long awaited moment finally came. The clock read 12:56pm.
The calendar read Monday, 10th of January, 2005. Finally,
Bangladesh registered their first ever win in test cricket.
It was 10th of November, 2000 when Bangladesh, the youngest
among the 10 test playing countries, played their first test
match against the neighbouring India. Four long years and
two months went by before Bangladesh could grab the long eluding
victory on January 10 at MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong. The
entire country burst into celebration the cricket crazy Bangladeshis
finally got something to rejoice about.
been a gruelling journey -- from entry into the test fold
to the maiden test victory. When the euphoria over getting
test status started to fade as Bangladesh's performance in
both small and longer version showed little improvement, the
win against Zimbabwe gives them the long-awaited taste of
beating an opponent. Its test record, especially, was getting
horrific with every match; whoever the opponent was Bangladesh
seemed doomed to suffer an innings defeat. At one stage there
were even apprehensions that Bangladesh's test status might
be withdrawn. Among 34 test matches Bangladesh have played
since November, 2000, Bangladesh's best performance was three
draws, that too with the assistance of rains, while losing
the remaining 31.
performance however showed a little upward year. Cynics, however,
tried to spoil the party by alluding to the absence of some
key white players in the touring Zimbabwe team, meaning the
team did not have its full strength, which allowed Bangladesh
to sneak in a victory. They may have a point but in the end
a win is a win and opponent's failure to bring their best
side cannot nullify the accomplishment.
Bangladesh it was the total team effort that made the difference.
Instances of brilliant individual performances in the past
have been many like that of Ashraful's fantastic century against
Sri Lanka (Ashraful had his name written in the record book
as the youngest batsman to hit a test century), Rafique's
6 wicket haul against Pakistan or Pilot's three stunning catches
behind the wicket. But those individual brilliant performances
could not be transformed, so as to turn them into the team's
success. The present members of the national team have been
together for about a couple of years now and they have developed
a good understanding among themselves and have better communication
than it were possible with frequent changes in the composition
of the team. As most of the players are young they gelled
very well and developed into one cohesive unit.
Bangladesh don't do well in all three departments--that is
bowling, batting and fielding. Very often we have seen a good
batting display getting spoilt by erratic bowling and disciplined
bowling being wasted by sloppy fielding. This time around
Bangladesh did better in all three categories. Dr. Nizamuddin
Ahmed, former sports editor of The Daily Star and an elected
BCB director, believes that the key factor to this success
was good batting. "Bangladesh's bowling is usually good,
but the batting often falters", he says. "This time
Bangladesh made a big score in their first innings which put
Zimbabwe under tremendous pressure from which they never recovered".
Dr. Ahmede is also a key figure who on behalf of BCB made
the crucial presentation before the ICC (International Cricket
Council) asking permission for one-day status in 1997. In
2000 Ahmed was also the one who made the presentation pleadingfor
Bangladesh's test status.
to the test victory, of former captains of the Bangladesh
National team, its coach and former BCB president give an
encouraging scenario for Bangladesh's cricket future.
Naimur Rahman Durjoy was the captain in the first test match
Bangladesh played. The date was 10th of November, 2000. After
more than four years as Bangladesh register their first ever
test victory, Durjoy is no longer in the team. Though his
international career seems to be over, Durjoy is still playing
for one of the most popular clubs of the county, Abahani.
On that historic day, Abahani was playing a match at BKSP.
Durjoy was sitting in the dressing room and watching his team's
progress. But when Bangladesh was nearing what would be a
sure shot victory he found it hard to keep his concentration
in his own match and started to make frequent visits to the
television room. "As I saw the last few moments I was
overwhelmed with a sense of great happiness. I have been waiting
for this moment since we played our first test match in November,
2000," he says. Durjoy believes the win was due to total
team effort where everybody contributed.
turning point, says the former captain, of the match was the
big score of the first innings and the first three wickets
of Zimbabwe's second innings that fell towards the afternoon
session of the fourth day. He also gives credit to the team
management. "There was a plan, and right from the beginning
they stuck to that plan," he points out. He is very hopeful
that Bangladesh will repeat their good work in the Dhaka test
too and win the series.
Under the guise of a rather un-player like bulky physique
and lazy posture Akram Khan is unarguably one of the most
hard-hitting batsmen Bangladesh have ever produced. He captained
the national side when Bangladesh won the ICC championship
and subsequently earned the one-day status.
the former national captain is asked about his feelings at
the Bangladesh's maiden test victory, he struggles for a few
moments before finally speaking out. "I don't know how
to best express my feelings. I felt extremely excited, it
was absolutely fantastic. Bangladesh, which is often referred
to as a country of poverty, corruption and natural calamities
by the outside world, is now being respected for their cricketing
prowess," he says.
doesn't think this victory was unexpected. Bangladesh deserved
the win. "Bangladesh have been playing well for the last
couple of months. Especially against a strong side like India,
Bangladeshi players played with great confidence. They put
up a good fight in the test matches and they not only won
a one-dayer, but gave India a really hard time. So this win
was very much expected and the result of consistent good performance,"
he observes. Akram expressed his appreciation of the players,
management, control board people as well as those who had
been associated with cricket in the capacity of players, coaches,
organisers etc. since our independence. "Because, our
cricket has reached this stage passing through a lot of ups
and downs and whatever we have achieved today could not be
achieved if everyone did not do their bit," he says.
Another former captain of the national team Nannu, a right
hand batsman and an occasional slow medium pacer, has these
words to say: " It is an extraordinary feeling, I don't
know how to translate them into words." One of the finest
batsmen we have ever had Nannu was a proud member of the Bangladesh
team that in their maiden World Cup appearance beat a much
regrets not being able to make it to the stadium as he had
a Premier League match on the fifth day of the first test
match. He, however, kept himself updated about the match while
doing the fielding. "We badly needed this victory. The
way our national team has been losing matches one after another
the morale of the national players has been very low. They
were not being able to play five days and losing badly within
three days. Things became so bad that people both at home
and abroad were raising questions about the justification
of awarding Bangladesh test status. This victory will certainly
dispel that derogatory attitude towards Bangladesh's capability,"
believes the present team is very well organised. "The
real strength of the team is the team spirit. Our players
have gelled well and it's not eleven individuals that are
playing but one team, the Bangladesh team, that is playing
now," identifies the key factor to Bangladesh's success.
A fine batsman and an occasional spin bowler Gazi Ashraf Lipu
is often believed to be the shrewdest skipper Bangladesh national
team has ever played under. "I am extremely happy at
this win. Our boys have shown in Chittagong that if we keep
faith in them they won't disappoint us," he says.
what the secret behind this win of Bangladesh is, Lipu echoes
Akram's views. "Bangladesh have been playing well in
the recent months, especially in the last three outings in
Australia, Pakistan and West Indies. The win against Zimbabwe
is just the continuation of that good performance," he
victory has done a world of good to the national team. "A
win makes one believe in his ability and I have no doubt that
after this win Bangladesh is a better team now," Lipu
Dave Whatmore, the national team coach, is a relieved man
now. Regarded as one of the craftiest men in the business
of coaching, Whatmore's appointment in 2003 created quite
a buzz. But things didn't work out at least as good as many
of the cricket followers would have loved to see. Dave, whose
two years contract is scheduled to expire soon, has himself
been in a not so comfy position. For Whatmore the win could
not have come at a better time.
am extremely satisfied," he says. "Each of the players
has done his best to earn the victory." He, however,
has reserved a special mention for the spin wizard Enamul
Haque Jr. "Enamul is the find of the series. He is a
talented spinner and an able partner of the veteran spinner,
Md Rafique," he says. Team spirit, he believes, is what
differentiated Bangladesh's performance in that particular
match. He is also full of praises about Bashar's captaincy.
"He has led the team very well. I have a good understanding
with him, while he also enjoys full confidence of his team
mates. He is very considerate to all and treats everybody
equally. Such attitude of the captain has greatly contributed
to the team spirit," he points out.
and coaches alone cannot bring about success in any sports
if there aren't devoted organisers at both national and local
levels. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, an industrialist, politician
and a passionate cricket fan, is one of those who has pushed
Bangladesh cricket many steps further up the ladder. Bangladesh
got both their one-day status in 1997 and test status in 2000,
during Saber's tenure as the President of BCB. Saber is believed
to be the man whose aggressive and zealous campaign won Bangladesh
both the status. However, Bangladesh's bad performance in
test gave Saber's critics the perfect opportunity to take
jabs at him. But, as Bangladesh scored their maiden test win
Saber came back strongly: "Where are those people who
have been criticising us for getting test status?"
Saber is ecstatic over the victory, he emphasises that this
success will have to be maintained. Both Saber and Ahmed believe
that due attention should be paid to our local cricket. "We
will have to take cricket outside Dhaka and spread it to the
district and even thana level if we are to sustain our good
work. Initiatives should be taken to arrange school cricket
regularly," points out Ahmed. Saber also advocates introducing
3 day and 4 day matches in the league without which he believes
our players will never have the test temperament.
with their 226-run win over Zimbabwe at Chittagong on January
10, 2005, registered their maiden victory in their 35th Test.
With this win, New Zealand's unwanted record of registering
the first win in their 45th Test, would be intact in Test
AFP and Star File
(R) thedailystar.net 2005