Bangladesh celebrates victorious WI tour

DHAKA: Cricketing minnows Bangladesh on Sunday celebrated the team's victorious tour of the West Indies, with the government hailing the players as national heroes.

After winning both Test matches, they also won all three one-day internationals.

Newspapers described the tour as one of the finest moments in the country's sporting history. "West Indies Bangla-washed", gloated the Bengali daily Amar Desh.

The Prothom Alo daily equated the performance of captain Shakib Al Hasan's side to that of Don Bradman's Australian team, which was dubbed "The Invincibles" after remaining unbeaten through an eight-month tour of England in 1948.

Millions of cricket-mad Bangladeshis stayed awake until early Saturday to watch the final one-day match, and victory brought cheering crowds onto the streets of the capital Dhaka.

"They are our golden boys and they have made us proud," sports minister Ahad Ali said. "We hope... they would score wins against all the major teams. There will be no going back for our cricket."

Bangladesh's Test status has been under constant review since it joined the circuit in 2000, but now it can boast a series victory over former giants West Indies -- who were badly hit by a players' boycott.

The government said it would hold a welcome-home party for players when they return after a one-day series in Zimbabwe later this month.

West Indies fielded a depleted side after 13 players, including captain Chris Gayle, boycotted the Test and one-day series because of a contract dispute with the West Indies board.

The two sides play a Twenty20 match later on Sunday to complete the tour.