Sri Lanka always cared for Bangladesh cricket

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By 2017-03-21

By Dyan Pathiravithana

CT Sports: It was the British settlers who brought cricket to Bengal in the late 18th century, where it had a slow growth. With the partition from India when they became known as East Pakistan, cricket picked up and Test cricket was played there in the 1950s and 1960s.

With the establishment of Bangladesh after independence in March of 1971 they had to start from scratch as a new state and had to begin with the ICC as an Associate Member. Thereafter it was to get doors opened up at the ICC as a Full Member that they had been knocking on for some time. They got into the International stage in England in the ICC Trophy Cup in 1979 and played their first ODI in March of 1986 in the Asia Cup and then became the tenth Test playing nation in November 2000.

They won the ICC Cup in 1997 which got them into the ICC World Cup in 1999 and did well. From there it was preparing to go for Full Membership for which they had established the National Cricket League and by 2000 under the Bangladesh Cricket Board received Full Member status in 2000. In November that year they played their inaugural Test match with India.

Bangladesh cricket has now come of age on reaching their 100th Test, played in Sri Lanka at the P Sara Oval from 15-19 March 2017. In this Test they proved to be able to do what their opponents do and do it on equal terms. The East and West Bengal conflict had left the Bangladesh state in appalling condition with the Dhaka national stadium in complete disrepair; it was unlike in Sri Lanka a completely fresh start for Bangladesh cricket. Their dedication to come up and do it fast is clear from what has been created out of that severe condition.

It was a good thing that cricket was very popular in these troubled times in Bangladesh at the beginning of their journey. There was the need to have a national cricket tourney in position to begin with and the Dhaka Metropolis knock out Tournament was the answer. It was staged in February of 1973. And it led to the beginning of the national club championship in 1974. The tourney had to have its plus factors for international brands to be involved with it since 1983, sponsored by such as Wills and Pepsi. Although not a first class competition it had the look of the English cricket league.

Nobody cared for them at the start and they had been pushed into the deep end by the ICC who had their own agenda for it. Especially teams such as Australia found it demeaning to play them and made a mockery of the great Muralitharan when he broke the world record saying his wickets included those of Bangladesh too. It is happily noted that it was Sri Lanka that was the first complete international team to make an appearance on Bangladeshi soil in January of 1978. Sri Lanka had still not got full ICC membership then although they were almost there. At the time Bangladesh had no class but since then what they have achieved is amazing to have built such fantastic players and even more worthwhile is the fact it has been under a Sri Lankan coach.

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