Why Australia Touring Is a ‘Big’ Thing for Bangladesh Cricket
After a dismal tour of the West Indies, the Australian cricket team is here in Dhaka for a five-match T20I series. This is the first-ever bilateral T20I series Australia will play against Bangladesh.
The tour garnered serious enthusiasm among the Bangladeshi fans right from the time it was announced. And with Bangladesh already leading the series 2-0, it just gets more and more interesting.
Safe to say, Bangladesh is not a favourite cricketing opponent of the Aussies. In the past, the two countries have played a very limited number of matches between them, which is why a complete five-match tour means so much for Bangladesh.
With the T20 World Cup knocking at the doors, it becomes exceedingly important to play quality opponents. For Australia though, touring Bangladesh, a team five ranks below them in the T20I rankings, was a means of acclimatising to the subcontinental conditions and providing opportunities to a younger team to test them out. With key players such as Warner, Smith, and Maxwell rested, this is exactly what they are trying to do.
A chance to play Australia does not come every day for Bangladesh. The last time the two played a bilateral test series was back in 2017, and an invitation for another series did not come till now. Opportunities to play teams other than Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe regularly, are difficult to come by for the Tigers, which is why Australia's tour is very important right now.
In the continuously improving standards of international cricket, the importance of playing against better opponents is indubitable. And Bangladesh have always been stuck with playing the same level of opponents to such an extent, that they have always struggled whenever they were up against better and stronger opponents. Even in global tournaments, especially at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, their results were not representative of what they expected of themselves.
With major events around in the forthcoming future, the BCB should try to get more match time against the top oppositions as much as possible, because with them the learning curve is steep.
As for the first two matches, the younger players stepping up to contribute to victories for the team, are signs of good things to happen in the future. A series win against Australia will be massive for Bangladesh, and better teams will start to notice them more. With an eye on the future whilst developing younger players in the process, the only way is forward.
Australia's tour of Bangladesh is just the start. Before major international tournaments, the Tigers need to play more matches against higher-ranked oppositions, especially those in the top 5. With New Zealand set to tour Bangladesh in September for five T20Is, things are looking quite exciting for Bangladesh Cricket.
While winning should always be the priority, the Tigers need to make the most of these opportunities and improve their overall performance.
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