I just finished watching the record breaking opening stand of 415 runs between Graem Smith and Neil McKenzie during the second test between Bangladesh and S.Africa. The record definitely was a boon to Graem Smith who didn’t have a very good run in the recent past. And for a mediocre test cricketer like Neil McKenzie, a double ton – and only third century in 44 matches – assisted by poor bowling & fielding, pancake flat pitch and fast outfield was more than winning the super lotto!
Bangladesh had their downs and some ups in the limited over cricket arena. Their ex-couch, Dave Whatmore, groomed a better fielding side comprising of a bunch of aggressive youngsters with some batting and bowling abilities, during his stint as the national coach. His success as a coach included Bangladesh handing an unexpected blow to the Indian team during their first round exit from last world cup. However, what even Mr. Whatmore could not do is to turn around their fortunes in the longer format of the game.
Since Bangladesh got into the test playing nations’ league in 2000, they have played 53 matches and managed to win only one against an ever weakening Zimbabwe side. Not winning is still acceptable for a budding test side, but not having no more than five draws out of 50 plus matches shows how weak this test side is. Other teams like Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe had put together a better show and steady improvement after they qualified to play test matches 15-20 years back. But Bangladesh doesn’t seem to get their act together at all despite having a couple of good bowlers and a good attacking batsman in the form of Mohammed Ashraful.
It is high time ICC looked into this matter and disqualified Bangladesh from playing test matches. Otherwise the Bangladesh board themself should step down from the league like the example set by Zimbabwe last year. The other option is to have two different test leagues. The first division league consisting of Australia, England, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, West Indies and a second division league having Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Kenya etc. As and when the quality of their cricket improves they can qualify to play the first division or premier league. If not, it will only help certain modern day batsmen to pile up records against weaker nations!