2019 to remain as an eventful year for Bangladesh cricket

DHAKA 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.

National news agency BSS intends to look back on 2019, a year when Bangladesh cricket struggled to keep its identity with the new decade knocking the door.

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. At the start of the year, Bangladesh played two Test matches against the New Zealand and lost those by innings margin.

At the end of the year, they lost two Test matches against India, also lost by innings margin including one in their maiden pink-ball Test.

In the middle of the year, they lost the one-off Test against Afghanistan and that too after failing to survive just one hour in rain-curtailed game. The defeat was seen as the lowest ebb of the country's cricket.

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, that 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.

HUGE OVERHAUL IN COACHING SET UP

Bangladesh brought up sweeping changes to their coaching staffs, responding to the failure of World Cup. Head coach Steve Rhodes were sacked along with fast bowling coach Courtney Walsh, spin bowling coach Sunil Joshi, physio Thihan Chandromohan.

South African Russell Domingo was named new head coach while Charl Langeveldt replaced Walsh. Daniel Vettori was announced as new spin bowling coach while South African Julian Calfato was appointed as new physio. Charl Langeveldt however was released later as he joined South African national team as bowling coach.

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.

Like Bangladesh, India also had reservation about day-night Test but Ganguly, the former India skipper, convinced both India and Bangladesh to play the pink-ball Test.

The Test was held in Ganguly's home town Kolkata's historical Eden Gardens. The match was the 12th pink-ball Test in the cricket history with both Bangladesh and India playing their first.

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.

Ganguly and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, which the Bangladeshi premier gleefully accepted. Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the pink-ball Test, which was also the sub-continent's first ever day-night Test, ringing Eden's historical bell.

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.

And judging the extent of the matter, they banned Shakib for two years, with one year of that suspended. If Shakib do the things according to the ICC's rules and regulation in this one year, he would be eligible to comeback in cricket on October 29, 2020. Shakib's suspension came at a moment when Bangladesh was preparing for a tough tour in India.

Following his suspension, ICC axed him from all kind of rankings and other activities of ICC. And therefore Shakib's name is not in any kind of ICC ranking at this moment. Shakib accepted the sanction and expressed his desire to bounce back stronger once the ban is lifted.

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.

BPL DEDICATED TO BANGABANDHU

This year Bangladesh cricket saw two seasons of BPL. The sixth season of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) was originally scheduled to take place in November-December 2018, but had to be rescheduled for January due to the national election.

Comilla Victorians lifted the trophy, thanks to a rollicking ton of Tamim Iqbal. Players like AB de Villiers, Steve Smith, David Warner took part in the BPL for the first time in BPL-6, which was good for the league to draw the attention of the global audience. Towards the end of the year, the 7th season of BPL was rebranded as the Bangabandhu BPL to celebrate the birth centennial of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

This special edition of BPL was solely organized by the BCB as they didn't include any old franchisees. Seven directors of BCB took the onus of seven team, sponsored by different companies of the countries.

The special edition of the BPL is going on with foreign starts like Chris Gayle, Hashim Amla, Dawid Maln, Kesrick Williams, Shane Watson igniting the country's sky.

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.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)