The last time we took a look at Bangladeshi fortunes, the overwhelming conclusion was that they were a one-man team. Now, several months later, it’s time to reappraise them. Shakib-Al-Hasan might arguably get into a World XI in any format of the game, but there are signs that Bangladesh are becoming not quite so reliant on him.
It is best to start with One Day Internationals, a format which Bangladesh did rather well in; early in the year they were runners-up in the Asia Cup that they hosted, whilst they defeated the West Indies 3-2 in the autumn. Abdur Razzak leads the wicket-takers with 16 and Tamim Iqbal the batsmen with almost 350 runs. Not a bad haul considering they only played nine matches. To help demonstrate how the side is strengthening in depth and quality, note 20-year old Anamul Haque who scored his country’s only ODI century in just his second appearance (120 against the West Indies at Khulna).
In the shortest version of the sport, it was Iqbal and Razzak who again led the way for their side. The World T20 was nothing less than a failure though, losing both matches that they played on their way to an exit after the first round; they couldn’t even defend a total of 175 against Pakistan.
As for Tests? Well, what is there to conclude from just two matches? The West Indies won the series handsomely (by 77 runs and 10 wickets), but there were positive moments for the home team. Sohag Gazi recovered from being the first bowler ever to have the first ball of a Test match hit for six (on his debut no less), to take 12 wickets across the two games. Furthermore, Abul Hasan debuted in the second Test and came into bat at with the score 193/8. By the time he was dismissed for an astonishing 113, he had helped put on a further 194 runs. It was just a shame that he then conceded 113 runs from his 24 overs.
So yes, Bangladesh aren’t very good. And yes, they ought to play more games (two Tests in a calendar year is frankly disgraceful and absurd). But we think that the supporting cast to Shakib, including captain Mushfiqur Rahim, bits and pieces all-rounder Mahmadullah and youngsters such as Elias Sunny and Haque might help the team to develop in 2013. If that does happen, after 12 years of false dawns and general disappointment, it will be cherished.