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Bangladesh Cricket in 2023: Part 1

Sports Desk
29 Dec 2023 21:41:51 | Update: 29 Dec 2023 21:41:51
Bangladesh Cricket in 2023: Part 1
Bangladesh celebrate bowling New Zealand's Josh Clarkson (R) during the third one-day international (ODI) cricket match between New Zealand and Bangladesh at McLean Park in Napier on December 23, 2023 — AFP Photo

While there were some successes to cherish, Bangladesh Cricket left the fans distressed giving them some big disappointments in 2023. World Cup flop show, the stained relationship between the country's two biggest stars Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal forced cricket to hit its lowest ebb. With an expectation to seal the semifinal spot in cricket's biggest extravaganza for the first time, Bangladesh finished eighth and narrowly made it to the ICC Champions Trophy in 2025.

They ended with just two wins, their worst return in the World Cup since 2003. But there was a success, which showed Bangladesh is on the right track despite the hiccups. The men's team regrouped well by winning their maiden ODI and T20 victory against New Zealand at their den at the end of this year.

Up in Test cricket

Statistically, Bangladesh had a good outing in 2023 as they registered three victories in four matches including one against New Zealand. They beat Ireland by seven wickets before crushing Afghanistan by 546 runs. This was the third-largest victory in Test cricket's history and Bangladesh's largest against any team.

Najmul Hossain Shanto scored centuries in both innings to become the second Bangladeshi batter after Mominul Haque hit centuries in both innings of a Test. Bangladesh then beat New Zealand by 150 runs in Sylhet on a good pitch. But when it looked like they would be unbeaten in Test format in 2023, they fell in their trap in Mirpur to concede a four-wicket defeat. Unlike the Sylhet pitch, they prepared a rank turner in Miprur which went against them and denied them the first-ever Test series victory against New Zealand.

Bangladesh's ODI pride tarnished

From 2015 to 2022, Bangladesh lost only one series at home to make the home venue a fortress for them in the ODI format. But the fortress was severely breached in 2023, tarnishing Bangladesh's pride completely. In 2023 itself, they lost three ODI series at home -England, Afghanistan, and New Zealand were the teams that thrived in Bangladesh's slow pitch to stun them. Bangladesh however won a series against Ireland at both home and away.

In between, they had a forgettable World Cup journey. However, when it looked like they would have had a disappointing year in the ODI format, they found success in New Zealand, though it was in dead rubber. After conceding the series, following New Zealand's victory in the first two matches, Bangladesh routed the Kiwis by nine wickets in the third and final game, and that too by wrapping them up for just 98 runs.  That victory was Bangladesh's first on New Zealand soil against the Kiwis and it ended the Black Caps' 17-match winning streak at home. Overall they played 32 ODIs in this year 11 and lost 18 while three matches ended in a no result.

No longer a vulnerable side in T20 format

After a disappointing T20 World Cup outing in 2022, Bangladesh turned its fortune in this format under the shrewd leadership of Shakib Al Hasan. The captain however vowed to make Bangladesh a force in this format like the ODI and so far he kept his word. Bangladesh is no longer a vulnerable side in the T20 format. They played seven matches (excluding the three-match T20 series against New Zealand which is going on) and won six of them while losing just one. The landmark incident was that they whitewashed current T20 World Cup champions England in a three-match series at home. The Tigers beat Ireland by 2-1 and swept a two-match series against old foes Afghanistan.

Tamim's retirement and captaincy saga

During the Afghanistan series in July, Tamim Iqbal suddenly retired from cricket. However, at the intervention of Prime Ministers Sheikh Hasina, he reversed the decision within 28 hours. Later it was revealed that the relations between him and the head coach Chandika Hathurusingha were tainted somehow. Also, he had cold relations with Shakib Al Hasan. However as he had injury concerns, he relinquished ODI captaincy, paving the way for Shakib Al Hasan to become the all-format captain.

Tamim vs Shakib

The year will be remembered due to an unwanted saga between the country's two celebrated cricketers Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal. Ahead of the World Cup, Tamim posted a video on his Facebook where he revealed that he was tired of the dirty game played by some people around him and also there was an injury concern that led him to skip the World Cup. Just hours after his video post, Shakib in an interview with a private TV channel lambasted Tamim for his childish behaviour. It is believed that the spat between the two stars just ahead of the World Cup was instrumental in Bangladesh's flop World Cup show.

Asian Games flop show

Bangladesh was seeking gold in the Asian Games, held in Hangzhou in China but was left satisfied with bronze. The team was formed with the players, most of which played in the national team and they won all of the matches in the group phase against associated nations. When the real test came in the semifinal, they lost the match to eventual Champions India by nine wickets. However, they beat Pakistan to clinch the bronze at least.