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chinaman
October 20, 2003, 03:30 AM
By Phil Long
Our man with the Barmy Army in Bangladesh

After a single week, England's first tour of this fascinating country has been every bit as exciting, nerve-wracking and eye-opening as the small band of supporters expected.

When it took me three hours in the pouring rain to cross the border I began to wonder whether I'd see a single ball.

By the way, the delay wasn't due to the unfavourable weather conditions but the fact I was the first British person to cross the border here since 2 February.

Two eight-hour bus journeys later (via Bogra - mosquito capital of Asia) I was in cheap and cheerful hotel just an overthrow away from the Bangabhandu Stadium.

Two minutes after finishing my breakfast of omelette, paratha (local flat bread) and the ubiquitous tomato ketchup I was accosted by touts offering me tickets for the opening game - some at a 40% mark-up.

Before you consider relocating to Dhaka to make a million, the cheapest tickets were priced at five takka (less than six pence) per day.

Despite this, at least one Englishman was seen marching to the ticket office with a stiff upper lip, refusing to line the pockets of the touts!

On the steps our lack of Bangla and the locals' broken English meant our conversations were basic but the passion for the forthcoming Test series was quickly apparent.

In the gallery local vendors are allowed to wander amongst the fans, so we waded into the local grub, drinks and, more gingerly, the ice-creams with aplomb.

England's final warm-up game was, we were reliably informed, on the outskirts of Dhaka.

This proved to be a less than accurate as even after a 90- minute early morning bus journey we were still no nearer finding the ground.

We took little persuasion to leap on the back of a cycle rickshaw fitted with a trailer.

Unfortunately, the poor driver was almost overwhelmed by six burly Englishman on the back and at times he was forced into asking his unusual cargo for a push.

After forty minutes on board we still appeared no closer the venue and it took an auto-rickshaw to get us to the venue an hour late.

A meandering game was dramatically brought to life when hundreds of spectators ran from the spot where we had sat the previous day.

When the braver locals started slamming the ground with chairs it became clear that some sort of snake had been spotted.

When it turned out to be a four-and-a-half foot king cobra that had been killed we became far more circumspect it choosing our viewing positions.

And finally to the Dhaka traffic.

The last thing you want after a day at the cricket is a long journey home through the smoke and fumes of a city commonly recognised as the world's most polluted.

Unfortunately, local buses offer no protection against the fumes and sitting in endless traffic jams only adds to the feeling your life expectancy is dropping by the minute.

It is part of the experience of travelling out here but thank goodness the Test match is only across the road.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39469000/jpg/_39469852_phil_packed_street.jpg
Dhaka is one of the world's most polluted cities


http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39469000/jpg/_39469818_phil_flump_cycle.jpg
The poor rickshaw driver was almost overwhelmed by six burly Englishman on the back and was forced to ask for a push


http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39469000/jpg/_39469816_phil_match_food.jpg
There is plenty of food on offer in the cheap seats

Source (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/cricket/ban_v_eng_2003/3205256.stm)

chinaman
October 20, 2003, 03:32 AM
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39366000/jpg/_39366686_barmy_chest.jpg

Bare chests will not go down well during Ramadan

chinaman
October 20, 2003, 03:35 AM
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39468000/jpg/_39468212_bangabhandu203.jpg

The Bangabhandu Stadium is now home to the Bangladesh team

chinaman
October 20, 2003, 03:38 AM
http://www.bangladeshhighcommission.org.uk/tourism/images/_sangsad-bhaban.jpg

National Assembly Complex

chinaman
October 20, 2003, 03:40 AM
http://www.bangladeshhighcommission.org.uk/tourism/images/_coxs_bazar.gif

Cox’s Bazar, the longest (120 km) stretch of beach in the world

James90
October 20, 2003, 03:43 AM
Looks fascinating but I don't think I'll be going there any time soon

chinaman
October 20, 2003, 04:03 AM
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39471000/jpg/_39471454_mann_whatmore203.jpg

Under Whatmore Bangladesh have improved greatly

chinaman
October 20, 2003, 05:19 AM
At your age, Habibul_fan, Shane Warne came to Pakistan to learn from Abdul Qadir.

chinaman
October 20, 2003, 05:40 AM
http://eur.news1.yimg.com/eur.yimg.com/xp/afpji/20031020/031020100816.0696bkn82b.jpg

Monday October 20, 11:08 AM
"We have worked hard preparing for this tour. Our physical fitness has improved and we are ready for the humid conditions," said Vaughan, who has a Test captainship record of two wins and as many losses in four Tests. AFP/Farjana K.

chinaman
October 20, 2003, 05:41 AM
http://eur.news1.yimg.com/eur.yimg.com/xp/afpji/20031020/031020103807.5nrce4en1b.jpg

Monday October 20, 11:38 AM
England and Bangladesh have so far figured in only one international fixture, when England scored an eight-wicket triumph on way to the quarterfinals of the ICC Champions Trophy in Nairobi three years ago AFP/Farjana K.

chinaman
October 20, 2003, 05:42 AM
http://eur.news1.yimg.com/eur.yimg.com/xp/afpji/20031020/031020103807.5nrce4en0b.jpg

Monday October 20, 11:38 AM
"The wicket seems to be a batting turf and we hope our batsmen do a fine job. The spinners also might get some help so we should be putting up a good show," Mahmud said AFP/Farjana K.

Sami
October 20, 2003, 08:04 AM
Hilarious article :) and great pictures :) Specially the stadium... miss it soooooooo much :(

chinaman
October 20, 2003, 08:15 AM
http://eur.news1.yimg.com/eur.yimg.com/xp/ap_photo/20031020/all/l956430.jpg

Monday October 20, 12:31 PM
Bangladesh cricket team captain Khaled Mahmud walks back to pavilion after a practice session in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Monday, Oct. 20, 2003. The first cricket test match between England and Bangladesh is scheduled to begin on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

chinaman
October 20, 2003, 08:16 AM
http://eur.news1.yimg.com/eur.yimg.com/xp/ap_photo/20031020/all/l956429.jpg

Monday October 20, 12:30 PM
Members of England cricket team play during practice session in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Monday, Oct. 20, 2003. The first cricket test match between England and Bangladesh is scheduled to begin on Oct. 21. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

chinaman
October 20, 2003, 08:17 AM
http://eur.news1.yimg.com/eur.yimg.com/xp/ap_photo/20031020/all/l956416.jpg

Monday October 20, 12:14 PM
England test cricket captain Michael Vaughan plays a stroke using water bottle as a bat during a practice session in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Monday, Oct. 20, 2003. The first cricket test match between England and Bangladesh is scheduled to begin on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

chinaman
October 20, 2003, 08:22 AM
http://www-usa.cricket.org/link_to_database/PICTURES/DB/102003/047176.jpg

Bangabandhu's staircase, Dhaka

chinaman
October 20, 2003, 08:26 AM
http://www-usa.cricket.org/link_to_database/PICTURES/DB/102003/047165.jpg

Mac Dudhia CEO Bangladesh Cricket Board and Tim Khumalo UCB African Affairs Representative