India v Bangladesh Warm-Up Match Live at The Oval, May 30, 2017 For a long time, it was only one-off wins that brought the attention of the cricket world upon Bangladesh. But still, respect was hard to come by. Then came the 2015 World Cup, series wins against India, South Africa and Pakistan, and now, ahead of their first Champions Trophy in 10 years, Bangladesh are finally getting what they have wanted for so long.
Tamim Iqbal, who has been closely involved in the team’s rise as an ODI force, said they have worked to get to a level where oppositions are wary of them. Bangladesh recently rose to No. 6 in the ICC rankings – their highest mark. The journey began seven years ago, from No. 9, and it isn’t done yet.
“That’s how it goes, you know,” Tamim said. “When your team is winning games, when your team is playing better cricket people will notice you, people will respect you. And we deserve the respect we are getting.
“As a team, we have come up a long way. That time we were ranked 10th, now we are ranked sixth. As I told you before, it didn’t come easy. We had to go through a lot of lost matches, hard work and criticism as well. But the last two years has been brilliant for Bangladesh cricket. [We are] probably one of the most successful teams in the world if you see in the last two years.”
Bangladesh have a win-loss ratio of 1.46 from 34 matches since the start of 2015 – the best among the Asian teams. They have also developed the backbone to fight out of tough situations, as evidenced by a comeback win against Sri Lanka in Tests, a rout of Afghanistan to secure their 100th victory in ODIs and a spirited defence of 238 against England in Dhaka.
It is against England that Bangladesh begin their Champions Trophy campaign, on Thursday, and while Tamim understood the heft of the challenge ahead of them, he wanted his team to draw from the good memories of their recent past.