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mahbubH
June 19, 2005, 04:45 AM
Rabeed Imam

June 19, 2005



There are billboards that can be spotted all over Dhaka showing a relaxed Dav Whatmore holding a credit card of a certain bank. The caption says, 'What more do you need?' Well, if it was about convincing the cricket world that Bangladesh deserve a spot in the elite category, then after June 18, you can say that they need to prove far less.

As a matter of fact, some things will never revisit Bangladesh's cricket again after Saturday's events at Sophia Gardens. For a start, Australians and others might think twice before taking the same stance as Richie Benaud, Shane Warne and Kim Hughes in ridiculing the Tigers. Cricket pundits, who do not feel the need to do groundwork while analysing teams like Bangladesh, will take extra care so that their columns do not end in complete embarrassment. And there is a pretty good chance that the English media, which at times made the Bangladeshis feel as if touring England was their fault, might become their biggest admirers.

Better still, if you ever hear another call for Bangladesh to be banned from international cricket, it may not be louder than a furtive whisper. You can also rest assured that next time legends like Sunil Gavaskar sit to select a world or an Asian XI, they will think twice before picking a Rana Naved-ul-Hasan over a Mashrafe Mortaza on the pretext of never having heard the name.

Hopefully, the ICC will now show some common sense and dispense with a ranking system that does not tell even half the truth. Kenya and the present Zimbabwe side simply do not have the right to stay above Bangladesh. Kenya's World Cup heroics happened two years ago. Let it remain as history. Zimbabwe's records over the last couple of years do not measure up to that of Bangladesh during the same period.

Too many people judge Bangladesh on pre-conceived, often misinformed, ideas without digging a little deeper. Perhaps that also works in Bangladesh's favour as opposing teams are not remotely aware of the sting they possess. With the conquest of Australia, Bangladesh have won five out of their last nine one-day internationals and the prey list include both finalists of the 2003 World Cup.

Each of those five victories have been achieved through clinical execution of the term professionalism, and look no further than the Cardiff epic for confirmation of that. They were also ruthlessly single-minded about the job on hand - exactly like the model the Australian team follows, and the rest of the world is trying to emulate. Two years ago, a Bangladesh side would have been content in just playing out the 50 overs against the world champions, not this lot. And they picked the right time and the right team to topple.

Winning against a high-flying England side would have been fantastic but the impact would not have been as great. Australia are clearly the ultimate benchmark and by outplaying them, Bangladesh have sent a message - never underestimate raw and uninhibited talent. The Bangladesh team had and still has utmost respect for the Australians. But during their 2003 tour Down Under, they understood that the McGraths and the Gillespies were as human as they were.

Yesterday, Mortaza and Tapash Baisya gave them the little incentive to transform dreams into belief while Mohammad Ashraful, Habibul Bashar and Aftab Ahmed turned that into reality. No surprises there, if you know what goes through the minds of the current Bangladesh cricketers.

Ashraful is often more at war with himself than against opposing bowlers. If he is in the correct frame of mind, he is capable of ruling any attack in the world. The hundred he scored showed the real Ashraful, the insipid dismissals on the tour prior to that was the work of the ghost he just can't get rid of. Aftab does not give a damn about who he is playing against. To him, taking on Harmison or McGrath is no different than tackling the quickie from the other neighbourhood on the streets of Chittagong. But there is no arrogance there, just an honest faith in own ability and characteristic indifference to aura or reputation.

No bowling line-up has managed to restrict Bashar endlessly. Sooner or later, he has found a way to get on top and he has never been concerned with big names; his records speak for him. Ask Mohammad Rafique who he hit for a six at the Oval and he would struggle to remember the name. He is the most natural cricketer you will ever come across and overawed is a word that is missing from his dictionary. Mortaza is like a talisman. We all know how McGrath targets one batsman in every series. What we don't know is Mortaza does the same and more often than not, gets his man. Just ask Rahul Dravid and Graham Thorpe.

These are just a few names that represent the attitude of the present day Tigers, who are not afraid of anybody. India and Australia have found that out to their horror. Soon it could be the turn of England, who knows? A bit of sunshine, a back to the wall situation and this could happen again. Interestingly, reaction to Bangladesh's triumphs also signifies the changing times.

Sure there were people jumping on the streets in Dhaka around mid-night on Saturday. Jubilant youths were spraying paint on passing cars without the drivers minding too much. A profusely sweating teenager was claiming with tears of joy in his eyes that the Tigers' ODI shirt he was wearing was a gift from Mortaza. Ashraful's humble abode was being mobbed by well-wishers and regular television programmes were giving way to impromptu bulletins and replays of Bangladesh's greatest cricketing moment.

But, the scenes were not any more elaborate than the outpouring of passion experienced after the win against India or the Test series victory over Zimbabwe. Bangladeshis it seems are getting used to winning - a mighty statement and the gut feeling is it is one I won't live to regret.&

© Cricinfo

mahbubH
June 19, 2005, 04:45 AM
Great read. Thanks RAB.

This makes the win complete!!

Rubayed
June 19, 2005, 06:05 PM
Great work by Rabeed Imam although it would have been better if the full article was in cricinfo, but i must add that i personally dont c any problem of selecting Rana Naved-ul-Hasan over a Mashrafe Mortaza. BUT!!! if Sunil Gavaskar had never heard of Mashrafe Mortaza then he shouldnt have had been one of the selectors on the first place. Shame on u sunny!

AsifTheManRahman
June 19, 2005, 06:10 PM
wait a second. where did you get the naked version?

and also, why was it clothed on cricinfo in the first place?

DotBall
June 19, 2005, 09:26 PM
Didn't know Sunny was so cloudy of the cricket field. A great like him to make a comment of not knowing Masrafee is a disappointment for himself.

cricketboy
June 19, 2005, 09:42 PM
Great article again Rabeed Imam Bhai. Keep up the good work. :up:

Edited on, June 20, 2005, 2:42 AM GMT, by cricketboy.

insideedge
June 19, 2005, 10:22 PM
Rabeed Imam is a great writer. However I think he has got carried over in euphoria like most fans. To attribute statements to Gavaskar which no one has ever heard of is uncalled for. Of course he has heard of Mashrafe, but how can one say that Rana Naveed was not as good as Mashrafe? He was the best bowler for Pakistan in ODIs against Australia and India and his selection was based on that.

Also, he seems to suggest that the win over Australia was preplanned and he saw it coming. It was an upset- the biggest ODI upset of all time, in fact and such events cannot be foreseen- if he saw it coming- then why did not he tell us about it beforehand.

RBTiger
June 20, 2005, 12:45 AM
Originally posted by insideedge
Rabeed Imam is a great writer. However I think he has got carried over in euphoria like most fans. To attribute statements to Gavaskar which no one has ever heard of is uncalled for. Of course he has heard of Mashrafe, but how can one say that Rana Naveed was not as good as Mashrafe? He was the best bowler for Pakistan in ODIs against Australia and India and his selection was based on that.

Also, he seems to suggest that the win over Australia was preplanned and he saw it coming. It was an upset- the biggest ODI upset of all time, in fact and such events cannot be foreseen- if he saw it coming- then why did not he tell us about it beforehand.

Agreed. Sounds more patriotic emotions that journalism. He must have gotten carried away a little bit. With a win like this, can't really blame him much. But Rana Naved is a very good bowler and, no matter how much we love our MM, it is not a scientific fact that he is better than Rana. Anyway, MM is great and I hope he will only be better with experience.

BushidoTiger
June 20, 2005, 02:12 AM
Its funny how different people can come away with different conclusions from reading same article!
By mentioning Mashrafe (vs. Rana Naved), in my opinion, he was just making a point against how BD players are barely thought of when an international XI is considered.
He might as well have mentioned Bashar, Tapash or any other player from BD team to compare with any other Johnny Cricketer from another coutry. The comparison of players was probably a mechanism to make his case on the topic.
While the patriot overture coloring his view could be a moot point, the intention of the article is all about lack of respect for the Tigers from the peanut gallery (mainly from a handful of extra virulent writers).
I never had the impression that the article lacked journalistic excellence that is not atypical of this particular authorís writing. He was merely elaborating and building his case in support of his claim.
Another excellent read on BD Tigersí getting respect (mainly lack thereof) is done by Andrew Miller at Cricinfo after the historic win against the Aussies and is a great supplement to the same topic.
Just my 2 centavos...

capslock
June 20, 2005, 02:35 AM
A well written, but biased article, the Andrew Miller one is better.

Rabz
June 20, 2005, 04:56 AM
great article..and i agree with Bushido Tiger...

it was just his mere comparison, not necessarily with N_U_R....if you could see when he (R Imam) wrote " a Naved ur rana"....

i guess he meant what BT said...against some International players....

and R Imam have every right to write such an article...

its time for us to bite back....
and to do that..we need some great articles like that...
what happned when ppl like warne, benaud or huges uttered some crap out of their mind ....??? it made to world headlines....

we need few more articles like this to shut them up...
so that they would think twice about saying anything against bangladesh or other minnows for that sake...

but the best part of the article was " Better still, if you ever hear another call for Bangladesh to be banned from international cricket, it may not be louder than a furtive whisper"

yes..he got carried way...and so he should be...

goodonya Imam bhai....