This is the first time in 21 years that Bangladesh is playing a Test match and it’s not being broadcast in the country. The last time it happened was during the Asian Test Championship in 2001.
Two decades back, TV and radio were the only ways to broadcast a live cricket match. But times have changed now. People worldwide and even in Bangladesh watch live sporting events on online streaming platforms.
People in Bangladesh have the option to watch the Test series using ICC’s streaming platform. But there is a catch. To watch the two-Test series, the fans will have to pay a meagre subscription fee of $2. But they have to pay the fee using an international credit card, which majority of the country’s cricket fans don’t have.
The irony of naming a series after Padma Bridge, showing photos and videos of it and publicising it as one of the greatest achievements of the country and then not have it broadcast in the country is ironic, almost satirical.
Had Bangladesh performed well on the opening day, the fan outcry about the TV blackout would be difficult to handle for the board.
But the cricketers saved the board from the hassle by getting all out for just 103 runs in their first innings of the Antigua Test.
The Bangladeshi batters are showing consistency, just not in the right things. For example, this was the second straight Test in which six Bangladesh batsmen were dismissed for ducks in one innings. Bangladesh is the only cricketing nation to ‘boast’ of this sort of consistency in ducks in the 145-year history of Test cricket.
Moreover, this was only the seventh time in Test history that six batters in one innings got dismissed for ducks. Bangladesh tops this list of ignominy as their batsmen have done this on three separate occasions, while India, Pakistan, South Africa and Australia have suffered this fate only once.
To be fair, the Tigers have actually shown improvement from their previous Test at the venue. In 2018, Bangladesh were bundled out for just 43 runs in the first innings at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in Antigua, their lowest ever total in Tests.
Bangladesh went to the Caribbean islands this time with hopes of putting forth a much improved performance in the Test series. Managing to somehow cross the 100-run threshold might not be much of an improvement, but it’s at least a step at the right direction.
If the Tigers don’t turn things around in the ongoing Test the fans could very well choose to ignore the match and bury their heads in the sand.
The rights holders for the series Total Sports, a Bangladeshi sports marketing company, are also negotiating with a couple of Bangladeshi TV channels. So, the TV blackout could end before the next Test or even during the first Test.
But even if the match gets broadcast on TV, if the Tigers don’t turn things around in the ongoing Test the fans could very well choose to ignore the match and bury their heads in the sand.