Bangladesh continues to be a cricketing pariah for the BCCI. Thirteen years after an Indian ensured that the neighbouring country got the Test status, Bangladesh is yet to play a Test match in India, and it will not play one at least till March 2017.
As per the Indian team’s schedule, which is part of the tender document for team sponsorship between 2014 and 2017, Bangladesh is not scheduled to visit India at all even as the BCCI has ensured that two teams visit India every winter, fetching more income.
India will play a minimum of 37 Tests, 65 One-day Internationals and 17 T20 Internationals, including the ICC events, during the period January 2014 and March 2017, as mentioned in the tender document.
Asked about this continued Bangladesh anomaly, a top BCCI official tersely conveyed the official thinking. "Who will come to watch Bangladesh play in India?" the official told Mail Today.
The last time Bangladesh played in India was more than 15 years ago, when they took part in an ODI triangular series, in which Kenya was the third team, in 1998. The only other time Bangladesh visited India was for the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy, but on that occasion they didn’t play against India and it wasn’t a bilateral series, anyway.
Ironically, it was Jagmohan Dalmiya who, during his tenure as ICC president, ensured that Bangladesh got the Test status in 2000 — many people say he did that as a return of favour for supporting him for the post of the ICC chief.
But since then, in over 15 years, India have played a mere seven Test matches against Bangladesh, but none in India.
All these years top BCCI officials have made several promises to the Bangladesh Cricket Board, and they all have turned out hollow.
Bangladesh players are particularly keen to play a Test match at the historic Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
The BCCI’s line of thinking visà-vis Bangladesh clearly reflects that of sponsors/ broadcasters who have either held the rights or would be interested in winning the bid in future.
The new team sponsorship tender was floated on November 11 and the document can be purchased till December 7 for a fee ofRs.2 lakh. Bids can be made till December 9 and they will be opened — and the winner announced — the same day.
BCCI president N. Srinivasan sometime back had said that he would try to make the Indian domestic season count. "We are starting to look at and define our prime season, and during your prime season you should be playing at home. This is something we are conscious of," he had told a website.
"We want to have possibly one or two visiting teams during our domestic season, starting in September, all the way up to March, and we’ll see the extent to which we don’t tour outside. Given the Future Tours Programme that is there, we are going to see how we can adjust," he had said.
During this three-year-threemonth period of team sponsorship, India will play 19 Tests, 24 ODIs and nine T20 Internationals at home. Four of these T20 matches include those to be played during the 2016 World Cup.
Keeping that policy in view, the BCCI has, during the tender period, invited two foreign teams each in the winter of 2015 and 2016 while in 2014 only one team, the West Indies, will visit. But, said the BCCI official, a few more matches could be added, much like the West Indies were invited for the just concluded two-Test series.
The reserve price for each match has been fixed at Rs.1.5 crore per international match, be it a Test, ODI or T20. This is Rs.1 crore less than base price when on the previous occasion the BCCI floated the tender, in 2010. Like then, this time too the Board has cited market sentiment as the reason for keeping the reserve price low.