Bangladesh may not be ranked 10, below newcomers Afghanistan, in Test cricket in the latest update of the ICC Test rankings.
But in reality, Bangladesh have had a rating of 55 and Afghanistan easily beat Bangladesh in Mirpur in the last and only time they met in Tests.
With the latest ICC rankings update, which has New Zealand on top for the first time in their cricket history, the position of Bangladesh has once again caught the eye of many fans and the media.
And that begs the question, did people actually forget about Bangladesh's ranking position in Tests in the meantime?
More importantly, do people really care about the longer format and the most prestigious format of the game?
Cricket advisor at BKSP, Nazmul Abedeen Fahim tells The Business Standard (TBS) that the players are more interested in playing limited-overs cricket as that gets more attention and media coverage and also has better pay: "The players have the mentality now to just play limited-overs cricket as it is more viable. We are not thinking about the longer format cricket. The board, players or media are not interested in Test cricket as it is not commercially viable."
Former national team captain Shahriar Nafees tells TBS that Bangladesh have traditionally been a team that's been focused in 50-over cricket: "Our Test cricket gets less attention to be honest. From its inception, Bangladesh cricket has been centred around the Dhaka Premier League. After that, our plan was to do well in the ICC Trophy. That's how we got to the World Cup. And let's not forget, that our performance in the 1999 World Cup played a massive part in us getting the Test status. The attention we give one day cricket should happen in Tests as well. We have proven that we can do well with proper planning in ODIs so the same can happen for us in Tests."
Longer format cricket should have started by now
While cricket has returned to Bangladesh via the BCB President's Cup and the Bangabandhu T20 Cup, red-ball cricket in the domestic level has no started yet.
Bangladesh are due to play the West Indies later this month with three ODIs and then two Tests coming up.
With no sign of the longer version tournaments, NCL and BCL and nothing announced from the BCB yet, one has to wonder if Bangladesh will be prepared enough.
However, the hosts will start off as favourites, especially as 10 players from the Windies have decided against touring citing Covid and security concerns.
That will give Bangladesh a chance to gain points in the ICC Test rankings and also in the ICC Test Championship.
The latter will be important to keep Bangladesh afloat in the ICC Test Championship and overtake the visitors if they win 2-0 as the last team in this tournament gets knocked out.
Fahim believes that longer format cricket, like the NCL or BCL, should have started first: "Longer format should have been the one to resume cricket. That would have helped the players realise too, where their game is right now. They would have a better understanding of what to do and how to get better. The board should have realised that. Maybe they might have to pay the price for it. The confidence of the players would have been higher. It would have been good if the longer format cricket started alongside the international series. The younger players from the U-19 World Cup-winning team that got in would have been better prepared."
Fahim further added: "You don't need to have a full-fledged NCL or BCL, it could be a tournament with four teams but getting the players out there playing red-ball cricket would be better for the players and help them prepare better."
Nafees thinks that the best players will come from the longer version cricket and uses former South Africa player AB de Villiers as an example of a player that has succeeded in all formats of cricket: "AB de Villiers can score 100 from 40 balls and 40 from 300 balls because he's a good Test player. If you can play Tests well, you can do well in any format."
He also believes that the quality of players in the domestic scene have gotten better, but there is still room for improvement from all parties involved: "We want to NCL and BCL to be the number one tournament. The planning has to be there. I believe there is a plan but there is a lot of room for improvement. The players are improving. See the number of centuries they are scoring and the individual bowling performances. It's increasing."
The future can be bright
It can be debated whether the players are interested in playing Test cricket with Fahim thinking that the players are more interested in playing the shorter formats where the money and recognition is much greater than that in red-ball cricket.
Fahim also believes that the focus needs to shift towards Test cricket and soon for the betterment of Bangladesh cricket overall: "We seem to not be concerned about Test cricket. It feels like that's not in our plans to get better overall. It's one thing to get better in rankings but the improvement needs to happen overall, in the system. We are concerned about the T20 World Cup and the 50 over World Cup but the best cricketers will only come from the longer format cricket. That is where the real improvement happens so we are missing out."
Nafees also feels that players want to play Tests but the motivation from fans, media coverage and the financial benefits needed improving: "While the players want to play, the motivation needs to come from all ends to enable them to focus more on longer version cricket. That needs to happen from the media, the fans and of course the cricketing structure. The future can be very bright if we use our resources properly. Bangladesh can become a top five-ranked Test team in the next five years."
But in all honesty, Bangladesh are still a long way off the mark since 20 years of being in Test cricket and a major reason for that has been the lack of care and attention given towards the most elite version of the game.
The attention has been on the exclusion of Mashrafe Mortaza being left out of the ODI squad but it really should be on how the players are preparing for the Tests with no longer format cricket under their belts since cricket resumed in Bangladesh.
Red ball cricket is in the red zone and a lot of work needs to be done to make matters better.