23rd March 2016. This day will always be fondly remembered by each and every soul who stood in the stands of the Chinnaswamy Stadium at Bengaluru. 3 Bangladeshi wickets falling off the last 3 balls, with MS Dhoni showing an exemplary presence of mind to take off his glove for the final delivery, and the lightning dash to uproot the stumps, handing Bangladesh a 1 run defeat.
However, this day will remain special to me for an entirely different reason. Although I am an Indian by birth, I have always taken pride in my East Bengal roots (that’s what folks back home still call Bangladesh). In addition, the fact that I was a trained Rabindra Sangeet vocalist meant that I knew both the anthems of India and Bangladesh by heart, and while the rest of the stadium was quiet after “Jana Gana Mana”, I was glad to join a handful of Bangladeshi supporters in singing “Amar Shonar Bangla”.
However, I couldn’t help overhearing some snide remarks later in the night – “Only, had their innings been as long as their anthem….”
So, does Bangladesh really have the longest anthem amongst the 10 full-time ICC member nations? And who has the shortest? Let’s find out!
Please note: All lengths of anthems are basis those being played before the start of matches. There are anthems of varying lengths and those have not been considered for this list.
The nation credited with the birth of this great game, holds the record for the shortest anthem – 40 seconds – as well as for the oldest national anthem amongst all cricketing nations – the anthem dating back to 1745.
While English cricketers have been singing the United Kingdom’s - “God Save the Queen” in all their matches, England as a nation has been vying for a separate anthem for themselves.
The most famous alternative being William Blake’s “Jerusalem” which was once sung by English fans at the stadium, at the behest of the then skipper Michael Vaughan, as they welcomed his boys on to the field on the first day of the final Ashes test of 2005. That’s inspiration!