2020 could've been a year to remember for Bangladesh cricket. Earlier in the year, Bangladesh won the ICC Under-19 World Cup for the first time. Despite losing the only Test and the T20 series in the team's tour to Pakistan, the Tigers thumped Zimbabwe at home.
Bangladesh were supposed to play 10 Tests in 2020, the most in a year for them. A lot of series and tournaments were scheduled. But due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the world came to a standstill. Cricketers had to stay away from cricket for a very long time.
As the year winds down, let us look at some of the important events of Bangladesh cricket that took place in 2020.
Youngsters conquer the world
Winning the ICC Under-19 World Cup is undoubtedly the greatest point in the history of Bangladesh cricket. Bangladesh beat India in the final to clinch their maiden ICC title in February earlier this year.
Skipper Akbar Ali, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Shoriful Islam, Towhid Hridoy were among the players who played crucial roles in the stellar campaign and became part of the history.
Liton Das' magnum opus
Before the Tigers took on Zimbabwe in March this year, Tamim Iqbal's 154 in Bulawayo was the highest individual score by a Bangladesh batsman in ODIs. The southpaw himself bettered his record by scoring 158 against the same opposition. But the record didn't even stand for three days.
On March 6, Liton Das made the record of his own. The right-handed batsman smashed 176 off only 143 deliveries. He struck 16 fours and eight sixes in that innings. Tamim watched Liton better his record from the non-striker's end.
Mashrafe Mortaza's swansong
By that time, there had been a lot of speculation regarding his captaincy. Before the third and final ODI of the three-match series against Zimbabwe in Sylhet, Mashrafe Mortaza announced that he would step down from ODI captaincy after the match.
Bangladesh outplayed Zimbabwe in that match and Mashrafe recorded his 50th ODI win as skipper. Tamim Iqbal, who later would succeed Mashrafe, and the other teammates carried Mashrafe on their shoulders after the match.
Tamim Iqbal succeeds Mashrafe
Shakib Al Hasan taking over the ODI captaincy from Mashrafe Mortaza would've been certain had he not been banned by the ICC. Mushfiqur Rahim did not show any interest in undertaking the role. And many in the board did not want Mahmudullah to be the captain.
So Tamim Iqbal was the only person the BCB could entrust the captaincy with. Initially, he was too not interested. But he agreed to lead the ODI side after he had got long term assurance for long term captaincy. The BCB named Tamim Iqbal the ODI skipper two days after Mashrafe stepped down.
Resumption of domestic cricket
Only one round of the Dhaka Premier League (DPL), the most competitive domestic competition in the country, was held before all cricketing activities were suspended because of Covid-19. Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL) and National Cricket League (NCL), the longer version tournaments, did not take place as well.
Cricketers had to stay away from the action for almost four months before the BCB gave permission for individual practice on July 19. Cricket returned to Mirpur after as many as 199 days through a practice match. Competitive cricket resumed a week later with the BCB President's Cup.
International series affected by Covid-19
Covid-19 caused disruption to cricket all over the world with a number of series and tournament getting cancelled. Bangladesh were due to play an away series against Sri Lanka but after a lot of drama, the series was postponed indefinitely. Home series against Australia and New Zealand were also postponed. Bangladesh were also scheduled to tour Pakistan for a Test and an ODI but that did not happen either.
The series against Ireland was also cancelled. Bangladesh could play only two Tests, three ODIs and four T20Is. This is the first time since 1995 that Bangladesh played three ODIs or less in a year. Bangladesh are supposed to return to international cricket through the upcoming home series against the West Indies.
The return of Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan was banned by ICC for two years, with one year of it suspended, after he had accepted three charges of breaching the Anti-Corruption Code of the ICC and became eligible to play cricket on October 28.
He returned to action after 408 days through the Bangabandhu T20 Cup. Playing for Gemcon Khulna, he scored only 110 runs in nine matches at an average of 12 and with the ball, he picked up six wickets in nine games.
He capped off the year by being named in the ICC's ODI Men's team of the decade, being the only Bangladeshi player to do so.
Missing out on a lot of Test cricket
Bangladesh do not usually play a lot of Test cricket. But the year 2020 presented them with a chance to play ten Tests, the most for Bangladesh in a year. But unfortunately, Bangladesh could play only two and missed out on the rest because of Covid-19. Bangladesh were beaten by Pakistan in one but won against Zimbabwe in the other.