Dhaka: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive has described the cricket team’s ongoing tour of Bangladesh as ‘a watershed moment for world cricket’.
“And certainly (it) signals the arrival of the Bangladesh cricket team in Test cricket,” Tom Harrison said at a British High Commission event in Dhaka on Wednesday before the final Test in Mirpur beginning on Friday, reports bdnews24.com.
England are currently on a month-long tour despite initial concerns over security following the July 1 terror attack at an upscale cafe in Dhaka.
Harrison thanked the Bangladesh government for ensuring security.
“The Bangladeshi people have been wonderful; everywhere we have been ‘it’s thank you, thank you for coming, thank you for being here’, and that means an awful lot to us,” the CEO said.
“Thank you to the police teams in Chittagong and Dhaka for their outstanding support to make sure our team feels safe and secure in every transit,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.
He hailed the Bangladesh team’s Test performance.
Bangladesh were within touching distance of pulling off a win in the first Test in Chittagong but lost the match by 22 runs. But Bangladesh have taken England by surprise by what their skipper Alastair Cook said was the way they battled in the fourth innings run-chase.
England set Bangladesh a target of 286 on a pitch getting tougher for batsmen by the session at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
The final day began with Bangladesh needing 33 with two wickets in hand but Ben Stokes broke the Bangladeshi resolve.
“I did genuinely think 280 was going to be enough, I didn’t think it would get as close as that and the way they played spin in particular was very impressive,” Cook said later.
Speaking about the series, High Commissioner Blake said this has been “the most thrilling set of matches, with some fantastic playing – really full spectrum performances from both teams”.
“We are here not only to salute the professionalism and sportsmanship of the two teams, but I hope to reflect on the power of sporting links and friendships to bind countries together and to inspire,” she said.
“No less than me, our two cricket teams act as ambassadors for our nations and each of them is a powerful role model for young people across the globe at a time when it can be all too easy for our youth to lose their hope or to lose their way,” she added.
Bangladesh Cricket Board Vice President Mahbubul Anam termed the tour an ‘epic’ series between Bangladesh and England.
“Supporters of both sides have had their moments of despair and joy and the games have been played in true competitive and cricketing spirit,” he said.
He appreciated the support of the ECB and the British High Commission in Dhaka throughout the build-up to this series and making this tour happen.
“We are really appreciative of the support and through it all cricket has been the undisputed winner,” Anam said.