Test cut for T20s raises eyebrows

Bangladesh Cricket Board’s decision to drop a Test match from the itinerary of home series against Zimbabwe in January raised quite a few eyebrows as the decision undermined the board’s core goal to establish the country as a top Test nation. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe were originally scheduled to play three Tests, five one-day internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals in January, but the BCB proposed to cut the series short in order to give the Tigers more time to focus in the ICC World Twenty20 in India on 2016.
Under a revised schedule Bangladesh will now play two Tests, three ODIS and as many T20 Internationals against Zimbabwe from January 11 to February 7 pending the approval of Zimbabwean authority.
The decision to drop a Test match from the series is being heavily debated in country’s cricketing circle as Bangladesh often complaint they have fewer Tests under their belt.
‘I don’t think we should have curtailed a Test match for the preparation of Twenty20 World Cup,’ said former national captain Akram Khan, who is also a BCB director and a former chief of board’s cricket operations department.
‘We need to be an established Test nation and in order to do that we have to play Test matches with stronger opponents as well as with teams equal to us.
‘Because one can improve by playing against similar opponents and I think it should be an area where we need to put our focus,’ said Akram.
Naimur Rahman, also former national captain and the current chief of cricket operations department, said in a news briefing on Monday that they are in favour of shortening Test series as they do not want to overburden the players before the World Twenty20.
‘We need to give the players adequate rest. Some of our frontline bowlers are suffering from injuries, so we need to think about that as well,’ Naimur had told in the briefing.
Raisuddin Ahmed, a former general secretary of the BCB, said the decision is suicidal and Bangladesh should concentrate more on playing Test cricket, which he believes is the only way they can improve.
‘I think BCB made a wrong decision,’ he told New Age on Wednesday. ‘While other Test countries are playing four-Test and five-Test series we are even reluctant to give our players three Tests.’
‘I understand that the board wants to reduce the burden of players but that should not be at the expense of a Test match.
‘I also think now we have enough players who can be rotated in different formats.’
‘At least we should not be afraid of doing that against Zimbabwe. If injury of a particular player is a concern we can easily rest him.
‘We have got Test status 15 years ago, which is a long time. And we played nearly 100 Test. If our players cannot sustain for a three-Test series, when they will do that?’ said the veteran organiser.
Not everyone however is against the idea of playing just two Tests against Zimbabwe.
Former national captain Gazi Ashraf Hossain hailed the BCB for revising the schedule of Zimbabwe series.
‘I think this is a right move,’ Ashraf said. We have to determine how many first-class matches our players will play in a season at a stretch. Also we need to keep the Asia Cup Twenty20 and ICC World Twenty20 in our mind.’
BCB officials said national team coach Chandika Hathurusinghe influenced the board in changing the schedule as he wants his charges to stay firmly focused in the ICC World Twenty20, which will be held in India from March 11 to April 3.
When contracted, chief selector Faruk Ahmed refused to make any comment over the matter.

-With New Age input

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