South Africa’s apartheid policy touched a raw nerve and forced the world cricket community to shun them for two decades. But what about cricket’s very own apartheid policy in which they ignore certain cricketing nations?
Sri Lanka was not allowed to play a full Test series in England till 2002. The fact that Sri Lanka finally played a full series was only because they fulfilled the ‘condition’ of beating host England in a Test in 1998, thanks to the Muttiah Muralitharan magic.
Something similar is happening in the way Bangladesh is being treated by world cricket powers, especially by its Big Brother, India. Bangladesh became a Test nation in 2000, purely on the basis of one win over Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup, thanks to the active support of the then ICC president Jagmohan Dalmiya.
India even showed their big heart by being Bangladesh’s inaugural Test opponents in 2000, but the courtesy has ended there. Bangladesh has never played India in a Test or a bilateral ODI in India. The policy is pretty simple: you won’t make us enough money via sponsors/broadcasters so we will keep touring you. Bangladesh has been on just three official tours of India: 1990-91 Asia Cup, 1997-98 tri-series (also involving Kenya) and the 2006 Champions Trophy. In all, Bangladesh has played India in three ODIs in India, but all that came before they became a Test nation!
But it is not just India, Australia too has not hosted Bangladesh in a Test since 2003, while England has stopped hosting them since 2010 and South Africa hasn’t played them at home since 2008-09. So Bangladesh has ended up touring just New Zealand, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe. This is hardly an incentive for a side that has shown some spark at home, but does not get the opportunities to better themselves abroad.
Hopefully, with Bangladesh beating India in an ODI series, the myopic vision of world powers are clearer, especially with the man, Dalmiya, credited with awarding them Test status at the helm of affairs in India.
For a sport that is shrinking fast, cricket needs to be more inclusive than exclusive.