Sri Lanka is not the greatest team on earth. In spite
of their reasonably good showing in Australia recently, the Lions have been losing matches quite frequently to India, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
Today's loss to Bangladesh caps them all.
Bangladesh has beaten stronger teams if one considers the present form of Sri Lanka versus
the prevailing form of each other team beaten by Bangladesh, at the time of the loss (India, Pakistan and Australia)
Given these two caveats, I still consider today's win a momentous occasion in Bangladeshi cricket, for this heralds to the world that Bangladesh has arrived.
That the victory over Australia was no flash in the pan. That Bangladeshi wins are due to their capability. That losses which still outnumber wins by far is only a sign of the Tigers not having reached the psychological plateau where you feel equal to any other team.
I can understand the jubilation in Bangladesh today. I remember how, in our early days as a Test playing country, we celebrated in Sri Lanka when, once in a while, we would beat a major team. Sometimes
an unfair decision that went for the opposition would bother me deeply on the inside. That the great team we beat did not have some of their top players too seemed to me to take away the gloss off such a victory. Today, several years later on, I look back and realise that those wins were true wins; no flashes in the pan.
I realize that they became more frequent, with the interval between two wins rapidly diminishing, until we found suddenly that we were World Champions !
Today Bangladesh played like winners. Mashrafe, Rassel, Aftab Ahmed, Ashraful, Bashar, Kapali, all of them played as well as any of the stars of so called powerful teams in world cricket. The general air about them was the same air that hung about Duleep
Mendis, Roy Dias, Arjuna Ranatunga, Asantha de Mel, Ravi Ratnayake, et al when they used to spring 'surprises' on major teams in the mid and late 80s. Today, I know they were not surprises, but part of a process in which we became World Champions.
As a Sri Lankan, I am convinced that Bangladesh is good. Bangladesh is no longer a team to spring surprises.
Of course, the first defeat to any team is very hard to take. Sri Lanka had played Bangladesh on 15 occasions previously, not dropping a single game. So,
against the backdrop of the recent poor showing of Sri Lanka, todayâ€™s defeat - the first to Bangladesh - was a very bitter pill to take; but as the dust settles gradually, it dawns upon me that this has not that sad a day. After all, for Sri Lanka it was just another loss in international cricket and definitely not the end of the road or anything.
For Bangladesh on the other hand, this is a great win, one that signals that they are as good as the others.
Well done Bangladesh. I wish all my friends here at BanglaCricket and the millions of jubilant Bangladeshi fans more happiness in watching their stars at play.