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A Brief History of Cricket in Bangladesh

 

The Cricket-Culture is not at all a new phenomenon in Bangladesh. As elsewhere in the subcontinent, the game itself was first introduced to the Ganges- Brahmaputra delta region by the British rulers nearly two centuries ago. For the better part of the British rule, cricket remained a recreational game for the aristocrats, inaccessible to the common people because of colonial class distinctions and the complicated nature of the game which the locals did not make out so easily.

Following the bloody freedom struggle which ended in Bangladesh gaining independence in 1971, cricket has continued to grow. It was slow to start, other things having priority at the beginning. Early in 1975 the Dhaka (then "Dacca") stadium was in disrepair, the square having sunk several inches and the the Press Club shell-torn.

The M.C.C. tour in 1976/77 helped to build the enthusiasm, over 40,000 people attending the representative match at Dhaka. In 1977 Bangladesh became an Associate member of the I.C.C. Two further M.C.C. teams toured in 1978/79 and 1980/81.

The standard of cricket quickly rose, and soon Bangladesh was the top ICC associate country in the region, winning all ACC tournaments. This gave them the opportunity to play in the Asia Cup, against teams like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The Third Asia Cup took place in Bangladesh in 1988 with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka participating as well as the host country. In 1989/90 Bangladesh played hosts to the First Under-19 Asia Cup.

In 1997, Bangladesh won the ICC Trophy in Malaysia, qualifying for its first ever world cup appearance. Soon after, Bangladesh, along with Kenya were granted full ODI status by the ICC. Bangladesh posted it's first ODI win against Kenya in India in 1998.

In October of 1998, Bangladesh hosted (although they did not participate) the first ever "Mini World Cup", a knock-out basis ODI tournament featuring all the test playing nations. In 1999, in their maiden appearance at the World Cup in England, Bangladesh defeated fellow ICC associate Scotland, and then pulled off the upset of the tournament against favorites Pakistan. As a reward of bright performance in ICC and World Cup, Bangladesh was given the status of the 10th test playing nation on the 26th June, 2000.

As the famous ex-cricketer Mr.Ali Bacher of South Africa noted during his visit to Dhaka, 'the game of cricket has great prospects in a country like Bangladesh where there is cricket on the streets, cricket in the schools, in the villages, a competitive league and Friday cricket- drawing crowds of spectators who love the game in all it's forms.' The game having shed it's aristocratic restrictions prospers at the very grass-roots of Bangladeshi society.


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