Bangladesh cricket: A tale of dreams, heartbreaks and resilience
"I think our total should have been a little better. They may just be able to chase it down”, the profusely sweating rickshaw puller gave a weary sigh as he listened to the live radio commentary with earphones on. He was simultaneously doing his job of pulling the rickshaw as well as listening to the commentary of the cricket match. Physically he was there but his mind was in Adelaide where Bangladesh was taking on England for the quarterfinal berth.
Such was the case of almost every cricket loving Bangladeshi on that intense nerve-wracking day of March 9, 2015. I can remember that tensed, edgy look on the face of that rickshaw-puller but can't remember my own jubilant reaction when Rubel Hussain shattered the stumps of Stuard Broad. Seemed like every passionate Bangladeshi fan got into a state of trance out of extreme joy after that moment. The whole of Bangladesh erupted. Streets and roads went wild. The whole country became a big gallery of screaming overjoyed fans. The victory took a while for the fans to sink in.
A land where cricket is dope, this is not something new. It all started in 1997 in Kuala Lumpur, where a win against Kenya would have put Bangladesh into their first ever cricket World Cup. The fans came with their flags, screaming their hearts out, voicing their love for their team. The Bangladesh team won that day and gave birth to new dreams, hopes and unadulterated love of millions of people. If this was the start, the canvas got eventually bigger when they triumphed over Pakistan, a formidable test playing nation at the '99 world cup. Soon the country, where football used to be the prime sport, became the shelter of millions of vehement cricket fans.
But, throughout these years, Bangladesh cricket couldn't give them enough opportunities to celebrate, couldn't give them much to feel good about. However, be it enervating humid weather or political blockades, fans always turned up to watch their heroes play, cheered for them gleefully, but would often return home being disappointed. As Mr.Harsha Bhogle wrote in one of his columns, "If despair could produce riches, the Bangladeshi fans would have been the wealthiest." However, the passion, zeal and zest of the fans always remained undaunted.
Then the magical year 2015 turned up. The successful world cup campaign, the clean sweep against Pakistan in the ODIs, the ODI series win against the mighty Indians and South Africans not only gave the players reasons of self-belief but also lifted the morale of the fans. After years of dismay, the fans finally got a long lasting streak of genuine happiness and celebrations. Finally, they could showcase their exultant emotions for a longer time. They could take a pride in the love, the passion which they reared in their hearts for many disheartening years.
However, there is still a long path to follow, long way to walk. The fans can only hope that their heroes, the cricketers can continue to give them enough reasons to celebrate in exchange of their continuous priceless support. It's only cricket which can tie the people of Bangladesh on a single thread irrespective of their social statuses, religions, political ideologies, etc. As a fan, I can also hope that no matter what, such undying love for cricket shines on, the spirit remains indomitable, dreams keep rebuilding themselves and hopes remain untainted.