Few expected Mominul Haque and his men to upset India on their home soil, but the tourists’ back-to-back defeats, both inside three days, underlined just how much Bangladesh have stagnated in the long format.
Since debuting as a test nation in 2000, Bangladesh have played 117 matches and won 13, six of them against Zimbabwe who are currently 11th in the official test rankings.
The 2-0 drubbing they received in India follows similar losses in South Africa, West Indies, and New Zealand.
Over-reliance on spinners, lack of quality pace bowlers, and technical inadequacy of their batsmen bred on low and slow pitches are often blamed for their struggles abroad.
Mominul accepted the progress has been tardy though he expected a turnaround.
“You need quality pace bowlers to improve in test cricket,” the 28-year-old said after beginning his captaincy tenure with a 2-0 loss against India.
“But we’re now getting sporting wickets and quality pace bowlers are coming through the ranks. So I’m optimistic of improvement.”
Regular exposure against strong opponents was necessary if the ninth ranked test team wanted to move up the ladder, he said.
“We don’t play top teams regularly, it’s definitely one of the reasons...We have around 10 tests coming next year, so I think we can overcome these issues.”
India counterpart Virat Kohli felt Bangladesh players possessed skills but needed frequent test experience to get better.
“If you play two test matches and then you play after an year-and-half, you won’t really understand how to figure out situations or play under pressure,” Kohli said.
“The board and the players have to figure out what test cricket means to them and that’s the only way you can go forward.”
Prioritising test cricket and offering financial security to players were crucial in the era of Twenty20 cricket, Kohli said.
“I’m not sure how test cricket is discussed in the Bangladesh board, how much importance it is given.”
“If test cricketers are not kept at a good financial level, after a while their motivation goes down because some player, who plays 20-over games and is bowling four overs, is making 10 times what you make.”
He said India benefited from central contracts which prioritised test cricket.
“You see why Australia, England, New Zealand have been strong for years - because their contract structure starts from tests and then everything else follows...That’s something we figured out and now we can see the results.”