Minnows no more

Ahmed Shatil Alam reflects on how the India tour of Bangladesh has written a new chapter in world cricket

New Age

New Age

During the first week of February in this year, Bangladesh National Cricket Team Captain Mashrafe Mortaza said in a TV interview that their aim is to qualify for the quarterfinal and to reach the stage. Yes, of course Bangladesh reached the stage through their mesmerising performance after defeating the giant England (although many people may have different views but as per British media, England is a giant). After securing a position in the next round, Bangladesh almost defeated New Zealand-the team that was only defeated in the final by Australia.
Observing such performances, many had said that Bangladesh was playing their best in world cup cricket history despite being the underdog. The tigers could not continue to make such outstanding results during the group stage. It is alleged that due to being victimised by the numerous wrong decisions in the match against India in the quarterfinal, victory was not in Bangladesh’s hands.
After the controversy regarding the match and their outstanding performances in world cup, the Bangladesh team has almost become a favourite from being underdogs. The experience gained from their current performances has changed the team for the better, similar to a group of tigers out on a hunt.
A few days after the return of the Bangladesh team to the country following the world cup, pacer and the most important person during the England vs Bangladesh match during the world cup, Rubel Hossain, modelled for an advertisement of a mobile operator. In the ad, he almost represents the mindset of the whole team to express his grudge over the controversial decision of no-ball by umpires that gave new life to Indian batsman Rohit Sharma, thus depriving Bangladesh and Rubel.
Bangladesh again proved their capacity and roared against Pakistan few months back during the home series where Bangladesh ‘Banglawashed’  Pakistan by winning the series 3-0. Most experts of world cricket had then said that this was a ‘weak’ Pakistan team and Bangladesh did not play well. Rather, it was Pakistan who gifted the series to their neighboring minnows.  Former Pakistan captain Rameez Raza described the effort of his team in Bangladesh as ‘embarrassing’ and the ‘lowest point in our international history.’
While their recent whitewash of Pakistan at home did not draw much international attention, it did raise their hopes for the India series.  After beating the 1992 world cup winners a few months back, Bangladesh again struck over world cup champions of 1983 and 2011-India and effectively snatched the three matches ODI home series by 2-0.
Winning one ODI against a stronger opposition may be a stroke of luck. Defeating a giant to claim a series takes a lot more. And to beat two former World Champions in two successive ODI series shows that Bangladesh cricket team is not just riding on luck but on skill and passion as well.
But, before coming to Bangladesh, the Indian team had showed their condescending attitude towards Bangladesh. The ‘Mouka, Mouka’- infamous Star Sports channel again made an advertisment where they projected Bangladesh as a ‘growing child’. Although, Bangladesh gained a spectacular praise from the global cricket community, after their world cup performances and home series against Pakistan, the Indian media again portrayed Bangladesh as ‘bacche’!
But going by the popular adage that ‘barking dogs seldom bite’, India was devastated by Bangladesh in the short version of cricket. The devastation was so cruel that Bangladesh dominated the so called ‘Bade Bhai’ and best cricket loving nation in the series from beginning till end. In the first ODI, the ‘Bade Bhais’ were beaten by 79 runs while in second ODI, Tigers defeated Team India by six wickets.
Most importantly, in the two ODIs, India’s so called talented and efficient four bowlers –Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravichandran Ashwin got 12 wickets (two were run outs), while our wonder boy Mustafizur Rahman bagged 11 wickets alone in his record making performance. Mustafizur is the first bowler to capture 13 wickets (ave.8.45) during his first three ODIs.
The wonder boy’s debut match experience was not so pleasant although he bagged five wickets. During the match, India’s apparently best captain ever MS Dhoni shoved him so hard while running between the wickets, that the 19-year-old pacer had to leave the field for a while. Later, Mustafiz came back with more aggression and took three more wickets after the break.
The Bangladeshi batsmen had also performed better than the Indian batsmen during first two ODIs.
The hunger of these tigers seems to have made them ferocious. We can only hope for similar strength and agility from this group during the tour by South Africa next month.

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