@Aadya_Wisden 4 minute read
It’s been just over 22 years since Bangladesh played their first ever Test – against India – the team they host for two Tests in December 2022 . We look back at the visiting XI, tracing their journey since that Test in Dhaka.
Test No. 1512 was a milestone occasion in more ways than one. Five months after becoming a full ICC member, Bangladesh became the tenth Test-playing nation. The hosting honour went to the Bangabandhu National Stadium, now a football arena that has not held international cricket matches since 2005. It is also the only stadium to have hosted the inaugural home fixture for two teams.
Apart from three debuts for India, it was also the first Test as captain for Sourav Ganguly. India won the match by nine wickets, although the margin of victory does not fully highlight the challenge Bangladesh posed in parts. A first-innings 400, and an eventual 29-run deficit indicated that they had the potential to surprise, but a second-innings collapse showed that there was still plenty to work and improve on.
You can find the complete scorecard here. Here is the India XI that played that match:
Sourav Ganguly (c)
The first of Ganguly’s 49 Tests as captain. Having already led the side on-and-off in ODIs, Ganguly earned the promotion at a turbulent period in Indian cricket. He stroked 84 in his only innings, and pocketed a nine-wicket win in his first Test in charge. He went on to lead the side for the next five years, retiring in 2008. From October 2019 to 2022, he held the post of BCCI president, and is now set to return as director of Indian football team Atletico de Kolkata.
Shiv Sunder Das
Opening for India in the early 2000s was a game of musical chairs, but Das stood out for his tenacity and solid gameplay. One of three India debutants in Dhaka, Das – not unlike his Test career – built promising starts, but could not convert them into big ones. He played Tests for two more years, and First-class cricket for another decade. He was the batting coach of India Women until early this year, and has reportedly applied for the vacant post of national selector.
By the time the Dhaka Test came, Ramesh had already witnessed a crest in his short career. An elegant left-handed batter who bravely took on Pakistan’s all-star pace attack on debut, Ramesh stroked a fifty in the first innings in Dhaka. After the Test, though, the returns thinned, and he eventually lost his spot within a year. Once retired, he went on to try his hand at acting and music, and is now regularly seen as a commentator.
Having enjoyed a breakthrough 1999 in ODIs, Dravid continued some of the same in Tests the following year. Days after the Bangladesh Test match, he cracked his first Test double century – against Zimbabwe – and evolved into a batting giant over the next decade. After retirement, he went on to oversee India’s developmental teams, and is currently the head coach of the men’s team.
Having stepped down from Test captaincy earlier that year, Tendulkar fell for 18 in his only innings in the game, but continued to enjoy a period of sustained success with the bat thereafter. In five years, he had broken the record for the most Test tons. Within the next three years, he become the leading run-getter in the format, and retired as one of cricket’s all-time greats. A mentor of the Mumbai Indians for a number of years, he was recently seen in featuring in the Road Safety World Series, a retired players’ league.
Saba Karim (wk)
Karim’s only Test match. A wicketkeeper who could not quite cement his place in the ODIs, Karim got a belated call-up as India aimed to look beyond Nayan Mongia. He made fifteen and took a catch, but the effects of a serious eye injury stalled his career thereafter. Karim went on to dabble in several roles: selector, BCCI general manager, talent head and a TV expert, among others.
With a five-wicket haul and a gutsy, four-hour-long 92-run knock from No.8, Joshi came within eight runs of joining Polly Umrigar and Vinoo Mankad’s distinction of achieving the rare double of five wickets and a century in the same Test for India. It could have been a career-uplifting performance, but Joshi only played one more Test series after that. He went on to coach several domestic and international teams (including Bangladesh), and was a national selector until last month.
The second specialist left-arm spinner in the team, Kartik walked in at No.3 as nightwatch, bravely dodging 113 deliveries for his 43. With the ball, he was overshadowed by Joshi, and was dropped from the Test squad later that month. Four years later, he made an emphatic return with a five-wicket haul against the touring Australians, but was dropped again in a few months, never to be picked again (though he did play ODIs and a T20I). He featured in First-class cricket and T20s for another decade. He now works as a commentator.
Despite flashes of brilliance, Agarkar’s Test appearances were irregular throughout his short career. In Dhaka, he bowled first-change, picking up a couple of wickets in each innings (including centurion Aminul Islam in each innings). Over the next five years, he remained a key wicket-taker in limited-overs cricket. He retired in 2013, and went on to hold administrative posts in Mumbai Cricket Association. More recently, he was seen as assistant coach for Delhi Capitals and a TV commentator.
A long, fruitful career was reaching its twilight when Srinath travelled to Bangladesh. By then, he was already India’s second most-successful Test quick, only behind Kapil Dev. A wave of young fast bowlers popped up at that time, but Srinath continued to keep his place for two more years, until his retirement from Test cricket in 2002. Since 2006, he has been an ICC match referee.
The youngest of the three debutants, Zaheer had already made waves in the ICC KnockOut Trophy the previous month. In Dhaka, he shared the new ball with Srinath, laying the base for the next fourteen years of excellence. He retired as only the second Indian quick with 300 Test wickets, after Kapil, and continued to play domestic T20s until 2017. Thereafter, he joined the Mumbai Indians in coaching and managerial capacity. He works as a TV expert as well.