View Full Version : Bangladesh's day of reckoning

March 5, 2004, 08:53 AM
There was nothing in the Fatullah air that suggested it was a final day. You could even count the heads in the stands if you were in a mood to do so. The excited queues that had been a feature of this cricket-crazed venue had suddenly disappeared and there was almost a sense of aloofness on Bangladesh's biggest day of the tournament.

Various theories abounded as to why this was the case. One journalist suggested that the local student fanbase would be too busy sitting their Secondary School Certificate exams, which unfortunately started on the very same day. But somehow that wasn't a particularly convincing argument. After all, this was a match against the reigning Under-19 World Cup champions, Australia. Never mind that it was for the consolation final, the occasion ought to have been big enough to pack the stands, especially in Fatullah of all places.

The debate raged on in the press box as Bangladesh's openers strolled to the centre and started middling the ball from the word go. In fact, they were so dominant that it wasn't until the 25th over that the Aussies had their first real sniff of a wicket, when Stephen O'Keefe gleefully accepted a soft return catch off Nafis Iqbal. But Bangladesh, who had not been given a chance in the build-up, were suddenly in the driving seat … and the news spread fast.

Soon the drums were rolling in, flag- and placard-waving children and adults poured in to fill the vacant whiteness of the gallery, and normality was restored to Fatullah's image. And Bangladesh's young batsmen were rising to the occasion. The top three all hit half-centuries with Aftab Ahmed's 57 particularly entertaining, as he twice lofted the bowlers back over their heads for six. Their total of 257 for 9 was the kind of score that no side had successfully chased in the entire tournament.

Funnily enough, the lunchtime chatter in the press box was a reflection of Bangladesh's relaxed performance with the bat. In a little over 30 hours' time, this three-week jamboree would be over, and thoughts were turning to post-tournament activities. The ICC's effervescent media manager, Jon Long, whose left-arm spin had somehow skittled an unsuspecting Press Club XI in a so-called friendly match at the scenic DOHS park on Wednesday, was busy planning a "meet the Royal Bengal Tiger" excursion in the Sundarbans. It remains to be seen whether there will be press releases flowing from the jungle too.

The intensity soon picked up, however, as Shahadat Hossain Rajib, the 6ft 2ins tearaway from Narayanganj marked his 50-yard run up. He steams in like an express train and hurls down the ball from a slight angle with a partially open action. Every time he began his run, the drums started beating in a pulsating rhythm and those who didn't have an instrument to hand would join in with a clatter of empty mineral-water bottles. Just to return the compliment, the bowler, one of the fastest on show at the World Cup, shattered the stumps of Theo Doropoulos. The party was just warming up.

Enamul Haque jnr, one of the very few Test cricketers in the competition, then embarked on a mesmerising spell of flight and turn. Ken Skewes and Moses Henriques were beaten all ends up by balls that pitched outside leg and spat onto the stumps, and Australia were soon in desperate trouble at 103 for 5 in the 28th over.

But, inevitably, a fightback followed in true Aussie style (even though the perpetrators were Ahillen Beadle, a Bahraini by birth, and O'Keefe, who was born in Penang, Malaysia). The sixth-wicket partnership blossomed to alarming proportions, and suddenly there was unease in the stands. Catches were dropped, fumbles became more frequent, a few close run–out calls were ignored by the umpires, and for the first time in the competition, bottles and other objects rocketed over the barbed-wire fencing and onto the ground.

It took a sensational three wickets in four balls for the crowd to settle, as Beadle and O'Keefe were both run out after adding 125. But the danger was not over yet. Australia's captain, Tim Paine, came in with a runner and a limp, and duly belted Nadif Chowdhury for a six over deep midwicket. Australia needed 11 from the last over with Paine on strike.

Cometh the hour cometh the teenager. Enamul looped one up for the big heave and the captain Ashiqur Rahman took a brilliantly judged catch at midwicket under staggering pressure. With his next ball Enamul dragged Gary Putland out of his crease for a stumping, and the outpouring of passion was awesome. It was all too exciting for the local radio commentary, however, which packed up with an over to go ...

In the gallery and in the press enclosure, misty-eyed spectators congratulated each other – everyone had been on their feet for at least the last half-hour of the match. In the middle, the players huddled together and danced in a circle. As the Australians made their way to the dressing-room, a hearty applause erupted from the crowd. The Aussies had made a habit of praising the vanquished throughout the tournament. Here was a rare chance for Bangladesh to reciprocate.

It took quite a while for Bangladesh's Australian coach Richard McInnes to arrive for the post-match press conference. He had been hobnobbed by the minister for sports and almost the entire Bangladesh Cricket Board hierarchy. And the media too was warm in acknowledging his efforts – a far cry from events just two weeks back, when he stormed out of a briefing, vowing to take a journalist "outside" after Bangladesh had been eliminated from the Cup phase. Suddenly everything had been forgotten.

As we waited for the coach that would carry us back to Dhaka, the Bangladesh players were already sitting quietly aboard their team bus. Perhaps their achievement hadn't quite sunk in. They had overcome the youth team of the world's most scientifically nurtured cricket nation who enjoy the support of every possible facility and guidance mother earth has to offer. It was a massive statement of Bangladesh cricket's potential.

Rabeed Imam is senior sub-editor of the Daily Star in Dhaka.

Source: Cricinfo >>> (http://usa.cricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/CRICKET_NEWS/2004/MAR/085993_U19-WC2004_05MAR2004.html)

[Edited on 3-5-2004 by chinaman : Source added, ads removed]

March 5, 2004, 10:58 AM
Rabeed Imam should get some props for writing well on crickinfo. Gone are the sorry days of Shahriyar what-was-his-name. Hope to see more from Rabeed on upcoming Bangladesh series, at least at home.

March 5, 2004, 11:14 AM
I like his writing too. Nice piece.

March 5, 2004, 11:17 AM
Great Article.

Make sure you click cricinfo and visit the article. It will make cricinfo aware of the interest in BD cricket out there. And they will be pushed to cover BD cricket more.

March 5, 2004, 11:29 AM
I wonder if the Aussies consider McInnis a hero or a viliian.

March 5, 2004, 11:31 AM
A little hyperbolic but I do like the way he turns his phrases.

Hey, after a much needed win I too could wax lyrical. :)

- Z

March 5, 2004, 11:31 AM
The guy did his job well. Thats all. They don't have ajaira time to think about him.

March 5, 2004, 01:53 PM
Originally posted by pagol-chagol
ajaira. :D

[Edited on 5-3-2004 by billah]

March 5, 2004, 02:46 PM
lol. unlike us, we all have an incredible amount of ajaira time! Must get life priorities back in order!!

March 5, 2004, 03:17 PM
Originally posted by rafiq
lol. unlike us, we all have an incredible amount of ajaira time! Must get life priorities back in order!!

My life priorities are to maximize ajaira time - ajiara time, ajira adda - na thakley bangali na

March 5, 2004, 03:54 PM
Damn it feels good to read that article! I cant remember a time when a reporter wrote so well and so positively about us:)

March 5, 2004, 04:08 PM
Loved it! we need some positive writing about Bangladesh Cricket! and we need a presencce like Rabeed Imam on Wisden. Hope he continues to write for cricinfo about Bangladesh Cricket.

March 6, 2004, 01:19 AM
He also wrote one for the opening ceramony... didn't he?

March 6, 2004, 02:38 AM

Oh Yeahhhhhhhhhhh


March 6, 2004, 04:57 AM
Welcome back!
You always predicted Bangladesh would beat Australia

March 6, 2004, 06:55 PM
Oh yeah


Thanks for remembering my prediction....

Let me tell you this --- This win is only the beginning.....

Recently I visited Bangladesh and saw cricket being played in remote villages. Batsmen are facing fast bowlers without guards and in some cases, even without pads and gloves......

Poverty can limit so many things, but not passion ---- passion knows no limitations

Bangladesh is certainly a country to be taken seriously as far as cricket is concerned.......

(Tehsin Bhai, Rajputro, rafiq, fwullah, pompous and all ...... SHOBAI BHALO ACHEN TO? AMI ACHI EKROKOM...)

March 6, 2004, 07:30 PM
welcome back sir! we missed you :) I missed your positive outlook... your never-say-die attitude :)

March 12, 2004, 02:32 AM
People like you have always inspired me. Now tell me, are you enjoying Bangladesh cricket at the moment?

I bet you are. This time is only the beginning of our long journey towards success. Cricket is our sport. IT IS OUR SPORT. After 10 or 12 years, it will probably be known as 'A BANGLADESHI SPORT'.

The wins will start adding up, and then they will start multiplying. Every other country will be nervous when playing against Bangladesh.

Why? Because of the intense passion. The passion that is within the players, within the fans and observers around the world. The passion is too much to ignore. This is the only sport we play well..... on an international level.... that is why.

Oh yeah....

March 12, 2004, 03:21 AM
Doorbin bhai, apnake janacchi antorik shubechha. Since you have been gone we have had many changes. Wickets continue to fall but these days they happen to belong to our opponents as often as they happen to be ours.

And in the villages of Bengal they are facing fast bowlers sometimes even without a bat! Like that lone protestor in front of the tank in Tianamen Square, our boys are standing up to anything hurled at them! Shabash Bangali!

[Edited on 12-3-2004 by rafiq]

March 12, 2004, 11:54 AM
Hi, where've you been? Nice to see you again.

March 13, 2004, 12:12 AM
Yes, yes, I was lost for a while, but back again


But trust me, DOORBIN is always there, where Bangla Cricket is

Look for me there, I will be there, somewhere around

I love the Bangla cricket crowd.... there is really something special in that crowd

The enthusiasm, the creativity in the comments, the remarks, the accuracy in analysis and observations....

bangla cricket fans are the best
simply the best

March 13, 2004, 12:17 AM

When are you writing your next article? I remember your first article was a superhit.

Oh yeah

I tell you this --- this is an excellent time to write another one

Many many readers are waiting to read ....
To read on Bangla Cricket.


March 13, 2004, 12:21 AM
Doorbin Bhai,

Excellent to see you back! Even though "Just one win, as predicted by Doorbin, in the city of Darwin" did not quite materialize, the long wait has made the recent win just as satisfying.

Shobai bolo--Oh yeah!

March 13, 2004, 12:43 AM
deshi bhai,

Good to see that you are around as well...

This banglacricket seems to have only entry point ..... no exit

It's such a fun environment in the net
The attraction is simply too much to ignore

:D:D :drool::drool: