If I asked this question a few weeks back, many would have rushed to defend the silly decision by the ICC to make Bangladesh - the host nation of all - play in a qualifying round. Looking at how the Tigers have gone past Afghanistan and Nepal almost without so much as batting an eyelid, it is clear that the Tigers should have gone into the main draw of the tourney straight away.
Putting the results to date in this WorldT20 qualifying round aside, one could see a clear difference in the approach and the style of play between the Tigers and the opposition they have unfortunately been pitted against. The Tigers have been clinical (except for some silly comments / antics of Mushfiq, Shakib and and a few others) while the opposition have been like amateurs with some flashes of brilliance.
In the recent Big3 proposals, some were arrogant enough to suggest that the three nations concerned should be immune from relegation in the now abandoned - thank god for that - test championship. If the ICC was not averse to that, it should not have been too much to ask for to have the Tigers in the main draw of the World T20 championship as they are the hosts of the tourney. The fact that Bangladesh is a test playing nation could have been another argument in support of this but then Zimbabwe, in their present unfortunate state, flatten this point of contention.
Looking at this from another angle, crowd support is very important for the success of a tournament and unarguably, Bangladesh has the best and the "craziest" fan base in the cricketing world. Just imagine the Tigers suffering one upset loss - very likely in a T20 - costing them a place in the final draw. That would result is a severe drop in crowd support at the business end of the tournament.
The ICC could have had just one slot in the final draw for a qualifier from among associate nations and Zimbabwe put together. (Once again Zimbabwe stick up like a sore thumb to almost flatten the point I am trying to make, as they are a test playing nation. It is unfortunate to see the state of their cricket caused by internal strife. Zimbabwe used to have great sides with the likes of the Flower Brothers, Andy Pycroft, Alistair Campbell, Heath Streak, Eddo Brandes, Graeme Hick, Henry Olonga, Tatenda Taibu etc. in them. That is another story, anyway.)
One could argue against the point I am making, referring to the recent defeat of Bangladesh by Afghanistan in the Asia Cup. That was obviously an exception and one cannot draw conclusions based on same. Bangladesh beating West Indies and New Zealand in ODI series (albeit the oppositions being weak at the time due to various reasons), their reaching the final of an Asia Cup, stretching No. 1 ranked Sri Lanka to the limit and the last ball in the recent head to head T20s - the list goes on - are clear examples that Bangladesh belong in the "big league".
The ICC is clearly being unfair with Bangladesh. (As a Sri Lankan, I think we would have been served with the same spoon for long if not for that great captain Arjuna Ranatunga turning tables on the so called big guns, handing heavy defeats to them both on and off the field. Sri Lanka winning the World Cup silenced the last critics, with mud in their faces and something elsewhere both of which I cannot mention in this august forum.)
The Tigers, for their part, have put themselves down too, at times; for example, by talking of "revenge" against Afghanistan, exaggerated celebrations after killing a fly etc. They should focus on who they are and what they could do and the rest of it will fall into place.
Just one other complaint I have against the Tigers, especially their present captain, is the knack for letting their opposition out of jail, in order to snatch defeat (gleefully ?) from the jaws of victory. Do those Tigers derive some masochistic pleasure out of doing that ?
I wish the Tigers good luck.