In 2016, Bangladesh wicket-keeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim had mocked Indian cricket team on social media after they lost the World T20 semi-final to West Indies at home. The right-hander had later deleted the post but by then, the screenshots had gone viral. Earlier this year the Bangladesh team had come up with a new way of celebrating their win as the side performed ‘Naagin Dance’ on the field. These are just a couple of instances where Bangladesh have mocked the opponents.
While Bangladesh cricketers mock the oppositions, their media isn’t far away from crossing the line. A morphed photo of fast bowler Taskin Ahmed holding MS Dhoni’s head went viral. The line of sledging is a hazy one and varies from team to team. Some players sledge to get better of their opponents but a line cannot be crossed – a concept that is not fully followed by the Bangla Tigers.
Their behaviour and gestures could have been overlooked if Bangladesh had backed it up with trophies. Bangladesh began their cricketing career back in 1986 when they played Pakistan in an ODI and were granted the Test status in 2000. Since then they have played 340 ODIs and lost 225 while have appeared in 106 Tests and only managed to win 10 and lost 80 of them. Even in the shortest format, the results give a grim reading: 23 matches won out of the 78 played and most recently, lost the three-match T20I series against Afghanistan in Dehradun.
The side’s performances across the format have certainly pushed the hard work done by the former players in the dark. Mohammad Ashraful who scored a blistering ton against Australia in a NatWest trophy match to help his side chase a target of 250 odd runs found himself embroiled in a match-fixing scandal. He was one of the most sought-after batsmen during the period but his impact faded away with time. There are many more examples of the players who could have become national heroes by leading the side to trophies but, for now, the wait continues.
While some Bangladesh players focus more on mocking and letting down other teams, there are players like Shakib al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mashrafe Mortaza from the modern generation who have shown they’re focused on the game and improving themselves. But as they say it’s a team game and nothing can be achieved if the players are not disciplined. Bangladesh cricket should strive for results rather than sledging or winning social media wars. Some achievements that Bangladesh have attained in these many years include a Super 8 place in World Cup 2007, Asia Cup runners-up in 2016 and 2012 and ODI series wins against India and South Africa at home. The amount of cricket that Bangladesh have played, they should have had more positive results and it is high time they shift focus on to the game else teams like Afghanistan and Ireland become more dominant forces in the business.