Handshakes continue to be a bone of contention in the ongoing England tour of Bangladesh. After things seemingly had reached boiling point in the 2nd ODI, with Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow involved in a handshake-turned-shove incident with Tamim Iqbal, there has been a slightly unexpected turn of events in the tour match which England played against BCB XI on Sunday and Monday.
In the first session of the match, the visitors managed to get opener Soumya Sarkar out early, but were defied by an attacking half century by his partner Abdul Mazid. As lunch was called, and the players started to make their way to the dressing rooms, Mazid walked over to England all-rounder Ben Stokes and stretched out his hand.
Stokes, who had just finished bowling his fourth over of the day, was making his way to the umpire, when he was taken aback by the gesture, and responded by pulling his arm away. It is being called ‘unsportsmanlike’ by the Bangladeshi media, but the combination of puzzlement at a handshake being offered at the lunch break and the general wariness surrounding handshakes on the ongoing tour may be seen as a sturdy defence for Stokes’ snub.
Even more curiously, the Bangladeshi batsman retired hurt with a bout of cramps at the lunch break, only coming on to resume his innings late in the evening.
Some sections of Bangladesh fans have frenziedly pointed out Stokes’ snub as a continuing case of unsportsmanlike conduct from the Englishmen on the tour. While Stokes has not made any comments on the strange incident yet, the BCB XI opener Abdul Mazid offered some inscrutable insight into the matter.
Speaking to local TV channels at the Chittagong stadium after the day’s play, he said, “When I was batting, Stokes and the rest were speaking a lot to me. It can’t be called sledging, but they were saying ‘He’s batting like this’, ‘He’s batting like that’.”
Mazid had smashed 92 in the first session, a knock that ensured that the BCB XI side enjoyed the advantage in the match, finishing the match with a first innings lead. In the four over Stokes had bowled to him in the session, there had been three boundaries hit and four dot balls.
Stokes laid down his strong views on handshakes after the 2nd ODI, when he had confronted Tamim Iqbal for having barged Jonny Bairstow instead of shaking his hand. The animosity can be pinned to an incident from the 2nd ODI, when Jos Buttler had reacted angrily to Bangladeshi players celebrating his dismissal a little too close to his face.