Test Cricket in Bangladesh: Why is it so unpopular?
Test Cricket, the oldest format of the game, will forever be the measuring stick for any cricket playing nation. There exists a level of purity in Test Cricket, in which it is free of almost all the glamours of the game in its modern form. It is not a diluted or rather concentrated form of cricket, as would be the case for T20 Cricket, depending on who you ask.
While the limited-over formats such as T10, The Hundred, T20, and ODI all focus on specific aspects of the game, Test Cricket takes it back to the basics. In this vaunted format, tactics and resilience are key factors for any team. There can’t be any bigger examples of that than the Ashes. Despite being the oldest series of cricket to exist, the Ashes still retain an enormous level of excitement around the series. It’s a shame that this enthusiasm does not always translate as well for all the other nations playing cricket.
Bangladesh has enjoyed its status as a Test-playing nation for 21 years now. Despite the considerable amount of time in the arena, the team is yet to leave any lasting impression on Test Cricket. It is no surprise that only having 15 wins in 126 matches plays a big role in deterring any enthusiasm to form over Test Cricket in an otherwise extremely dedicated fanbase. Even the most diehard fans aren’t going to pursue the dangling carrot of potential success when the whole ordeal has been a foregone conclusion.
During a large part of the 2010s, the enthusiasm for the Bangladesh Cricket team was at an all-time high. Even people generally averse to sports got into the festivities with their team showing genuine progress for a good stretch. While that progress did translate fairly well to the ODI format, Test Cricket wasn’t so lucky. The longer format remained a pain point for the team despite promising results. There was never any stability in Test Cricket for Bangladesh. Partly, it was down to poor management of potentially great players, and the other part was the lack of chances in varying conditions.
The goodwill that was built up over the last decade has fizzled out considerably in the last year. With key players starting to reach the twilight of their careers, it’s only set to get worse.
While it’s not a competition for the short term enjoyment that T20 and its various subsets bring, Test Cricket does occupy a space for anyone enthusiastic about the technical aspects of sports. If one were to term a T20 or ODI match as a battle, the five days of Test Cricket would be an all-out war, complete with any and every single way one side can gain an advantage over another.
There is no easy answer for restoring Test Cricket’s glory in the minds of Bangladeshis anytime soon. Genuine enthusiasm is often tied to success in some form or another. While Cricket can be enjoyed in many formats now, from bite-sized to a whole meal, there is something satisfying about getting to familiarise yourself with the intricacies of Test Cricket.