Monday, September 01, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, August 03, 2004
G. M. Bashar
An eventful year has passed and perhaps for many others as well. A daily ritual of ?logging in? has acquired a new meaning that had been lost in the maze of routines. Suddenly a few of these Banglacricket moments flashed in my mind but what do they mean in the context of this site?
To sort out these thoughts and to reminisce, it was time for some "stocktaking" with an appropriate list that would reflect some of our member's words. This would not be just any old list but something filled with occasions that truly depicts the spirit, energy and creativity of these online fans. Most of all, they epitomized all that was wonderful in this site, a site we lovingly call ?www. banglacricket.com?.
July 25th 2003- ?A first glimpse of the Tigers teeth?
We had a foreboding of something big when Whatmore stepped into the limelight as coach. Still we needed a ?sign? to reassure ourselves that the tigers were well and truly back on the upward curve. So we certainly did not expect them at that stage to perform in way respectably down under. To add fuel to these concerns we had the usual detractors. The most indelible remark of the time was the scathing and humiliating comments from the late Hookes:
"Steve Waugh should send them in to bat, bowl them out before lunch, bat until tea and declare, then send them back in and roll them again before stumps," he said. "It could be all over and done with in a day. The reality is that Bangladesh doesn't deserve to be in Test cricket and they certainly shouldn't be given any favours out on the field."
Alas, that was not to be and so on the 25th of July 2003, in the second test at Cairns, it was a day that did say lot about Bangladesh?s emerging capabilities. The pair of Bashar and Sarkar diligently batted and the commentary changed overnight.
?Bangladesh, however, showed tremendous bottle in reaching 289 for 8 at close on the first day. Hannan Sarkar's 76 at the top of the innings was well backed up by three other scores of over 40, and Bangladesh made a good fist of it after being put in.?
And the fans responded accordingly.
?However, Cairns' first day as Test cricket's newest venue featured a new look Bangladesh side that literally took the match to the mighty Aussies.? - commented Tehsin Ali.
In the larger scheme of things, the entire Australia tour would soon become an important watershed, marking a clear departure from the disastrous episodes, that were the hallmark of the tigers under their less illustrious former coach. It was also days like these that would bring in the hordes of new fans to this site.
5th of September 2003 - ?The infamous one wicket defeat?
End of over 53 (1 run) Pakistan 148/6 (113 more runs req)
Light meters out Umps meeting about the light
Umps meeting again about the light. Play called off, light offered and accepted that ends the day's play.
That was a brief phrase. But a tumultuous end of play for the tigers. In dusty Multan the world order of cricket would be displaced; in every corner of the earth, we sat glued to our screens and at the close of play Pakistan were at 148 for 6. Inzaman at 53 and Saqlain at 3 but we were on cloud nine. As Rafique bowled the last over, it was certainly one of the most nail biting days in our cricket. With another sleepless night in anticipation, the main concern was if our bowlers could manage to mop up the tail?
Again the next morning the parade of wickets fell and we were inching our way to just one miserable wicket from a win. And the threads from the board conveyed that urgency and hope ever candidly.
With the flow of wickets came the torrent of spontaneous poetic outbursts:
Aji e provate robir kor
And a delightful impromptu from Doorbin: "This may be the game"
This may be the game
Together with the cricket we had also the unabashed display of nationalism.
On reflection, perhaps the real story was all the built up passion that accrued. There were incidences after incidences that reflected the pent up emotions between these two teams and fans. Every perceived injustice and infractions by the opposing team were thoroughly condemned. The captain, the airlines, the cricket board and finally to a few of our zealous fans the nation was vilified. Sports at its worst, maybe? But it was in this atmosphere that this particular defeat was especially hard to swallow. But swallow we did. The saving grace for the vanquished was that the tigers did pick up the pieces and straggled through to live another day.
7th of August 2003 - ?Amitting?
Fresh members must be scratching their head and wondering what in the world happened on that day. Well, not a lot. But here in the board we had something cooking. As you know, by now Bangladesh were all set in the habit of losing games. But a fan site cannot dwell on losses for long. So we reach out for the advil now and then but for souls who need to put their thoughts on paper we can resort to writing articles. ?Biased? writing, where the underdog is elevated beyond reality and on par with the best that cricket has to offer, took hold in this forum. ?Amitting? was coined just to describe such reporting and that infamous uplifting style, albeit briefly, caught on?
?Luck was the dominating factor in the first ODI in Multan, which led the home team to an unconvincing win by a mere 137 runs?
?Requiring a run rate of only 6.48 runs an over, the task for the Bangladeshi batsmen was easily achievable had it not been for the poor batting condition of the pitch and the slowness of the outfield due to the mid-afternoon humidity and dampness/residue?
A nagging question remains. Is ?amitting? heading towards the same fate as the dodo? Yes, it is. If pundits are to be trusted, then our unstoppable rise to the top of the cricket food chain is the perfect antidote to ?amitting?. The art will be lost, as we rarely hear of ?amitting? emanating from the Pakistan, Australia or the Windies camp. It would safely be restricted to all the minnows of the world.
23rd October 2003 ? ?Could have beaten England??
59.6 Enamul Haque jnr to Trescothick, OUT: big big wicket! flighted delivery outside the off stump, swept straight down the throat of the Khaled Mahmud at square leg, first Test wicket for the young man
The first test against England gave us a panorama of the raw talents of our youth: Nafis, Shahdat and Enamul promptly capturing most of the attention. Enamul, at the declared age of 16, debuted against a full strength England team headed by the newly appointed captain Vaughan. It was a test that the English had to win but was nevertheless considered as an irritable threshold on the way to heavier challenges. However, Enamul stood in the way and the hope for these youngsters grew.
What Enamul did was not extraordinary but offered a shred of hope that we would soon be producing some world beating spinners, as he continued to produce remarkable flight with sufficient turns with the ball. He was a true spinner but a different bowler from Rafiq by nearly turning the tables on the English.
?To get a team of England's stature all out for 295 after they were 137 for no loss is a tremendous achievement, keeping in mind that all umpiring decisions went England's way (some fair and others most definitely not!). Except for Trescothick, who in an ideal world would have been back in the pavilion before his century, every one was forced to graft and scrap for every run. Let us not forget this is a top order, which boasts the likes of Vaughn, Tresco, Butcher, Hussain and Thorpe. Except for Vaughan none have been out of form.?
No specific date- ?All gaga over the U-19 team?
Those 11 boys under 19 could create such a storm? Yes, they did. By hijacking the spotlight from what was happening to their seniors in distant Harare spoke volumes about the expectation level that was tagged to this team. A tense series of games was shaping up with a crucial but subtle litmus test of the state of our next generation of cricket players.
A match was lost on a day. Another defeat. But this time there was discernable outrage:
?Well we now know that we are not in the super league any more. Now the tigers will roar at the silent jungle left with some cats. This is where we had been for years until we justified our test status. The game is over for U19.?
The truth of the matter was that the expectation level before the U-19 matches was huge. We had Shahadat, Talha, Nafis and Enamul and so this team was going places with some of the implicit wishes that they would make it to the semis, if not to the finals. The match against the Kiwis was heartbreak of the highest order for some of us. And quite rightly, after the match the outpourings of frustrations:
?Cricket has taken on national prestige. I don?t feel good about saying this, but I have to admit that cricket is just about the only way that the typical Bangladesh can stand up tall and say that we can compete with the rest of the world. This is the reason why we are so passionate about our cricket, and it is also the reason why you faced such a difficult time after the BD v IND match? commented Piranha
The premise of the criticism was simple and the cause of our demise was equally simple too, for the coach of the U-19 team had been unprofessional and the allegations were several:
- Miscalculating or not being aware of the NRR.
On the other hand, it was heartening and to the immense credit to our board that we did have posters with a different view. Also, there was an attempt to see things from another angle. As promptly as the criticisms poured in we saw words of support with clear evidence that fans were willing to fasten up for the long haul.
?We will see if his long term objectives are fulfilled. At least he has a plan, and I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.? - wrote Zobair Anam
Nevertheless, it was an exciting development for the board . Importantly, as a first, we had a continuous and vibrant dialogue between the fans with opposing ideas exchanged. As a befitting finale to this saga, if there is any conclusion, a point by point reply from the very coach himself.
The consolation win over Australia did heaps to cool down the losses and regroup the pack.
"?.It's not about getting the plate... it's about beating Aus! The defending champ!" - Orpheus sounded philosophical.
"?.If we had the New Zealand game! It would be much sweeter? - so did sage.
"?. Previously I shared my feeling only myself. I thought sometimes it is one kind of madness. But, now I can get many like me around the globe." - fluid admission from syedmahm.
Something else was brewing behind the scene as the debacle over NRR took passionate turns in the front with the participation of the U19 coach himself. Chinaman teamed up with Zunaid to create the first ever online TRROC which can calculate the target runs, run rate and overs at given NRR. It is an indispensible tool for the players and fans alike, to calculate beforehand the required 'minimum runs to score' for a team batting first or the required 'maximum overs to wrap up the opponent' for a team batting second to achieve a set NRR.
3rd of February 2004 - ?The Chinaman way?
??. this is turning out to be a race to get the news before anyone else? - say
Each and every match played by the tigers is followed avidly by the fans. Most of the live scores are provided by a vast array of sources but we have now stumbled upon situations where there is no possible source. This is troubling and a matter of deepest agony for any fan. But time and time again the members of this board have harnessed all their creative resources to retrieve those scores and more importantly ?live scores?.
So the fans have succeeded. This phenomenon was best exemplified during the few days of the Namibia tour. It was only a few practice matches but these were not in the radar screen of the major sports broadcasters.
In that instance we had Chinaman come up with contacts on the ground and with sports journalists to get the news live. Hence the catchword, ?Chinaman way? was coined. But the real story is possibly the countless number of fans who did ?attempt? to get the scores. And the evidence of that enthusiasm is that new links surface each day. For this valiant efforts, immense tribute must be paid to the tireless Tiger fan.
10 March 2004 - The long awaited One day win
?After a LONG wait. Hope it is the beginning ??" - rassel
"?.unexplainable?" - mridul
"we desperately needed this break thru! let's pray our winning string continues'' - navarene
?The backbone of their innings was provided by a third-wicket partnership of 114 between Rajin Saleh and Habibul Bashar, before Mohammad Ashraful creamed a 31-ball half-century to complete a satisfactory effort?. "
?It was asking too much of Zimbabwe to recover from there, and Tareq effectively sealed the game with his final-over brace.?
?There were three significant turning points in the course of the match. The first came at the tail-end of the Bangladesh innings. Mohammad Ashraful, deservedly named Man of the Match, was the catalyst as his team added 89 runs in the last ten overs, taking Zimbabwe's bowlers by surprise after their earlier successes, and turning what seemed certain to be a weak total into a competitive one of 238.?
".. a fatal lapse of concentration by Rogers - the very ball after he reached his maiden one-day fifty - led to the slump of a middle order who had expected to cruise home. The golden moment was the brilliant catch at midwicket by substitute fielder Hannan Sarkar to dismiss Sean Ervine?
Looking back at the reports of our first ODI win in a long time we can see a clear pattern. Pilot, Ashraful and Bashar figured prominently in that match. Three players, if clicking on a magical day, could propel the team to the win. However, similar to other ?near miss? games there is the magical ingredient of superior fielding that we don?t see more often from the tigers. If such positive features were a regular feature of the team we would see more wins.
15th of May 2004 - Could have beaten the Windies?
Yes, that was most folk's firm belief. Surprisingly, I could also hazard a guess that the first match in St. Vincents could have turned out as in Harare. There were a lot of similarities in the air. First of all, we had a bit of complacency from the windies, an opponent that was chasing, in a most complacent fashion. As the day drew to its end, we also had our bowlers who did look like being matchwinners. Another similarity was the ?fatal collapse? of the opponent?s middle order which was best demonstrated by Sarwan?s dismissal by Mushfiq.
?West Indies still required 19 runs for victory, with only two wickets left - and Best was then lbw to Manjural, playing across a straight one. Bangladesh sensed a famous victory, but Bradshaw and Edwards kept their cool?
?And the wickets kept on coming. Dwayne Smith was stumped off Manjural for 2, Ridley Jacobs was run out (again by Manjural), then Dwayne Bravo was also caught short of his crease, all in the space of three overs?
And a true insight from Habibul fan:
"Another significant day in the history of Bangladesh cricket. Something they can build on for sure! Disappointing when we had 2 tailenders in needed 12 runs and just one wicket but it is easier to handle now than it would 12 months ago"
As you can see there were a lot of "could haves" in the past year and so we march on to the following year with renewed hopes of more close calls but more importantly chasing those elusive "have wons". Meanwhile, kids stay glued to those laptops, TV screens or radios!
".........wats happenin'? radio not workin" - AsifthemanRahman.
The author is a moderator of banglacricket forum and goes by the nick "oracle" - editors
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