Bangladesh Cricket : The Rise of a New Powerhouse. Cricket is hugely popular in Bangladesh, with millions of passionate fans supporting the national team. After years of being viewed as minnows, Bangladesh cricket has risen rapidly over the past decade to become a force to be reckoned with in international cricket.
Bangladesh Cricket : The Rise of a New Powerhouse
The Beginning Years (2000-2007)
Bangladesh was granted Test status by the ICC in 2000 after years of campaigning and steady improvements in domestic cricket structures. They played their first Test match against India in November 2000. The early years were struggles, as Bangladesh lost most of their matches heavily and won only 3 out of 51 Tests between 2000-2007. Some of Bangladesh’s heavy losses included an innings defeat within 2 days against Sri Lanka and losing to Australia by an innings and 334 runs.
Their one-day international and T20 records were better during this period. Bangladesh caused a massive upset by beating Pakistan in 1999 World Cup and also reached the ICC Champions Trophy semi-finals in 2004. But overall, Bangladesh cricket lacked consistency and teams did not take them seriously.
The Rise Begins (2007 Onwards)
Things started changing for Bangladesh cricket in 2007. Under the captaincy of Mohammad Ashraful, Bangladesh secured their first Test and ODI series wins against Zimbabwe that year. This was followed by ODI series wins over New Zealand, West Indies and Ireland over the next two years.
Bangladesh announced themselves on the world stage when they knocked India out of the 2007 World Cup in the group stage. It was Bangladesh’s first win over India in 5 years and led to wild celebrations across the country.
The Giant Killing Continues (2010-2015)
The next few years saw Bangladesh become ‘giant killers’ in international cricket. They routinely defeated top teams in various tournaments, showing marked improvements in skills, fitness and overall professionalism.
Some of Bangladesh’s historic wins during this period include:
- 2011 World Cup win over England (their first over them in a World Cup)
- 2015 World Cup win over England (knocked them out of the tournament)
- 2014 Asia Cup win over India and Sri Lanka on way to the final
- 2015 ODI series wins over Pakistan, India and South Africa
- Reached the quarterfinals of 2011 and 2015 World Cups, demonstrating consistency
- Beat Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, Zimbabwe and Pakistan in Tests/ODIs at home and away
These wins proved Bangladesh were not pushovers anymore and could challenge the best teams. Players like Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mashrafe Mortaza became heroes with their consistent performances.
Test Status Secured (2016-2019)
Bangladesh continued their ascendancy in international cricket by putting up impressive performances in Tests. Some highlights:
- In 2016, they drew a Test series in Sri Lanka, the first time they avoided defeat there.
- Later in 2016, they registered their first ever Test win over England.
- In 2017, they enjoyed their first ever Test series win over Sri Lanka.
- In 2019, they registered a record chase of 322 runs to defeat the West Indies in Tests.
- Also in 2019, they registered their first Test win over South Africa.
These results demonstrated Bangladesh were now a respectable Test side, capable of competing with top teams. After years of struggling, they finally secured their Test status through consistent performances.
Recent Success (2019 Onwards)
Bangladesh has continued to grow in strength in recent years. Under captains like Shakib Al Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza and Mominul Haque, the team has achieved several benchmarks:
- Won an ODI series against Sri Lanka and West Indies in 2019
- Reached T20 World Cup second round in 2021
- Won first Test match against New Zealand in early 2022
- Won ODI series against India and Afghanistan in 2022
- Qualified for 2023 ODI World Cup Super League by securing ODI status
- Currently ranked 6th in ODIs and 9th in Tests as of 2023
Bangladesh cricket has clearly come a long way over the past 20 years. From being international whipping boys, they are now a tough nut to crack for any opponent. With a strong domestic structure and talented core of players, Bangladesh is set to achieve further success in the future.
Key Reasons for Bangladesh Cricket Rise
There are several factors that led to the rise of Bangladesh cricket over the years:
Improved Domestic Cricket Structure
The BCB invested heavily in improving grassroots cricket and domestic tournaments. The Bangladesh Premier League was launched in 2011 which gave local players high-quality T20 cricket exposure. The National Cricket League (multi-day tournament) and Dhaka Premier League also helped shape talents like Shakib, Tamim and Mushfiqur.
Generation of Talented Players
After years of struggle, a golden generation of Bangladeshi cricketers emerged from late 2000s. Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Mashrafe Mortaza were all world-class players and formed the backbone of the team. They brought consistency to Bangladesh’s performances.
Increase in Professionalism
Bangladesh cricket improved vastly in fitness, fielding and overall professional attitude starting late 2000s. This was crucial as Bangladesh frequently lost matches from winning positions earlier due to lapses in concentration. Their fielding is now on par with top teams.
Success in Home Conditions
Bangladesh utilized home advantage better by preparing spin-friendly wickets and conditions suited to their players. Giant killings of England and South Africa came at home. Fortress Bangladesh became tough for top teams.
Self-Belief After 2007 World Cup
The 2007 World Cup win over India gave Bangladeshi players the belief that they can compete with the best. It inspired great performances over the next decade. Bangladesh became a tight-knit and fearless unit from being a divided team.
Transition to Performance Focus
Captains like Shakib Al Hasan focused on achieving consistent winning performances rather than just competing respectably. Younger players were also more ambitious and confident of doing well. This shifted Bangladesh’s focus from development to performance excellence.
One Area Still Needing Improvement
Despite Bangladesh’s impressive progress, their performance in overseas Test matches remains a concern. They are yet to win a Test match in Australia, South Africa, West Indies or New Zealand. Adapting to foreign conditions remains Bangladesh cricket’s final frontier. However, the team has the right talents to overcome this too and can draw inspiration from their monumental rise over two decades.
Key Players Who Drove Bangladesh’s Rise
Many talented Bangladeshi cricketers emerged over the years who made the rise of Bangladesh cricket possible through their brilliant performances. Some all-time greats include:
- Shakib Al Hasan – No.1 ranked all-rounder in Tests and ODIs at various times. 5000+ runs and 500+ wickets in both formats. Captained Bangladesh at 2019 World Cup.
- Tamim Iqbal – Bangladesh’s leading run scorer in Tests and ODIs. Aggressive opening batsman. Has 25 ODI and 9 Test centuries.
- Mushfiqur Rahim – Wicketkeeper-batsman and former captain. Bangladesh’s most successful wicketkeeper. Scored first double century by a Bangladeshi in Tests.
- Mashrafe Mortaza – Former ODI captain and pace spearhead. Bangladesh’s leading ODI wicket taker with over 250 wickets.
- Mahmudullah – Elegant batsman and handy off-spin bowler. Scored Bangladesh’s first World Cup century. Vice captain.
- Shakib Al Hasan – Known for his batting, left-arm spin and leadership. First Bangladesh player in ICC’s Test and ODI Teams of the Year.
- Mustafizur Rahman – Pace bowling star who emerged in 2015. With his swinging deliveries, he has picked over 175 international wickets.
- Taskin Ahmed – Fast bowler capable of bowling over 140 kph consistently. Youngest player to take 5-wicket haul for Bangladesh.
- Litton Das – Skilled top order batsman who scored Bangladesh’s fastest ODI century. Future leader.
- Mehidy Hasan – Off-spin all-rounder and partnership breaker with over 100 international wickets. Handy lower order batsman.
These players laid the platform for Bangladesh’s rise with their world-class performances over the years. Their talent, resilience and self-belief allowed Bangladesh cricket to shake off ‘minnows’ tag.
The future continues to look bright for Bangladesh cricket as more young talents keep emerging from domestic cricket. Under the coaching of Russell Domingo, Bangladesh has its eyes set on the 2023 World Cup. Some things going for them are:
- Participation in the ODI Super League which gives lot of international match experience
- Strong bench strength with talents like Yasir Ali waiting in the wings
- Good blend of youth and experience in the current team
- Spin and batting remain core strengths
- Plan to improve fast bowling resources
- Succession plan in place when senior players like Shakib, Tamim retire
- Full membership and growing finances due to Bangladesh’s rise as a cricket power
If Bangladesh can improve their overseas Test record and remain consistent, there is no reason why they cannot be ranked among the top 5 teams in the world soon across formats.
Bangladesh’s rise in international cricket over the past 15 years has been nothing short of extraordinary. They have shed the minnows tag to become a dangerous opponent capable of beating any team on a given day. While challenges remain, Bangladesh cricket is clearly headed in the right direction through the hard work of players, coaches and administrators. Their giant-killing days may just be the beginning of more glory in the coming years.