Although they were given Test status in the year 2000, the Bangladesh cricket team had been playing for a few decades prior to that and had also featured in a handful of major competitions, the World Cup included.
Bangladesh joined the ICC in 1977, taking part in the first ever ICC Trophy, in which they won two matches and lost two. They played at some World Cups as well, but it wasn’t until 2000 that they were awarded Test status, with their first Test match played against India. Bangladesh struggled during the early years, but prior to 2010 they began to put in some consistently brilliant performances, with record finishes at the ICC World Cup in 2015, and at several other big tournaments, along with some big victories in Test matches.
Many believe that the current Bangladesh team is the best one to have ever repented the nation, and that they have a few big years ahead of them.
Tamil Iqbal is one of Bangladesh’s most successful players. He holds the record for the most runs in a single Test, scoring 206 against Pakistan in April 2015. He also holds the record for the most runs scored overall, at 3,000 and climbing. This includes more than a dozen half-centuries and half a dozen centuries, and as he is just 26 at the time of writing, very much at the peak of his form and with many good years ahead of him, it is highly probable that Iqbal will set many records for future generations to try and beat.
Many of their biggest record breakers have played in the last ten years or so, with names like Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Ashaful and Nominal Haque also on the record books. The same goes for former captain Habitual Bashar, a player who previously held the run record that Tamil Iqbal later took from him. As of late 2015, one of the few records that Bashar still had over Iqbal, was the record for the most half-centuries, although that is unlikely to last for long.
On the other side of the field, names like Shakib Al Hasan and Mohammad Rafique have gone down in history for securing the most wickets. The former has collected close to 150 and is still going strong, adding to his already sizable record and ensuring that it will be many years before anyone comes close to beating it. Mohammad Rafique, on the other hand, sits in second place, retiring on 100 wickets, a total he managed in just 33 matches, giving him a slightly better average than Al Hasan.
Al Hasan might actually have some immediate competition on his hands in the shape of Taijul Islam, who holds the record for the best bowling record in a single inning, which he managed against Zimbabwe. However, Islam has someway to go before he catches his teammate, with less than a third of Al Hasan’s wicket total to his name.
The Bangladesh team did not exist during the first three World Cups, and they failed to qualify for the 1987, 1992 and 1996 events. Their debut came in 1999 and they appeared in all of the World Cups following that date, but their best performance came in 2015, when they made it through to the quarter-finals.
Bangladesh were given a tough group, with Australia, New Zealand, England and Sri Lanka, and with only 4 teams advancing to the next round. They knew they had to do something special to advance, and they did just that, qualifying ahead of England, who they helped to eliminate in the very first round.
This qualification came after they beat both of the group’s “lesser” teams in Afghanistan and Scotland, before going on to secure all of the points against England. Bangladesh didn’t make it beyond the next round and were eliminated by India, but this was still a memorable performance for them, with their group stage victory against England likely to remain in their hearts and minds for many years to come.
Bangladesh have also been regular qualifiers to the Asia Cup, although during their first six appearances they didn’t make it past the first round, before being beat in the second round in their next two competitions. In 2012 they achieved their best performance yet in the Asia Cup, making it all of the way to the final, where they were edged out by Pakistan.
Bangladesh also won the Asian Games in 2010, before winning the bronze medal four years later, making the period from 2010 onwards one of the best in their history. This bodes well for Bangladesh’s future.