The glory of Bangladesh this year had been somewhat hidden behind a dismal World Cup display in which Bangladesh and Namibia were
the only teams to finish the tournament without a win. However, the year has been somewhat of a success on individual levels, much better than the
Bangladesh (Test): In the year of 2003, Bangladesh didn?t manage to win a match but in the tests they came as close as they ever had before and
should have won the test series against Pakistan. In the last 2 tests of the series they managed to grab a first innings lead and by over 100 runs in
the Multan test. In 2003, Bangladesh played 9 tests, one more than 2002. The highest innings total was 361 as last year?s was only 252. Not only
that they crossed 250 on 6 separate occasions and a 237 against South Africa. However they conceded 556 in one game against Australia, the largest
total conceded, one more than Sri Lanka in the Asian Test Championship. However against Pakistan they managed to bowl their lineup all out for 175,
while before this year their previous best in conceding an oppositions total was 296. A huge 121 run improvement. The average batting average (per
batsman) for the season was 20.4 while the previous year it was 16.7. And the bowling average was down to 45.7 while last year it was 57.5. Could this
be due to the captain? Their batting run rate was down on last year, which in tests isn?t always such a bad thing. Their bowling average however
was 45.7 which isn?t too great but as to the previous year it shows massive improvement. It is probable that their improvements in the test
arena is due to coach Dav Whatmore and with a change of captaincy who knows what?s possible in 2004.
Bangladesh (ODI): For Bangladesh there were 5 main ODI tours, the World Cup, TVS Cup, against Australia, against Pakistan and against England. With
this they played 21 matches, much more than the nation is used to. From those 21 matches, 20 were lost and a no-result against the West Indies in the
World Cup. This forms an interesting comparison with last year. Last year, Bangladesh played 14 matches, losing 13 and a no-result. However, last year
Bangladesh didn?t have the opportunity of playing Canada or Kenya in which you would expect a win. In only two matches did Bangladesh come close
to a win. Firstly against Kenya, they looked to be in with a strong chance while Akram Khan was at the wicket but once he got out it all collapsed and
they finished well short. Against Pakistan they came even closer with the Paki?s getting the runs with 2 balls to spare. The boys from Bengal
managed a score of 244 against Pakistan (18 runs more than their highest total last year) yet also were bowled out for a modest 76 against India (same
as last year). Their batting average this year was a dismal 17.2 while last year it wasn?t much better with 17.5. They also conceded a mammoth
total of 323 against Pakistan while last year the worst was only 301, however this year Bangladesh managed to contain Canada to 180 while last year
the best was only 202. It is understandable that bowling average is 43.50 and a run rate of conceded of 5.26.
Habibul Bashar: Habibul Bashar was arguably Bangladesh?s best performer of the year. Habibul (better knows as Sumon) became the first
Bangladeshi to score two separate test centuries with another 108 and almost became the first Bangladeshi to score 100 in two consecutive tests with
97 in the next test at Peshawar. Commonly referred to as ?Mr. Fifty?, Sumon once again finished the year with a poor conversion rate. In
2003 he contributed with a phenomenal 801 at 44.50 (13th best of anyone in the year) including a lone century and 7 half centuries. Meaning that he
now has a total of 1840 runs at 36.07, featuring 2 centuries and 16 fifties. Sumon is the highest ranked Bangladeshi on the PwC test ratings finishing
the year as the 27th best batsman in the world. However in the shorter form of the game his record is not too flash, hitting 228 runs at an average of
15.20 this year with a lone fifty. This is a regularly seen statistic as in his career of 42 one-day matches; he has only hit 776 runs at 18.47. The
fact that he is not regularly consistent in both forms of the game may leave some doubt in the selectors mind as to whether he with take over the
captaincy from incredibly unpopular Khaled Mahmud.
Mohammad Rafique: Nobody would have expected a year like Mohammad Rafique has produced. That is not just speaking from a Bangladesh point of view.
Taking 33 wickets from just 6 matches with three five-wicket hauls is exceptional no matter who you play for. That at an average of 24.00 and the 8th
most amount of wickets for the year from half the games that most of the players with more wickets have player, it is no surprise that he is rated
27th in the PwC test bowling ratings. In the test matches in Pakistan it was Rafique?s bowling that made the games winnable and along with
Bashar could well have single-handedly won the series for Bangladesh and lifting their score on the ICC test ratings significantly. It is now wondered
why Rafique has been overlooked for tests so many times in the past and if he hadn?t been what would have happened. Now that he?s a
regular in both versions of the game he is expected to hang around for some time to come and is a likely candidate to take over the captaincy for the
Zimbabwe tour. In the one-day matches in 2003 he played 20 matches, taking 16 wickets at 44.62. Rafique is now up with the class of Boje, Vettori and
Giles making him not only world class but also possibly the best left-arm spinner around. He is getting now at the age of 33 yet the way he?s
going and enjoying his cricket, could play for another 5 years.
Rajin Saleh: Over the year, Bangladesh has been criticized for it?s chopping-and-changing and scouting but not many can criticize the inclusion
of Rajin Saleh. One of the best young talents the country has ever produced. He made his debut in Pakistan scoring 60 on debut, being good assistance
for Habibul Bashar as he made his second hundred. From this moment on it became obvious that Rajin Saleh would be vital to the side in providing
assistance and supporting roles while scoring runs himself. From just 5 tests Rajin has already scored 246 runs at 24.60 with his debut 60 as his only
half century. But when Bangladesh has been struggling in the one-day matches it was often Rajin Saleh who would play the vital cameo in getting
Bangladesh to a reasonable target. From his 8 one-day matches he has already score 269 runs at 33.62 with 2 very important half centuries. Although he
hasn?t played much international cricket yet he is already showing the maturity that is lacking in many of the top order batsman and is such to
play in important role in the building of Bangladesh cricket.
Khaled Mahmud: Khaled Mahmud (better known as Sujon) has had a year he?d rather forget. Being the best of the Bangladeshi bowlers in the World
Cup and as Khaled Mashud had resigned there were no other alternatives. So Khaled Mahmud took the captaincy for the TVS Cup and had a poor tour. Then
he moved onto Australia where he had a completely dismal performance, at one stage getting himself to the worst test bowling average ever.
Surprisingly he was kept on for the Pakistan tour where he almost captained the nation to their first test victory. He himself had a reasonably
tournament, taking a few vital wickets and leading by example. So he was kept on for the England tour in which he had a horrible performance and it is
now quite likely that he will be replaced quickly in the new year. Due to his wickets in Pakistan, he managed to lower his season average to 57.58
rather than 500+ as his career average was at one stage. Twelve wickets in the shorter version at 60 and 12 wickets in the longer version at 57
doesn?t read too well. You would hope that a captain with that record might be able to back it up with batting ability, and in that department
Sujon wasn?t great either, in tests scoring 201 runs at 11.82 and in one-dayers scoring 243 runs at 14.29. It is predicted that next year there
won?t be much to write home about either.
Khaled Mashud: Khaled Mashud had yet another sound season behind the stumps as well as making notable contributions with the bat. After recovering
from disputes with the BCB, allegations of all sort, resigning the captaincy, being responsible for a poor
World Cup campaign, and being dropped for a couple of tests in favour of Mohammad Salim, he bounced back alright. Playing 7 tests and 18 one-dayers
still would put him in the field of regulars and now that he has his form back should be looked as like that for a lot of time to come. From his seven
tests he managed twelve catches and two stumping and in his one-day year he managed ten catches and four stumpings. Not bad at all. Not to mention the
performances with the bat. Scoring his maiden test fifty when the team was in dire straights against England was a gutsy performance and one he has
become renowned for over the years. Finishing the year with 246 runs at 17.57 and after an atrocious World Cup finished off the year scoring 217 runs
at 15.50. Not bad for someone who makes the side as a keeper.
Javed Omar: Javed Omar?s average was much the same as the Bangladeshi season all-round. Very poor in the one-day arena, reflecting in him only
playing 4 matches in which he averaged 9.25. However in the longer form of the game his season with reasonable. A little up and down and really
highlighted by a 400-ball century against Pakistan (the first of his career). Javed played in all 9 test hitting 418 runs at 23.22. The best
Bangladeshi record apart from Habibul Bashar. Javed has often been the rock at the top of the innings guiding his team to a respectable score. Now
along side Hannan Sarker there would be a chance to really set a good opening partnership. However, Javed is now out for 6 months after having
shoulder surgery, meaning that Hannan will have to find a new opening partner for the Zimbabwe tour.
Alok Kapali: The once consistent, mature teen somewhat lost his touch in 2003, yet still managed to retain his place in the squad with the odd
performance here and there. Some may argue that he did perform, as statistics would tell you in the one-day arena. And it?s not every day that a
Bangladeshi takes a test hat-trick as Alok did against Pakistan. With his bouncy leg spinner and intriguing action he dismissed Shabbir Ahmed, Danish
Kaneria and Umar Gul in consecutive balls making him the first and only to date, Bangladeshi with a hat-trick. Jermaine Lawson of the West Indies was
the only other cricketer to get a test hat-trick this year. Not bad for a part-timer. Even while not performing in the test arena, Alok played every
single test that Bangladesh had in 2003, only scoring 212 runs at 11.77 with a highest score of 46. A pair in Australia and struggling in the England
tour with an injury, it was a real surprise that he was kept in the test team when the likes of Al Sahariah and Sanwar Hossain had been dropped.
However, he was their best performer in the shorter form of the game, scoring 484 runs at 24.20 from 21 matches. Doesn?t sound too great but
when you take into account with Bangladesh?s general performance it?s rather impressive. Not too mention that he played very well against
the Australian?s and poorly injured against the Poms. But it?s obvious that this year will not go down in history for his 484 one-day runs
but for the maiden test hat-trick for Bangladesh.
Hannan Sarker: What a year for Hannan Sarker! Highly criticized for his poor technique and starting off with a poor World Cup it was highly surprising
that he made it to Australia. But full credit must go to the selectors as Hannan plays magnificently hitting 76 at Cairns and almost another half
century in the second innings, he kept up his form for the rest of the year and was the consistent opening batsman they were looking for alongside
Javed Omar. His performances have been recognized, as he is now one of the BCB?s 6 highest salary players. His statistics convey how well he has
play, not only making consistent scored but now looks techniquely sound getting praise from the likes of Mark Taylor and Darren Lehmann. He continued
his form in Pakistan and by then end of 2003 had 377 runs at 26.92 only playing 7 tests and scoring 3 half centuries. In the one dayers it was
reasonable as well scoring 242 runs from only 12 innings at an average of 20.16 including 2 fifties. When you look at his one-day record prior to 2003
it looks a lot better. Now Hannan Sarker has got the respect of cricket fans world wide as having potential and some rumours say that he could even be
the new captain. Only time will tell his fate.