Cricket in Bangladesh: A Comprehensive Timeline of the Nation's Sporting Journey


Cricket in Bangladesh: A Comprehensive Timeline of the Nation’s Sporting Journey

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1780: The Genesis of Organized Cricket in India

The year 1780 marks a significant moment in the history of cricket in India, as it witnessed the establishment of organized cricket in Calcutta, now known as Kolkata, a prominent city in the Bengal region. Early English expatriates residing in Calcutta came together to form the Calcutta Cricket Club. The earliest mention of this cricket club can be found in the 48th issue of Hicky’s Bengal Gazette, dated from Saturday, December 16th to Saturday, December 23rd, 1780. The newspaper reported that the “Gentlemen of the Calcutta Cricket Club are getting themselves into Wind, and preparing to take the Field, for a very active Campaign” (sic). With a tentative birth year of 1780, the Calcutta Cricket Club holds the distinction of being senior to the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which was established in 1787, by a clear margin of seven years. The MCC, based in London and once the governing body of cricket, continues to maintain a prestigious position in the global cricket community.

1792: Cricket Expands to Barrackpore and Dum Dum

In 1792, Englishmen residing in the districts of Barrackpore and Dum Dum engaged in a cricket match, as reported in the Madras Courier on February 23, 1792. This cricket match likely took place on the “maidan” opposite the Raj Bhavan in Calcutta. This assumption is supported by historical records, including a scorecard from a match played in January 1804, which indicates that teams representing the Old Etonians and Calcutta Cricket Club competed on the same ground. Notably, 1792 is officially recognized by Wisden, the cricket almanac, as the establishment date of the Calcutta Cricket Club, making it the oldest surviving cricket club outside the British Isles.

1926: Unofficial Test Cricket at Eden Gardens

In 1926, unofficial Test cricket arrived at Eden Gardens in Calcutta on the last day of the year. Arthur Gilligan led the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) team in this historic match, even though India had not yet achieved official Test status. The MCC was invited by the Calcutta Cricket Club, with the Bengal Gymkhana serving as one of its principal patrons.

1934: Inauguration of the Ranji Trophy

The year 1934 marked the commencement of the Ranji Trophy in India, named after the renowned Indian cricket player Ranjitsinhji.

1935: Bengal’s Debut in the Ranji Trophy

In 1935, the first Bengal cricket team participated in the second edition of the Ranji Trophy.

1947: Cricket in Post-Partition Bengal

Following the partition of Bengal in 1947, domestic cricket matches in Pakistan were conducted in four leagues. Regional East Pakistani teams regularly participated in the first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy from 1954 through 1968.

1955-1969: International Test Matches in Dhaka

Between 1955 and 1969, Dhaka hosted seven international Test matches, with Pakistan as the host team.

The first Test match, held in January 1955 between Pakistan and India, marked the beginning of this series. The match commenced on New Year’s Day, with the newly-built Dhaka Stadium accommodating a maximum of 15,000 spectators. According to cricket enthusiasts, the crowd gave both captains, Abdul Hafeez Kardar and Vinoo Mankad, a standing ovation as they walked out for the toss. The match ultimately ended in a draw.

The next match at Dhaka Stadium took place in November of the same year, with Pakistan facing New Zealand. Legendary batsman Hanif Mohammad scored his second Test century (103), while Khan Mohammad recorded his career-best bowling figures of 6 for 21. This match also concluded in a draw.

In March 1959, the third Test was played at Dhaka Stadium between Pakistan and West Indies. In this low-scoring encounter, Pakistan secured their sole Test victory in Dhaka by 41 runs, largely thanks to the exceptional performance of their famous fast bowler, Fazal Mahmood, who claimed 12 wickets in total, with six in each innings.

Australia arrived in Dhaka in November of the same year, led by Richie Benaud, and defeated Pakistan by eight wickets. This marked Pakistan’s only Test defeat in Dhaka.

The fifth Test at Dhaka Stadium occurred in January 1962, featuring Pakistan and England. Although the match ended in a draw, it was a personal milestone for Hanif Mohammad, who scored centuries (111 and 104) in both innings.

The next match, played seven years later in February 1969, was another Test encounter between Pakistan and England. A notable aspect of this match was the presence of all-rounder Basil D’Oliveira, who scored an unbeaten 114 in the first innings.

The final Test match between Pakistan and New Zealand in November of the same year featured Kiwi skipper Glen Turner scoring a century (110). This match also concluded in a draw.

1972: The Establishment of the Bangladesh Cricket Control Board

In 1972, the Bangladesh Cricket Control Board (BCCB) was established. Shortly thereafter, cricket leagues commenced in Dhaka and Chittagong, although progress was slow due to other priorities in the newly independent and war-torn country. By early 1975, the Dhaka stadium, then known as “Dacca,” was still in disrepair, with the square having sunk several inches and the Press Club facility showing signs of damage.

1974/75: The Beginning of National-Level Cricket Tournaments

The 1974/75 season saw the commencement of a national-level cricket tournament in Bangladesh. Additionally, 1st division and 2nd division cricket leagues were initiated at the district level. Various other tournaments were organized, including National Youth Cricket, Inter-university Cricket, College & School Cricket, Shahid Smriti Cricket, Damal Summer Cricket, and Star Summer Cricket.

1976/77: Robin Marlar’s Influence and International Aspirations

During the 1975-76 domestic season’s conclusion, Reza-e-Karim, the acting secretary of the Bangladesh Cricket Control Board, wrote to the International Cricket Council (ICC), then known as the International Cricket Conference, requesting ICC membership for Bangladesh. The ICC replied, suggesting that the BCCB invite the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and that their decision would be influenced by the MCC’s post-tour report.

Reza-e-Karim proceeded to draft the first constitution of the BCCB and, in May 1977, invited the MCC to visit Bangladesh. In June 1976, Bangladesh’s membership was discussed at an ICC meeting, and it was decided that Bangladesh’s membership status would be finalized after the MCC’s tour of Bangladesh.

The MCC arrived in Dhaka for their inaugural tour of Bangladesh on December 27, 1976, igniting enthusiasm among cricket enthusiasts. Over 40,000 spectators attended the representative match in Dhaka.

On July 26, 1977, Bangladesh attained Associate membership status in the ICC.

The BCCB sought coaching assistance from the MCC, which subsequently sent Robert Jones, an Englishman, as Bangladesh’s first foreign cricket coach.

1978: Cricket Encounters with Sri Lanka and Indian Teams

In January 1978, Sri Lanka, yet to achieve Test status, toured Bangladesh.

In February of the same year, the Deccan Blues, an Indian team comprising famous first-class cricketers, toured Bangladesh for a three-day match against the BCCB XI.

In December 1978, the MCC returned to Bangladesh for their second tour, which extended until January 14, 1979.

1979: Bangladesh in the ICC Trophy

In 1979, Bangladesh made its debut appearance in the ICC Trophy tournament in England. Bangladesh secured victories against Fiji and Malaysia during the tournament.

1980: Pakistan Tours Bangladesh

In January 1980, Pakistan embarked on a tour of Bangladesh, playing a two-day match in Chittagong and a sold-out three-day match in Dhaka. The Chittagong match was prematurely halted due to crowd misbehavior towards Pakistani players.

1980/81: Continued MCC Tour

The MCC toured Bangladesh for the third time during the 1980/81 season.

1982: Indian Team Visits Bangladesh

In January 1982, the Hyderabad Blues, an Indian first-class team featuring five Indian test players, visited Bangladesh.

From May to July 1982, Bangladesh participated in its second ICC Trophy competition, finishing fourth among sixteen national teams.

1983: Cricket Exchanges with West Bengal

In March 1983, a West Bengal team toured Bangladesh. In December of the same year, Bangladesh reciprocated with a visit to the Indian state of West Bengal.

1984: Southeast Asia Cup Victory

In January 1984, Bangladesh hosted the first-ever Southeast Asia Cup, featuring the participation of Singapore and Hong Kong. Bangladesh emerged victorious in the final against Hong Kong, claiming the trophy.

In February 1984, the Bangladesh team embarked on its first tour to Kenya.

Upon returning from Kenya in late February, Bangladesh hosted a series of cricket matches against Pakistan’s PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) and India’s the Hyderabad Blues.

1985: Sri Lankan Test Team Visits Bangladesh

In March 1985, the Sri Lankan test team visited Bangladesh for a three-day match in Dhaka.

1986: International Exposure in Sri Lanka

In January 1986, the Omar Kureishi XI, comprising Pakistani test cricketers, visited Bangladesh.

In March 1986, Bangladesh participated in the Second Asia Cup held in Sri Lanka and played its first-ever one-day international (ODI) match against Pakistan. Notably, Bangladesh had not yet achieved full ICC membership at this point. The tournament provided valuable international exposure to Bangladeshi players.

In June 1986, Bangladesh traveled to England to participate in the third ICC Trophy.

Later in the year, Bangladesh embarked on its first tour to Pakistan.

1988: South-East Asia Trophy Triumph

In January 1988, Bangladesh participated and triumphed in the second South-East Asia Trophy, defeating Hong Kong.

The Third Asia Cup took place in Bangladesh in October-November 1988, with India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka participating alongside the host country.

1989: Under-19 Cricket and Coaching Assistance

In August-September 1989, the Bangladesh Under-19 cricket team toured England.

In December 1989, Bangladesh hosted the First Under-19 Asia Cup.

1990: Arrival of Pyjama Cricket and More International Exposure

In January and February 1990, the Deccan Blues, captained by Syed Kirmani, toured Bangladesh. On February 4, 1990, pyjama cricket made its debut in Bangladesh as the first-ever day-night match was played at Dhaka Stadium between BCCB U-25 and the Deccan Blues.

In February 1990, a team from Denmark toured Bangladesh.

In March 1990, Pakistan and India engaged in a two-match series. Interestingly, Bangladesh, the host country, did not participate.

In April 1990, Bangladesh participated in the Australasia Cup in Sharjah and faced New Zealand and Australia for the first time in group matches.

In June 1990, Bangladesh took part in the fourth ICC Trophy held in the Netherlands. Bangladesh secured third place in the tournament, reaching the semifinals before losing to eventual champions Zimbabwe.

In December 1990, Bangladesh visited India to participate in the fourth Asia Cup cricket tournament, alongside India and Sri Lanka.

1990: Bangladesh vs. West Bengal

In February 1990, West Bengal visited Bangladesh, with little-known West Bengal batsman Sourav Ganguly making his presence felt by scoring a century and a half-century in both matches, leading West Bengal to victory.

1992: Triumph in the South East Asia Cup

In June 1992, Bangladesh participated in the third South East Asia Cup and clinched victory, retaining the trophy by defeating Hong Kong.

In December 1992, Bangladesh hosted the first SAARC cricket tournament. However, the tournament concluded prematurely with two matches remaining due to rising tensions in Dhaka following the Babri mosque incident.

1993: Karachi Airport Gymkhana Team’s Tour

In March-April 1993, the Karachi Airport Gymkhana team toured Bangladesh.

1994: Participation in the ICC Trophy

In 1994, Bangladesh took part in the fifth ICC Trophy but failed to qualify for the semifinals.

1997: ICC Trophy Victory and Full ICC Membership

In 1997, Bangladesh achieved a momentous victory by winning the sixth ICC Trophy in Malaysia. This victory also granted Bangladesh full ICC membership and the right to play one-day internationals (ODIs).

1998: First ODI Win and Mini World Cup

In 1998, Bangladesh secured its first ODI victory against Kenya in India. In October of the same year, Bangladesh hosted (although not participating in) the first-ever “Mini World Cup,” a knock-out ODI tournament featuring all the test-playing nations.

1999: Bangladesh’s World Cup Debut

In 1999, Bangladesh participated in the 7th Cricket World Cup in England, making significant progress in international cricket. During a group match, Bangladesh achieved a memorable victory against Pakistan.

1999-2000: Introduction of the National League

The 1999-2000 season saw the introduction of the National League, a new first-class cricket format in Bangladesh. This tournament featured home and away matches involving divisional teams from Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Khulna, Barisal, and Rajshahi.

2000: Bangladesh Attains Test Status

On June 26, 2000, Bangladesh attained the status of a Test-playing country. Bangladesh’s inaugural Test match took place in Dhaka against the touring Indian team from November 10 to 14, 2000.

2004: Bangladesh’s 100th ODI Win

In December 2004, the Bangladesh cricket team achieved a historic milestone by securing its 100th ODI victory. They defeated India, the runners-up of the World Cup, with a 15-run win at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka. This victory was not only Bangladesh’s sixth ODI win overall but also their first ODI victory on home soil. It marked their third win against a Test-playing nation, with previous victories over Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup in England and Zimbabwe in March 2004.

2005: Maiden Test Victory and Series Wins

In January 2005, Bangladesh recorded its first-ever Test victory with a resounding 226-run win over Zimbabwe. This historic win occurred during Bangladesh’s 35th Test match. Bangladesh also secured its first-ever Test and ODI series victories during this period.

In June 2005, Bangladesh achieved a significant victory by defeating the world champions, Australia, in a Natwest Series ODI match. Mohammad Ashraful was the hero, scoring a century at a run-a-ball rate.

This timeline captures the evolution and milestones of cricket in Bangladesh, highlighting its journey from humble beginnings to international recognition and success.


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