Bangladesh in danger of losing Test status

January 3rd, 2009 - 9:54 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 3 (IANS) Minnows Bangladesh are in danger of losing their Test status as top teams are unwilling to play the five-day game against them in a cramped international cricket calendar that is facing demands for the inclusion of lucrative Twenty20 matches.Complaints about the Bangladeshis’ on-field performances have been a regular theme of the last eight years, but it is financial logic that has now led the leading cricket powers to turn against them, reports the Daily Telegraph.

With a growing number of Twenty20 tournaments competing for space in the calendar, teams like England and Australia are no longer prepared to play loss-making series against a weak team like Bangladesh.

Bangladesh have failed to improve since their inaugural Test in November 2000 and their overall record now stands at one win (against Zimbabwe) from 58 matches.

“There is no reason why a team should have to play Test matches just because it is a full member of the International Cricket Council,” said International Cricket Council (ICC) president David Morgan.

“If a team is not gaining anything from the experience, then perhaps it might be better to settle for one-day international status.”

An ICC executive board meeting in Perth later this month will discuss ways of making Test cricket more attractive. Bangladesh are unlikely to attract much support from James Sutherland, chief executive of Cricket Australia, who said he believes they are driving down the quality of international cricket at a time when it is more important than ever to keep standards high.

“With the growth in the Twenty20 market, it is important to take the clutter out of the game,” said Sutherland.

“We need to make sure we are playing cricket for quality’s sake, not for quantity, and in recent times I’m not sure that the quality has always been there.

“The Bangladesh team that came here this year performed far worse than the previous team, which toured in 2003. It’s a difficult balancing act, you want to help them develop, but we lost a lot of money hosting them and I don’t think their presence is doing anything for the game.”

Even one-day series - such as the one played in Australia in August and September - could become difficult for the Bangladesh Cricket Board to organise in the current climate. England, who are due to host two Tests against Bangladesh at the start of the 2010 summer, are especially keen to find some replacements who might be more commercially viable.

Bangladesh may be the seventh-most populous country in the world, but its development system has failed to produce any convincing international players for several years now. It has also been weakened by a spate of recent defections to the Indian Cricket League, including that of former captain Habibul Bashar.

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