The Cinderella story is a classic. It has the four elements that anyone can graft relevance. First, it is Cinderella, who is hardworking, soft-spoken and most importantly, humble natured resembles the underdog - the good natured people. Then there are the wicked sisters and the witchlike step mother, who stands for all that are mean, evil and wretched. The fairy god mother is the blessing and guidance; the great ballroom event is the final showdown between good and the evil. And the prince, who Cinderella weds is the final prize - the fourth element. Relevance of the Cinderella story is almost uncanny for Bangladesh cricket, especially at the backdrop of the recent attempts by ICC to restrict Bangladesh to play limited number of tests along with the two-tier test cricket fable.
Cinderella is all about hard work, patience, humility and winning everyone's heart. Bangladesh as a cricket team has faltered at times, but the hard work has been persistent; patience for success (especially, the fans) has been enormous; and humility unparallel. Rafiq, Bashar and so many of them have already proved and re-proved that they can win hearts. An Australian fan summarizes his feelings in the following mail as it finds means to reach Banglacricket.com:
"Over the past year or so, I have been keeping a close eye on cricket in Bangladesh. I have grown to enjoy it and it's good to see a side who play with so much pride besides my country. I was wondering whether I could purchase a Bangladesh One Day International Playing shirt. It would be a great honour to wear one."
Many have shown interest to play in Bangladesh, who are not from Bangladesh. One of our fan writes, "As I am very much interested to play for your board. I kindly request you to give me chance to prove my performance. At present I am playing for Darmapuri district in Tamil Nadu and I also played for Madras university." Letters pour in to Banglacricket from all over the world where people show eagerness and a genuine interest in Bangladesh and share the pain as we take steps forward into the direction of improvement for cricket in Bangladesh. The two series wins against Zimbabwe recently went to show the first fruits of all the hard works. Although the win was sweet, by no means they are comparable to finding the prince. Cinderella is just making ways.
The story lost a bit of the character recently as people seem to be wary of ICC's role. For someone like Cinderella, a good natured fairy god mother is bound to happen. The good people of the world seemed to believe that ICC was the fairy god mother for Bangladesh. But, the recent humdrum about pushing Bangladesh into a second-tier or seriously reducing international tours for Bangladesh, finds ICC closely resembling the step mother and the wicked sisters. Perhaps it is some of the journalists trying to fill the role of the step mother in an act as if they have nothing better to do.
Some of the stories published recently to undermine Bangladesh?s progress are alarming. After Bangladesh won recently, an article in BBC brings out the colour of evil as Mr. Bret, the author says, "Finally, one option was mooted which would see Zimbabwe and Bangladesh involved in a "modified programme". A two tier set-up would marginalise the minnows and set back their progress This would mean the other nations would not have to arrange home and away series every five years with the two weakest teams."
Then cricinfo writes
, "Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, Test cricket's two weakest nations, could be limited to home appearances only across a six-year cycle, as the ICC considers adopting a two-tier system to combat the twin problems of fixture overload and uncompetitive matches." Is that sad? ICC needs to take a closer look and realize that being the fairy god mother is the right thing to do and help Bangladesh prosper in terms of cricket and to not loose the momentum they have gained in the past two years.
Perhaps on the outlook it is sad that so many of wicked sisters and step mothers are in the lurk, but it is sweet at the end of the story as we, the fans, believe. The pumpkin and the mice have been transformed into royal buggies and strong horses. Cinderella is all pretty and glowing as Ashraful, Nafis, Aftab and so many of them have found their places. The journey has began for the great ballroom. We are keeping our fingers crossed to pull everything before the midnight bell rings. Because for every Cinderella around the world, the ending is always happy.