It would be grave injustice if world class players such as Shakib Al Hasan (L), Mashrafe Moratza (C) and Tamim Iqbal never got an opportunity to play Test or ODIs in India    Getty Images
It would be grave injustice if world class players such as Shakib Al Hasan (L), Mashrafe Moratza (C) and Tamim Iqbal never got an opportunity to play Test or ODIs in India Getty Images

 

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

 

India s monstrous clout on world cricket has been the topic of furious discussions in recent times. And there is perceptible evidence of angst among a section that has been vocal to say that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has used the clout to its unfair advantage. Cases in point being the Decision Referral System (DRS) and the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) issues where, it was felt, that the BCCI tried to get its own way.

 

In the midst of all these issues the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced its Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the period 2012 to 2020. What shocked everybody was the fact that India would not host Bangladesh or Zimbabwe for Tests or One-Day International (ODI) series till 2020. In contrast, the two teams in question are scheduled to visit every other Test playing nation!

 

One has to question why India is made an exception. If the ICC genuinely endeavors to spread the game across the world, it needs commitment and co-operation from its full members. One such commitment is hosting and touring all the major cricket playing nations. Not hosting Zimbabwe is absurd, but not hosting Bangladesh is absolutely beyond understanding. Both countries would host India, but wouldn t have the opportunity to make a return trip till 2020, if the FTP is adhered to.

 

Bangladesh became a Test playing nation in the year 2000 and played it s first-ever Test against India at the historic Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka. Since then India has toured Bangladesh in 2004, 2007 and 2010 for Test series. It is interesting to note that Bangladesh have never toured India for a Test series since they entered the big league. To add to all that, Bangladesh will not play Test matches in India till 2020. Thus, an upcoming Test playing nation will not tour a country like India for almost two decades which is unheard of and hard to digest. For two decades Bangladesh will not tour their immediate neighbors for a Test series but will go around the world and lock horns with the others!

 

Bangladesh is just a little more than ten years old in Test cricket and it is important that they are given the opportunities to tour all the Test playing nations for a good number of Test matches so that they can develop and gain experience from the different conditions they are exposed to. It is an open secret that India played a major role in Bangladesh getting Test status and thus the responsibility on India should have been even greater to help develop Bangladesh cricket.

 

Bangladesh s Test status has been questioned by quite a few people, but they have made rapid strides in one-day cricket. Their current squad is young and talented and if they strike consistency they would give any team a run for their money. Players like Shakib Al-Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza and Tamim Iqbal are world class players and to know that they will not play Test cricket in India for another nine years is really disheartening for a true cricket lover. Their emergence shows that Bangladesh can produce world class players. But these World class players need to taste the Indian curry as that would really put their abilities to test and probably bring the best out of them.

 

The BCCI should realize that hosting Bangladesh wouldn t do them any harm; in fact they can use it to their benefit. The Indian board is trying to take international cricket to many small centres in the country. If Bangladesh comes over then it would be an opportunity to give this very policy some motion. However, the Test matches should be played at the bigger venues as that is where one gets the most crowds for longest version. The limited overs fixtures can be held at venues such as Indore, Rajkot, Visakhapatnam, Goa etc. where an ODI is seldom played.

 

Denying Bangladesh an opportunity to tour India does not help anybody, neither India nor Bangladesh. The only hope is that the Boards of the two countries can schedule a series when they are free from FTP commitments. When you look at the FTP you would notice that quite a few series have been marked as additional, which means that they weren t in the original programme but were included later. England s ODI tour to India later this year is one such example.

 

The ICC full members, that include the BCCI, have a responsibility to take steps in promoting the game and help it grow. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe not touring India is definitely not promotion. The only hope is that they (BCCI) agree to host such tours at times when the Indian team is free. People may complain that India have a busy schedule, but in the course of the next nine years it will do no harm to host these young teams at least once.

 

(Nishad Pai Vaidya, a 20-year-old law student, is a club and college-level cricketer. His teachers always complain, “He knows the stats and facts of cricket more than the subjects we teach him.”)