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Despite 24 years as Full Member, Bangladesh continue to struggle against top sides: What ails them?

Why Bangladesh continue to struggle against the Top sides in ICC tournaments despite getting Full Member nation affiliation 24 years ago? Let's find out the reasons.


T20 World Cup 2024: Shakib Al Hasan has played all the edition of T20 World Cup for Bangladesh | Walking Wicket (Source: ©X/Twitter)
Shakib has played all editions of T20 WC for Bangladesh (Source: ©X/Twitter)

June 26, 2000 was a landmark date in Bangladesh cricket. It was on this date Bangladesh were granted full ICC membership status. Cut to June 21, 2024, Bangladesh are still finding their foothold in international cricket across all formats. These 24 years have seen a lot of ups and downs in Bangladesh cricket. While there has been odd success, it has been mostly disappointing failures and whitewashes. 


In ICC events as well, Bangladesh have not tasted any success in senior men’s cricket. They are yet to win an ICC trophy and often struggle to move to the knockout rounds. In the 2021 and 2022 World T20 editions, Bangladesh have been knocked out in the Super 12 stage itself. Their records in previous World T20s have been on similar lines. 


The on-going T20 World Cup 2024 could script the same story for Bangladesh after they lost their first match against Australia in the Super Eights. They face a must-win situation against India on June 22. Bangladesh have competed well against India in T20Is at least, but India’s rich form could see the ‘Men In Blue’ sail past them.


Despite 24 years in international cricket, Bangladesh are yet to compete in all three formats of the game. So, what ails Bangladesh?


Nurturing young players have been a struggle

It’s not true that Bangladesh lack talent, but nurturing that talent and developing them into world-class cricketers has been a challenge. A few talented cricketers such as Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Ashraful failed to sustain an international career due to various reasons.

 

Tamim could have done even better than his 15,000+ international runs before calling time on his career and then revoking his retirement. Ashraful fell to match-fixing and could have been handled and guided better to stay away from such distractions. 


Another talented all-rounder Mehidy Hasan Miraz could not be the same force in T20Is as he was in Tests and ODIs, and is not even in the 2024 World T20 squad. This lack of nurturing young talented players saw instability creep into the Bangladesh ranks as players were in and out of the team, leading to collective failures. 



Bangladesh v India, First ODI, Top Performances_ Mehidy Hasan Miraz gets player of the match for 38_ (39) & 1_43 against India at Mirpur _ Walking Wicket (Source_ ©ICC/Twitter)
Mehidy Hasan Miraz is a bright prospect for Bangladesh (Source: ©ICC/Twitter)
Captaincy – a game of musical chairs

Bangladesh have been guilty of not being able to mould a captain who could be a leader of the group. The constant change of captains has done the team more harm than good. Also, Bangladesh have not put faith in young players with leadership roles, falling back repeatedly on experienced campaigners such as Shakib Al Hasan to lead the team. 


Shakib has not been given the long rope either. The captaincy has changed numerous hands from Tamim, Ashraful, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah and Mashrafe Mortaza over the years. A team which has a leader who could lose his job anytime does no good to the overall morale of the team. 


The way forward for Bangladesh Cricket


Bangladesh need to raise their standards

Besides nurturing young talent, Bangladesh need to lift their overall standards of cricket at the domestic level. Unless they have a competition that requires a high level skill set, temperament and cricketing knowledge, Bangladesh would struggle to produce world-class players. 


There might be few exceptions in Shakib and Mustafizur Rahman who ply their trade in the highly competitive IPL. But otherwise, there are hardly any players from Bangladesh who could enter the IPL auctions. 


The Bangladesh Premier League is a good start where local players rub shoulders with international cricketers. But Bangladesh need to do a lot more in improving the cricketing infrastructure, training and domestic cricket standards to produce world-class players.



Build teams for different formats

The time has come for international teams to have separate squads for all the three formats of the game, and even captains. Australia and England are following this pattern with great success. 


Australia’s Test and ODI captain Pat Cummins plays under the leadership of Mitchell Marsh in T20Is. While England’s limited-overs captain Jos Buttler plays under Ben Stokes in Tests. Aussie star Steven Smith does not even find a place in the T20I squad, while star all-rounder Marcus Stoinis is not considered for Test selection. 


This horses-for-courses policy has served well for Australia and England, helping them win series and ICC titles. Bangladesh could adopt a similar policy where they identify talent and ability suited best for a particular format, grouping and honing them accordingly. This will give them more clarity and purpose when they approach different formats of the game.


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