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Old March 21, 2014, 07:45 AM
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Roni_uk Roni_uk is offline
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Default Why Bangladesh party could be last hurrah for cricket's minnows

By Jonathan Liew, Chittagong


From the air, Bangladesh looks a pretty unpromising place. Tin-roofed slum houses stud the horizon like tiles in a mosaic; mangroves wilt under a hot and heavy sun. But at street level, it teems with life and throbs with colour.

The faces of Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal beam from 60ft billboards at the roadside; every lamp-post is festooned in World Twenty20 placards bearing the slogan “Catch it if you can”; any patch of bare ground is good for a game. It is here, and not in the quiet side streets of St John’s Wood or the air-conditioned corridors of Dubai, that the soul of modern cricket most faithfully resides.


The Bangladeshi government has spent around £40 million on hosting it, a princely sum in a nation where most people survive on less than £2 a day. Factories have been shut and shops told to close early in order to avoid power cuts at the stadiums. Tickets, some as cheap as 50 taka (39p), sold out within days of going on sale. This will be a tournament for everyone.


With money now set to flow upwards, so will the game’s fulcrum. Countries like Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe are already struggling to pay their players enough to keep them interested. Meanwhile, it is not impossible that Bangladesh’s first global tournament as sole host will also be their last. If this seems overly melodramatic, then consider the venues of the next five scheduled ICC tournaments: Australia, India, England, Australia and India. And all this because Misbah-ul-Haq failed to clear short fine leg.

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