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গোপালগঞ্জের নিজড়ার ইউপি চেয়ারম্যান পদে আওয়ামী লীগের মনোনয়ন প্রত্যাশীদের আমলনামা বিশ্ব শান্তির বিরল মূহুর্ত এবং একটি জন্ম “শহীদ জিয়া বাংলাদেশ স্বাধীনতার প্রতীক”-জাহিদ এফ সরদার সাদী কমলাপুর স্টেশন ভাঙার অনুমোদন দিলো প্রধানমন্ত্রীর কার্যালয় ভূঞাপুরে চার ভোটারের কব্জি ও আঙুল কেটে ফেলল প্রতিপক্ষ সরকার শীতার্তদের জন্য কিছুই করেনি : রিজভী লক্ষ্মীপুরে ভোটকেন্দ্রের সামনে গোলাগুলি, আহত ১২ “মার্কিন পররাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রী এ্যান্টনি ব্লিংকেনের সঙ্গে জাহিদ এফ সরদার সাদী’র সৌজন্য সাক্ষাৎ” ধর্মীয় সংগঠনের সঙ্গে ছাত্র ইউনিয়নের আঁতাত, ৩ নেতার পদত্যাগ নুসরাত হত্যার নির্দেশদাতার দায় স্বীকার অধ্যক্ষ সিরাজের

Can BCB stop the vicious cycle?

dailybanglatimes.com

The second ODI against West Indies started in the early hours today, and there is at least a fifty per cent chance that, by the time this reaches the reader, Bangladesh clinched a very creditable series win over West Indies with one match still to be played. On the other hand Bangladesh could have lost and then may go on to lose the third ODI and the series on July 28.

However, whatever outcome transpires in the ODI series, it has very little to do with the embarrassment that preceded it when Bangladesh abjectly lost the two-Test series against West Indies — the nadir in a series of six successive innings where the team failed to cross 200 dating back to the second Test against Sri Lanka at home in February.

It is all the more important to talk about the Test debacle while it is still fresh because if a much-transformed Bangladesh win the series today or on Friday, then a longer-version culture on life support will be left neglected till the potential steroid shot that will likely be the home series against Zimbabwe in October, the Tigers’ next Test assignment. That is what happened when, after a disastrous tour of South Africa late last year followed by home embarrassments in all three formats at the hands of Sri Lanka this year, all was forgotten when the players reached the final in the T20 Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka.

In the aftermath of the Test thrashing at the hands of West Indies, who were ranked a place lower than Bangladesh when the series started, typical lip service from the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) emerged in the media. Officials said that players would not be allowed to play Test cricket unless they participated in domestic longer-version cricket. That was coupled with the BCB president Nazmul Hassan’s hometown ramblings that the senior players did not want to play Test cricket, while in the same breath saying that none of them told him so.

It is a frustrating vicious cycle perpetuated by the BCB that condemns the national team and its fans to one Test failure after another. In December 2017, before the final round of the four-day National Cricket League (NCL) started, there was similar lip service about national Test players needing to play the domestic game.

Chief selector Minhajul Abedin had then said that the instruction had ‘been given to every national player to appear in the last round of NCL’. It says much about the seriousness of that ‘instruction’ that on the night before their last-round match, Khulna skipper Abdur Razzak did not know whether Test skipper Shakib Al Hasan would show up. He did not. Test vice-captain Mahmudullah Riyad was supposedly already on vacation in Bangkok when he received the instruction and phoned in his unavailability. Neither Shakib nor Mahmudullah were sanctioned.

Tamim Iqbal and Shakib have played nine and two domestic first-class games respectively since 2011. The two other seniors Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim have played 15 and 13 respectively between 2011 and the 2016/17 season, but have played just two domestic longer-version matches each since.

But there is little blame that can be put on the players mentioned as the culture they operate within treats the oldest form of the game like teenagers would a geriatric uncle. BCB media committee chairman Jalal Yunus recently told AFP of the board’s latest intention to implement what he said was a ‘long-standing policy’ of domestic longer-version appearances being a prerequisite for Test selection, which they had shown a ‘soft attitude’ towards and that ‘now we will follow the policy strictly’.

It is no surprise that when faced with the need to grind and tough it out in situations not tailor-made for them, even the country’s best flounder. The adage that there is no practice like match practice really holds true when one looks at which formats the Tigers are improving in. Everyone plays the 50-over Dhaka Premier League — which is a sacred tournament because of the clout the clubs hold within the board — and the cash-rich T20 Bangladesh Premier League, a month-long tournament that the BCB starts organising six months in advance. Meanwhile, the longer-version NCL and the Bangladesh Cricket League often suffer from being scheduled during the rainy season, skipped editions and poor national player attendance.

While there is no evidence to support Hassan’s words that the seniors do not want to play Tests, it would be hard to imagine that they enjoy it more than the limited-overs formats because their well-earned reputations repeatedly take a hammering at the highest level. It is easy to say that they do not want to play, but the fact is that the policies and actions of the body that governs the game in the country give them little reason or avenue to hone longer-version skills at the domestic level.

During the first ODI on Sunday which Bangladesh won by 48 runs, West Indian commentators were wondering, having presumably read the BCB boss’s words, why it is such a Jekyll and Hyde situation between Test and ODIs. The best person to ask would be Hassan himself.

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