICC always closely monitored him. According to ICC, Shakib was not directly involved in match-fixing or other corruptions but he was guilty of not informing ICC about his conversation with Agarwal.

Due to the ban, Shakib missed the first tour of Bangladesh to India for a full series.

Bangladesh’s first major trophy : Despite their repeated success in bilateral series, specially in ODI cricket, Bangladesh lacked a multinational trophy.

However the trophy draught ended in Ireland when the Irish hosted a tri-nation tournament ahead of the World Cup. West Indies was the third team of that tournament.

Bangladesh moved into the final in the double-leg tournament and beat West Indies in the final by five wickets to lift the trophy on May 17, 2019. Earlier, they lost six finals across the format of cricket but became lucky on seventh time.

Gold medal in SA games : In South Asian Games, Bangladesh men’s and women’s cricket team achieved gold, which is considered as a success. However the Bangladesh male team is formed with the Under-23 team but most of the players were the regular national players.

Women’s cricket was added for the first time in Games history. Both male and female team beat Sri Lanka in the final to clinch the gold.

Hero of the year : Shakib Al Hasan might find him being banned by ICC but he is the only reason for which Bangladesh cricket gets some cheering moment in an otherwise a pretty disappointing year.

The Bangladesh team failed miserably after having decent start in the cricket’s biggest extravaganza ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 but Shakib came up with dazzling performance to make it a tournament to remember.

In doing so he made a number of records. He struck two centuries and five half-centuries in eight matches. The one match in which he couldn’t pass 50, he made 41 runs. At the same time he took 11 wickets. Above all he scored 606 runs at a staggering average of 86.57.

By doing so, he became the only player in the World Cup’s history to have scored 500 plus runs and 10 plus wickets in a single edition of the tournament. His two centuries came against mighty England and West Indies. He also made the double of 5000 runs and 250 wickets in quickest time. But it’s not the end of the world for him. He is the first cricketer who took part in three consecutive World Cup as top ranked all-rounder.

He became the second Bangladeshi cricketer to score two consecutive centuries in World Cup after Mahmudullah. He became the first cricketer in the world who scored half-century in first match of his team in four World Cups in a row. 

He became the first Bangladeshi cricketer to score 1000 runs in world Cup. He became the second cricketer in the World Cup to score half-century and five wickets after Yuvraj Singh. He became the first Bangladeshi batsmen to score 600 plus runs in a single World Cup.

Find of the year : Young Naim Sheikh could be termed as the find of the year. Naim made him apparent amongst the youngsters who got chance to don the national colour this year. His defining moment came in the third T20 against India, when Bangladesh were fighting it out to clinch the three-match series.

As long as Naim was in the crease, there was hope that Bangladesh, without the service of Shakib Al Hasan, could beat India to clinch the series. But after his courageous 48-ball 81, including 10 fours and two sixes, Bangladesh fell like a pack of cards and eventually conceded 30-run defeat to loss the series.His also had two reasonable scores in first two T20s and thereby proved his consistency in his maiden series.