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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 18:24 GMT

Tigers boss makes plea to ICC
By Saj Chowdhury
BBC Sport

When Bangladesh were handed Test status in 2000, many in the cricket world welcomed the new addition to the select ranks.

Here was a country with a large fan-base, an established domestic league and the standard grounds and facilities required to host Test matches.

But what was supposed to be dream come true for the small nation, has developed into a nightmare.

Since their introduction, they have lost all 17 Test matches played.

Bangladesh lost by 10 wickets to Sri Lanka
Bangladesh lost by 10 wickets to Sri Lanka
Their one-day record reads little better, with no wins since their victory over Pakistan at the 1999 World Cup.

That record was further blunted with an embarrassing defeat to qualifiers Canada, followed by a crushing loss to Sri Lanka at the 2003 tournament.

The country's passionate fans remain mystified as to why Bangladesh have seemingly failed to improve their standards on the cricket pitch, however team manager Abu Sharif Faruque appears to have the answer.

"It's simple. We simply need to cut down our busy schedule," he said.

"The players have had little or no time to fine-tune their bowling and batting techniques in between matches, which I believe has led to the problem we are faced with at the moment.

"I'm hoping that the International Cricket Council can recognise our plight and grant us more time between Tests."

Faruque and the Bangladesh cricket chiefs will find it difficult to persuade the ICC to change any Test schedule in order to suit their needs.

We're ready for the challenge that lies ahead of us
Bangladesh manager Abu Sharif Faruque
With the ICC league table now in force, every Test-playing nation is required to fulfill their fixture schedule.

"We will be hosting South Africa in April, just days after the end of the World Cup final and then we're away to Australia, Pakistan and home to England before the end of the year.

"It's going to be difficult, but we must play the required matches to keep in line with ICC regulations and keep our sponsors happy."

As far as the rest of the World Cup is concerned, Faruque remains optimistic, more so after his team fortuitously claimed two points when their match against the West Indies was abandoned.

"I suppose you could say it was a blessing in disguise," he said.

"The two defeats, especially the one against Canada, were demoralising, but we have a good collective spirit.

"But I'm going to tell the side to just go for it from here on in. It's a young squad with only four senior players, but we're ready for the challenge that lies ahead of us."

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