That Bangladesh has learned the art of winning is not the subject of the debate here. They have been doing that against the top cricketing nations for over two years now. Their rise in world cricket has been anything but a stroke of serendipity.
Bangladeshi fans, despite enjoying recent successes, have had to endure countless heartbreaks over the years before they finally felt the joy of defeating the “big boys” of cricket on a regular basis. To say that the transformation of the men in green and red is inspirational is an understatement.
They have played 31 matches since World Cup 2015 and have won 17 of them, including the emphatic series wins against Pakistan, India and South Africa at home and registering wins against England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
Chandika Hathurusingha, Bangladesh coach, is said to have played a vital role in this team’s transformation. Hathurusingha was left exasperated when his team did the lap of honour after defeating Afghanistan in their opening match in the World Cup two years ago. His blood was boiling to a point where he lost his temper and threatened to leave the team.
Chandika Hathurusingha has been pivotal in team’s transformation
In words of Tamim Iqbal, “We didn’t know how to win and that happens when you don’t win very often”. Of course, Hathurusingha did not mean any disrespect to the opposition when he expressed his anger over the celebrations of Bangladeshi players. But he did demand of his players to rise to the big occasion, and not celebrate too early.
And what followed then laid the foundation of what Bangladesh has become now. Mohammad Mahmudullah played a sensational knock in their crucial game against England, and single-handedly knocked England out of the World Cup 2015. That was the beginning, the beginning of a new era for Bangladesh Cricket. An era where their batsmen would dominate and their pace bowling line up would be comprised of the likes of Mashrafe Mortaza, Mustafizur Rehman and Taskin Ahmed.
They haven’t looked back since then. Their numbers against the top sides have been so impressive over the last 24 months that they have made it to the top 6 teams of the ICC ODI Rankings for the first time in history.
Tamim Iqbal has been the key figure in the transformation of the Bangladeshi batting line-up. Before the World Cup 2015, he averaged 29.67 with the bat. Since the World Cup 2015, he has been averaging 59.34 per innings! Shakib who averaged 34.77 with the bat before the World Cup, has been averaging 36.13 for the last two years. Mushfiqur Rahim who had averaged 30 with the bat up till the World Cup 2015, has been averaging 41.50 since then.
Tamim Iqbal averages 59.34 with the bat after 2015 worldcup
It wouldn’t be unfair to say that their batsmen alone have played an important role in their victories over the last two years or so. Their bowlers have been equally effective in all conditions. Even though the sample size is small at the moment, but Mustafizur Rahman has been the pick of the lot. His accuracy and slow balls have troubled some of the biggest names in international cricket.
Mustafizur Rahman rolling his fingers over the ball just before delivering the ball.
It wasn’t just the Bangladeshi players and fans who had gotten used to the beatings prior to the World Cup 2015. Even the opposition teams and the commentators took them for granted whenever they played.
Ramiz Raja, former Pakistani opening batsman and a full-time commentator, has a special relationship with Bangladesh Cricket. Because of his lack of knowledge and complete disregard for the commentary etiquettes, Raja usually finds himself in awkward positions when he is in the commentary box. He has been at the centre of many controversies involving the Bangladeshi players.
Whether it’s his blunder at the post-match presentation ceremony for calling out the wrong player instead of Tamim Iqbal to receive the MoM award or him making Tamim feel awkward by asking him whether he’d feel comfortable in talking in English, Raja has done his best to ensure the whole of Bangladesh hates him. It is high time Raja apologised to the Bangladeshi players and fans and put an end to this hatred-filled relationship with Bangladesh Cricket. Because Bangladesh is on the rise.