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For Bangladesh, the Afghanistan series is a lot more than just cricket


A look into the importance of the upcoming Afghanistan series for Bangladesh.

Bangladesh cricket
Cricket has the ability to obilterate any division for Bangladesh 

The heat of the day ebbs to a comforting warmth. Gradually, the sunshine loses its brightness and the color of Dhaka softens, but the noise remains the same. It’s time to return home after spending a hectic time at the office. While passing the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur, one can feel that the atmosphere is different. The floodlights are shining brightly and puts the colour of the evening at shame.

The buzz outside the stadium overshadows the noise of busy Dhaka. Even last week, there was a certain silence, but now, the scene is different.

The gentle breeze blowing around the stadium area is filled with music. It’s the music of cricket which brings each and every Bangladeshi on the same platform. It’s the music which instills hope amid the day to day hassle and depression. The tragic incident at Gulshan on July 1, 2016, infused a sense of uncertainty among the Bangladeshis, but the days of doom and gloom will be forgotten as the whole Bangladesh will tune to the music of cricket.

The sun will sink lower in the sky, the light of the day will drain away and nightfall. But, the people of Bangladesh will neither hug the evening, nor night, but will be busy in celebrating life by cheering for the Tigers.

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How doleful and disquieted the Bangladeshis were after the bloodshed at Gulshan on July 1 one cannot imagine. Yes, the nation bounced back and went back to their normal life, but the life was not as rhythmic as before. A certain apprehension gripped the whole nation. Life went on as usual, but it lacked the joy and inspiration to advance forward.

When the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) announced that the Tigers will play a three-match one-day series against Afghanistan, it elevated the mood of Bangladesh. Gradually the rhythm started to come back and as the day for the ODI series came closer, the Bangladeshis are rediscovering their lost rhythm.

At present, Afghanistan are one of the most dangerous sides in world cricket. In the limited-overs format, they are capable of posing a stifling challenge for the opposition and already, players like Asghar Stanikzai, Dawlat Zardan, Muhammad Nabi, Nawroz Mangal and Mohammad Shahzad are prominent names in world cricket and possess the qualities to change the course of the game at any moment.

And of course, Bangladesh have not forgotten how they defeated the Tigers two years ago in front of the home crowd. On paper, Bangladesh are the favourites, but it won’t be a wise act to take Afghanistan lightly.

The upcoming series is very significant for Bangladesh

The Afghanistan players have arrived in Dhaka

Firstly, this series will be the dress rehearsal of the security arrangements of Bangladesh. After the terrorist attack at Gulshan, the security status of Bangladesh came under the scanner and raised doubts. It proved that Australia’s decision to cancel the tour last year was apt and appropriate and in turn, dark clouds gathered over the possibilities of England tour.

Thankfully, England decided to tour Bangladesh, but still one cannot sit down and relax until and unless the ODI series against Afghanistan surpasses without any unwanted occurrences. Bangladesh needs to prove a point regarding their security arrangements and make others believe, the security arrangements in Bangladesh is well-equipped to ensure adequate safety.

Secondly, The crooked minds who orchestrate such heinous acts and create unrest, need a strong message through this series. The dark souls should bear in mind, no matter what acts they dish out to disrupt the synchronicity of this society, sports will always be there to restore courage and faith among the people.

There might be a bomb explosion in Paris or the savage acts at Gulshan, but a ball and bat will rise to the occasion to  frustrate the terrorists whose main aim is to instill apprehension in the minds of the common people.   

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The ODI series against Afghanistan will be the perfect exhibition of courage by Bangladesh and the befitting answer to terrorism.   

Thirdly, in the recent times, quite a few exciting talents have emerged in Bangladesh. During the Under-19 World Cup, some of the young guns caught the attention of many and deserve a place in the national squad. The ODI series against Afghanistan would be the perfect platform to test those young guns.

Lastly, this series was much needed for the passionate fans of Bangladesh cricket and Tigers. Since the Asia Cup, hardly any international cricket has taken place in Bangladesh. Neither Bangladesh have played any international cricket since the World Twenty20. The ODI series against Afghanistan will be helpful in bringing the Tigers back in rhythm and shrug off their jet-lagged status and above all, it will help the Bangladeshis to regain their lost charm which was lost after the Gulshan attack.

It’s time to celebrate life and welcome international cricket in Bangladesh.

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