Cricket Australia’s decision to cancel Bangladesh tour was very disappointing….
Amidst the Australian football season, a Test series against Bangladesh is difficult to sell to Australia’s free-to-air TV broadcasters — prompting Cricket Australia (CA) to scrap another home series against Bangladesh. And now reportedly, they are compensating this move by planning to invite the Tigers for a few completely irrelevant T20 Internationals.
Well, in hindsight, the same CA accuses BCCI’s short-sightedness in promoting Test cricket, when the Indian board refuses to play a day-night Test during their upcoming tour of Australia.
Hypocrisy at a different level altogether!
According to CA the decision of ‘postponing’ the Bangladesh series is a mutual one by the Australian and Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).
“The window allocated in the ICC FTP for Bangladesh to tour Australia in August has been postponed, by mutual agreement by both Cricket Australia and the Bangladesh Cricket Board,” a CA spokesman told media. “Both countries agreed to postpone that tour to be better aligned ahead of the ICC World T20 in 2020 in Australia.”
However, the chief executive of the BCB says the cancellation is “disappointing”, which excludes one of the two countries who have both mutually agreed to this cancellation.
“Three or four months ago Australia sent us a letter expressing that they will not host us for financial reasons,” Chowdhury has reportedly said. “We issued a counterproposal immediately to shorten the tour by playing ODIs only. We are yet to receive any response.”
In fact, he further blamed the Australian board to breach the Future Tour Programme (FTP) agreement.
“It [the tour] had been mutually agreed upon before being inducted into the FTP. It is unfortunate on the part of the member [CA] not to fulfil that commitment, especially if the reasoning is commercial or financial concerns. We also have FTP commitments that are not financially viable, but we honour those commitments.”
Henceforth, by no means, the decision was mutual.
In 18 years since Bangladesh acquired Test status, Australia have played them in just three Test series and has hosted the Tigers only once — way back in 2003 when Khaled Mahmud-led side played two Tests and three One-Day Internationals (ODI) at Darwin and Cairns.
Yes, one might argue that till date Bangladesh have only registered 10 Test victories and inviting them for a full series (two Tests and three ODIs, as proposed initially) might only result in one-sided contests. However, let’s not forget that the Tigers have made rapid improvement in the longest format in recent years and their last three Test victories are against formidable oppositions — an away win against Sri Lanka in their 100th Test and two triumphs against England and Australia at home.
So, Bangladesh are a growing side but with the kind of attitude CA has, they are not being allowed to grow. Remember, a one-sided is better than none-sided, if the game is to survive, let alone development. Scrapping this tour is not just a hammer blow to Bangladesh cricket, the decision is also against the interest of other lower-ranked Test teams like Zimbabwe, Ireland and Afghanistan.
Now CA has placed a detrimental example of how to dishonour the FTP and scrap the fixtures, which are not commercially viable. It is a dangerous practice and I am afraid, we will see other top boards doing the same in near future. Soon, the time will come when Test cricket will be reduced to the top three or four teams and other get an opportunity to field their sides only once in a blue moon.
Recently, we have seen Ireland playing a competitive inaugural Test against Pakistan. Furthermore, the BCCI, whom the cricketing world accuses of downgrading Test cricket, has invited Afghanistan to play its first-ever Test next month. Any sensible individual understands the relevance of playing these matches, even if they do turn out to be a little on the one-sided side.
Many people are optimistic as next year onwards the World Test Championship will commence and reluctant (towards the development of the game) boards like CA will be bound to host teams like Bangladesh as it would matter in terms of points. But seeing how commercial viability seems to rule the roost if Australia have enough points in their kitty, there is no guarantee that teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will be invited.