On first reading that is a massively patronising question; after all New Zealand ended up winning all eight internationals on this tour, but it also took advantage of the obstacles the tourists faced. Their first tests away from home for over two years, the unfamiliar conditions, a bizarre trail of injuries, and a wretched time with the toss in the games that mattered the most never made it easy.
And that’s not even taking the extreme weather into account.
In all eight matches on tour Bangladesh were in with a sniff, in all eight they lost their poise once the lack of experience showed.
On the third morning of the first test New Zealand was starting off in reply to a total of 595/8 dec. Jeet Raval edged one into the slip cordon early and was dropped. There were audible groans from the crowd.
There was a unifying feeling that we wanted Bangladesh to do well. And that is pretty much unique when it comes to New Zealand sport. From a local fan’s point of view you could argue that was a win-win.
For two days the tourists had not moaned about 140kph winds, then batted so positively on the second afternoon. We realised they didn’t get this chance often, and we wanted them to be rewarded for it, despite obviously wanting the NZ team to do well.
And their media took a tour to New Zealand more seriously than anyone else had.
Before the tour started there was moaning about how it’s always Bangladesh that tours here, which was interesting given how they had not toured New Zealand since 2010, and that was for a one-off test. Every other side had toured New Zealand since then, some of them twice.
If New Zealand treats them like this, then who is going to foster their development?
One telling stat is that Shakib Al Hasan, 45 tests, and for a lengthy period of time ranked the world’s best test all-rounder, has yet to play Australia.
Then there were the injuries, highlighted by the aftermath of the Basin test. Their keeper also their skipper, best opening batsman and best middle-order batsman were all invalided out of the tour. Cheap cricket analysis would say that’s the Tigers gone; no depth. But that was not the case. The debutantes gave a pretty good account of themselves in Christchurch.
You could, also patronisingly, suggest they were plucky even. But not over five days, because to learn that contest that takes time.
Take Taskin Ahmed for example. OK, he now has a test bowling average of 179, but he was a constant threat, and not helped by his colleagues’ fielding. Given decent test cricket away from Asia, that will improve. Similarly, Nurul Hasan also had a pretty handy debut.
The two tests were similar in that it was all going so well for the tourists, despite losing the toss, until batting in their second innings even when there were no issues with the batting conditions. This was no surprise; test cricket is its own beast, and if you are not familiar with playing the form it will be fatigue and a lack of experience that will get you.
While some of their play then was awful there is an argument that a lack of experience was the factor there. New Zealand fans should not get smug; remember the 2004 tour of England.
Bangladesh offered a lot over this last month. Please come back sooner next time.