Looking back at Bangladesh’s World Cup

Bangladesh’s world cup campaign has been a roller-coaster ride. The essence of this ride actually goes back to the year 2015. Before then, winning a single match against any strong test playing nation used to be our criteria for success. And when those wins came around, waves of people would take to the streets in celebration.

The start of a new era

2015 marked the nation’s first-ever quarter-final appearance in world cups. This milestone was only the start. What followed were three consecutive series wins against Pakistan, India and South Africa. Stars like Mustafizur Rahman came on to the scene, who had obliterated the Indian batting with back to back 5 wicket-hauls and was the key to winning the series.

And so, 2015 changed the very criteria of success for Bangladesh. It was finally about victory. The next four years leading up to the ICC World Cup 2019 included test victories against England and Australia, getting agonizingly close to winning the Asia cup in 2018, making it to the semi-final of ICC Champion’s Trophy and registering a series victory overseas against West Indies.

And after becoming the champions of the Tri-Nation series held just before the world cup, the confidence grew and expectations became high. For the first time, Bangladesh entered an ICC Cricket World Cup to actually contest the title.

Read more: The rise of Bangladesh Cricket

The journey of CWC 2019

The high expectations soared even more as Bangladesh started off by defeating the South African side. What followed was a loss to New Zealand in a very close match. Although the defeat was a bump in the path, the hope was still strong. However in the next match, England had amassed a massive total of 386 runs, and Bangladesh was never really in the game.

Despite the loss, we got a fantastic performance from Shakib Al Hasan who had scored 121 during the chase and became the top scorer of the tournament at that time.

The match against West Indies was the highest point for Bangladesh.

They successfully chased down the huge total of 321 in just 42 overs with 7 wickets in hand. Shakib Al Hasan became the man of the match with 2 wickets and an unbeaten 124 of only 99 balls. The back to back centuries scored by the all-rounder and the dominant victory over Windies once again ignited the hopes of victory. The road to the semi-finals started to look very inviting once more.

What happened afterwards is what the fans of Bangladesh cricket are bitterly familiar with. Playing well till the end but just not well enough to win. Bangladesh fought hard against Australia and India with a bunch of stand-out individual performances. But the strength of those two sides were just too much. Bangladesh’s scores of 333 and 286 while chasing 381 and 314 respectively, left a feeling of “only if we played a little bit better” to every Bangladesh supporter who was watching. The win against Afghanistan only served as a consolation.

Read more: First-ever Bangladeshi female commentator: Shathira Jakir Jessy

Magnificent Shakib and other disappointments

Another consolation was Shakib Al Hasan’s fantastic performance. He scored 2 hundreds, 5 fifties and a score of 41 in his 8 matches and became the first-ever to score 600 runs and take 10 wickets in a world cup edition. He was also the first player to achieve 600 runs in the group stages of a world cup.

Despite his exceptional batting performance in every single match, the others weren’t able to support him quite enough.

A few of the young players had performed very well in the likes of Liton Das and Mohammad Saifuddin but the rest of the team left a lot of gap between their performance and the expectations.

Two fielding incidents are at the top of the list of disappointments. In the close game against New Zealand, Mushfiqur Rahim had run Ross Taylor out who was only on 4. However, in the replay, we could see that Mushfiqur had knocked the bails of before catching the ball. The run-out became obsolete. Ross Taylor went on to score 82 runs and was the man of the match.

And in the match against India, Tamim Iqbal dropped a simple catch of Rohit Sharma who was at 9. With a new life, Rohit scored a hundred and just like Taylor, became man of the match. These two missed out wicket opportunities turned out to be match deciders.

Read more: Meet the street children from Bangladesh who are playing in the world cup semis!

Bent, not broken

While Bangladesh’s world cup ended on a bad note, we shouldn’t forget the achievements and successes of this campaign. Bangladesh had performed far better this time than in any of the previous world cups. We were legitimately contending for a spot in the semis at one point. As fans, our role now is to simply hope our players have learned from the mistakes. Let us move on and look forward to the victories that await us in the future.

First ever Bangladeshi female commentator: Shathira Jakir Jessy

For the first time, ever! A Bangladeshi female commentator did the commentary during the Bangladesh Vs. India match on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. On Star Sports.

Yes, folks, you read that right. History has been made, as the former national cricketer, Shathira Jakir Jessy had been selected to commentate in Bangla during the Bangladesh Vs. India match on Tuesday.

“This is a historic moment for Bangladesh – for the first time ever, a Bangladeshi girl will commentate on Star Sports. It feels great to think I am that person.”

Said Jessy earlier in an interview.

Besides this, she will also commentate during the England Vs. New Zealand and Afganistan Vs. West Indies in Bangla on 3rd and 4th July respectively.

BTV is now available in India and we don’t know how to react

According to reports cited by ANI of India, India will broadcast Bangladesh’s BTV from now on under a new contract signed by the two countries. Anyone else feeling funny here or is it just us?

We all, especially the 90’s kids, have a soft spot for BTV. It was our sole source of legendary shows like Alif Laila and Ittadi. But times have changed. BTV, however, hasn’t.

BTV, as old as time

As time went by, we grew up but BTV couldn’t. Where two negatives make a positive, two positives make a BTV. Even during some dire national situations, BTV would just stay overjoyed with lemons and agricultural successes. BTV’s program quality hasn’t improved in ages and the actual function of this TV channel remains a mystery.

Pardon us if we fail to see how broadcasting BTV in India will portray our cultural and media scenario to our neighbours.

One-sided cultural overflow

The free flow of cultures between the countries has been strongly evident since the last 30 years. Bangladesh had access to almost all of Indian entertainment channels where India had zero. Television media and preferences in Bangladesh are now so inspired and influenced by Indian media that BTV solely can’t balance out the one-sided cultural overflow.

Zee Bangla and Star Jalsha making their mark on our cultural territory along with Indian advertisements and products has made us more aware about India than Bangladesh. A large portion of Indians on the other hand, don’t even know how Bangladesh has been relying on them for almost everything; even how our geographical maps collide.

A futile attempt?

The cultural invasion is so massive that with a minimal contract like this, it is nearly impossible for Indians to learn more about Bangladesh and its media unless a new contract for broadcasting is made that ensures the equal flow of media and channels, if not Teesta’s water.

The rise of Bangladesh Cricket

Bangladesh batting, you are stuck in a traffic jam. You start watching the match 30 minutes late, expecting to see already 3 openers going back to the hut.

This was a common situation even till 2011. And batting collapses were something we the fans had made our peace with. Best case scenarios were an odd win here and there, and Shakib and Mushfiqur anchoring us towards a somewhat defendable total or a less shameful loss.

But not anymore.

2007 World Cup and finding our 5 heroes

Many critics argue that knocking down England from the World Cup 2015 was the start of our renaissance. But, the real flash of self-belief and an attacking mindset took root in the famous win against India in the 2007 World Cup.

The rise of Bangladesh Cricket

Tamim fearlessly coming down the track was a statement for a new brand of cricket. Shakib and Mushfiq both had chipped in with a fifty, with Mashrafe rattling down the Indian batting with his pace Bowling.

Our core group of 5 players, popularly known as ‘Ponchopandob’, including Mahmudullah Riad, are playing for the team together since 2007.

And thank heavens for this bunch.

Steady growth in the middle and ups and downs

In between 2007 and 2011, the most positive thing for Bangladesh cricket was the rise of Shakib Al Hasan as the top all-rounder in the world. Abdur Razzaq, the veteran left-arm spinner, also dominated the bowler rankings during this period.

Bangladesh had whitewashed mighty New Zealand. With the whitewash of a relatively weaker West Indies side, Bangladesh team was gradually making a statement.

But, there was this lack of consistency and it showed. The batting collapses in 2011 World Cup against West Indies and South Africa were stark examples of our inconsistency.

The sudden sparks of brilliance after the 2011 World Cup

Bangladesh had a disappointing series after the 2011 world cup and Tamim was facing a good amount of criticism for his lack of form. But the 2012 Asia Cup was somewhat of a bittersweet memory for Bangladesh. Bangladesh lost to Pakistan in the first match but won 2 consecutive matches against India and Srilanka, knocking both of them out. Tamim had scored four consecutive half-centuries and had made a statement.

The rise of Bangladesh Cricket

But Bangladesh had a heartbreak for falling short of 2 runs, and the iconic scene of Mushfiq and Shakib bursting in tears still haunts the fans till date.

2015 World Cup and a new brand of cricket for Bangladesh

Bangladesh had struggled to find a perfect opening partner for Tamim Iqbal. The problem was wonderfully solved by the inclusion of Soumya Sarker. His attacking form of batting was something the opposition was not used to seeing.

The rise of Bangladesh Cricket

Fast forward to World Cup of 2015. Bangladesh vs England. Rubel Hossain bowling an amazing reverse swing delivery and Nasir Hossain chanting, “The Bangla tigers knocked out the English lions out of the world cup”. This is arguably the most memorable scene for any Bangladeshi fan so far.

After the 2015 World Cup, Bangladesh had won 3 consecutive series against the giants Pakistan, India, and South Africa. This was a major statement to the cricketing world that a win of Bangladesh is no longer an upset. Huge credit needs to be given to Captain Fantastic about how he marshalled his troops and created a sense of togetherness in the Bangladesh team.

Rise of Captain Fantastic and not looking back

The rise of Bangladesh Cricket

Another magical finding was our very own ‘Fizz’. Mustafizur Rahman had taken the world by storm through his mystery bowling. Although injuries hindered much of his rhythm, he is still a key member of the Bangladesh squad.

The rise of Bangladesh Cricket

Bangladesh has now become a force to be reckoned with in the cricketing world. The team that got bowled out for 58 runs and 78 runs to West Indies and South Africa in the 2011 World Cup, scored over 300 runs against both of the teams in the World Cup of 2019. We have great depth in our batting and we don brand a new form of fearless cricket.

It took us a while to finally get here, but we’re here at last. And we’re here to stay.

Meet the street children from Bangladesh who are playing in the world cup semis!

The Street Children Cricket World Cup is the first of its kind. A tournament to showcase the talent of street children from all over the world. In April of this year, the city of Cambridge welcomed teams from all around the world, including Bangladesh.

The little champs

The eight-player team from Bangladesh consists of 4 boys and 4 girls. The organization Leedo trained this merry bunch. Leedo is a member organization of the Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF). BSAF is a charitable organization that shelters 52 street children in their shelter house at the moment.

“These children, with their participation in such a world event, have got the much-needed motivation to boldly move on with life in the future.”

Said Forhad Hossain from Leedo in an interview with Arab News.

Read more: Focus on the game of cricket, not the jersey

Rocketing ahead

The team members set out for the UK on 28th April 2019. In addition, teams from countries such as India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Congo and Nepal are taking part in this tournament. The tournament started with Bangladesh playing against the Mauritius team. Bangladesh started their journey with a victorious feat, beating Mauritius by 17 runs.

In their second match, the team played against West Indies, winning with 6 wickets and 15 deliveries left. The team has also played against Nepal and Tanzania , winning against the former.

The Street Children Cricket World Cup

This tournament is being arranged by Street Children United, a UK based charity organization. In association with the International Cricket Council (ICC), this world cup tournament aims to fight the stigma against street children and their ability to contribute to society. They also hope to represent their country on an international level.

Our next superstars

Attending a world event pushed these children out of their comfort zones to challenge themselves in a way they never imagined! Through cricket, they are getting the opportunity to learn more about competing, team-building and pursuing their own interests.

“In my childhood I wanted to be a good dancer. But now, after getting involved with cricket, I decided to join the national women’s team,” 

Said Arjoo Rahman who’s one of the 8 children who are playing in the Bangladesh team

In fact, before the start of the SCCWC, all the teams were involved in cricket training, art activities, playing with teams of local schools, and speaking at the House of Parliament!

Being a part of this tournament gives them a chance to bravely take on an exciting challenge. And they receive honorable recognition on an international level.

Maybe one day we will have our next Shakib-Al-Hasan or Salma Khatun from these children superstars.

As of today, our champs from Bangladesh has managed to reach the semis. Godspeed!

Focus on the game of cricket, not the jersey

Picture a scene from the last World Cup. All Bangladeshi players gathering in the field, celebrating their win against England, and eventually qualifying for the Quarter Finals. This scene is arguably the most favourite cricketing moments for any Bangladeshi Cricket Fan. 

Fast forward 4 years. Another world cup is almost here. And a surprisingly unlikely contender is the topic of debate this time. The jersey.

No red in the jersey and it apparently matters

The fans are used to seeing our tigers in the world stage with the famous red and green jersey. But this year, when the official jersey was published by BCB, all hell broke loose. Two separate jerseys were there, but instead of a red and green merge, two separate jerseys of Green and Red Colour was brought to the media.

Mistakes were definitely made. But we might be focusing on the wrong ones. It was not the colours that we should be worried about. Names of the players were typed wrong including that of the captain’s.

Reaction of people

The reactions of the fans were nowhere near positive. Especially the green jersey had infuriated the general fans because they felt it was almost a copy of the Pakistan team jersey. Social media outbursts were observed.

“What is this nonsense? What is the point of copying Pakistan’s jersey? It would seem like a Pakistan vs Pakistan match while facing them.”

A furious fan commented

Does it really matter?

Aesthetics aside, this is actually not the first time Bangladesh had a single coloured Jersey. The iconic 1999 jersey with tiger strap did not have any hint of red either. Plus, there was a brief period when Bangladesh had a blue jersey. And also a time when it would be quite hard to differentiate between the Bangladeshi jersey and that of the Zimbabwe team.

The point is, the entire debate over this jersey is pointless. The design of the jersey that was designed and approved sparks debate, but it might not be the biggest of concerns. Yes, it didn’t have hints of red in it but no book says that there should be.

Reaction of BCB

Amidst the uproar (!) of people, BCB declared, they are applying for change. As per the latest news, a stripe of bland red in the middle of a tacky Green had been approved. Let’s hope this settles the debate once and for all for everyone.

Cricket world cup comes only in 4 years. And this is arguably the best Bangladeshi team yet.

Our focus should have been on the game, not the jersey.

And this is the last world cup of our very own Mashrafe Bin Murtaza. We hope that the Tigers bid him a proper farewell through their performance in the world cup.

The views expressed in this article are of the writer’s own, and not of HiFi Public as a publication.

5 most promising young cricketers in the world right now

As a fan of the sport, there is rarely anything as fun and genuinely exciting as watching promising youngsters taking on the big guns of cricket and standing their ground. Here are five of them who stand out as the next big thing in cricket. The only criteria of this list that is objective is the age of the cricketers, all of whom have to be under 23 to make it into this list. That means I will have to exclude many promising young talent such as Babar Azam from Pakistan, simply because they are a few months too old to be included. Also notable is how there are no Australian or English players on this list. This is due to the fact that in those countries, most cricketers have their international debuts after this cutoff age.

Shadab Khan (Pakistan)

The youngest player on the list, the only reason I’ve put this promising leggie so far below is because he’s still relatively untested. At the ripe old age of 19, he has already played 17 ODI matches, 13 T20I matches and a solitary test match as a member of the national team. Technically a bowling all-rounder in the domestic circuit, his claim to fame in ODI’s come from his stellar bowling performances against West Indies. Leg break bowlers are very rare to find in the age of T20I cricket, and even rarer is to find a leggie who can take wickets yet keep pressure on the batsmen. Considering the fact that he has the record for having the most economical figures in a T20I debut, he’s proven that he can do the latter. He was also a part of the Pakistani squad that won the 2017 Champions Trophy.  His maiden fifty against Sri Lanka in an ODI on the 17 of October, 2017 also shows batting prowess.

Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)

The second youngest player on this list is a bit more recognizable for having a stint in the 2017 IPL with Sunrisers Hydrabad and in BPL with Comilla Victorians. Rashid Khan is also the second leg spinner on the list, and the reason he’s rated above the previous entry is because unlike Shadab, he is a proven talent. He became the youngest player to top the ODI bowlers ranking this February. He would also end up topping the T20I’s bowler ranking the same month. He also became the youngest player to captain an international side this March during the World Cup Qualifier, at the age of 19 years and 165 days. Having broken the record for reaching the 100 wicket mark for ODI’s in only 44 matches, Rashid Khan is already going places no Afghan cricketer has gone before.

Mehedi Hasan Miraz (Bangladesh)

The first Bangladeshi to enter the list is the wily off break bowler and right handed batsman, Mehedy Hasan Miraz. Not to be confused with the procession of Mehedy’s before him in Bangladeshi cricket, Miraz made his mark as the captain of the under-19 side that made it to the semifinals of the 2016 Under-19 Cricket World Cup. He would lead the team to victory in the 3rd place play off, beating Sri Lanka. He was also named the player of the tournament, having scored 242 runs and taken 12 wickets in 6 matches. The reason I have ranked this 20-year-old higher than the last two is because of the dream debut series he had against England. Having seen how good he was in the Under-19 world cup, there was no doubt in the minds of the Bangladeshi selectors that they had found a rare talent, and Miraz paid back the trust in full. Despite being a spin bowler, he opened the bowling in the first test match against fellow debutant Ben Duckett and managed to turn him into his first wicket. He became Bangladesh’s seventh and youngest player to pick up a five-wicket haul on the debut test. In the next test match, he would become the 6th player in history to have taken three five-wicket hauls in the first two matches. He would also become the first Bangladeshi in history to get the man of the series award on debut.

Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)

A name sure to trigger PTSD in the regular Bangladeshi cricket fan, Kagiso Rabada is a speed demon from the land of the Proteas. His ODI debut was against Bangladesh, and he completely ruined any chance for them to win by plucking out 6 wickets for only 16 runs. As a Bangladesh fan myself, it’s hard not to be traumatized by the event. This only shows why he is ranked so high on this list. He would also become only the second player in history to pick up a hat-trick on ODI debut, behind only Bangladeshi spinner, Taijul islam. The 20-year-old would also become South Africa’s youngest to have a 10-wicket haul in a test match. The figure of 13 wickets for 144 runs would also become the second best bowling figure by a South African cricketer in tests, behind the Protea legend Makhaya Ntini. He already has taken 143 wickets after having played only 30 tests, with an outstanding bowling average of 21.59 at the time of writing this. With similar figures across the formats, it’s hard to see how he won’t end up with hundreds of international wickets by the end of his career.

Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh)

The 22-year-old left arm seamer is my choice for the best young prospect in cricket right now. The reason for picking him is simple: by the end of his debut ODI series, he had already made an argument for being possibly the greatest fast bowler the country has produced. He had already shown his merit in his international debut against Pakistan in a T20I match in April, 2015, having taken the wickets of Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez. He would become a superstar in a few months, taking a record breaking five wicket haul in both of his first ODI matches against India. We would finish the series with 13 wickets as Bangladesh would win their first ODI series against India. He would also star in the following series against South Africa, helping Bangladesh win it 2-1. He has since established himself as the centerpiece in the Bangladeshi bowling line up, as well as becoming a superstar in the IPL and other leagues around the world. He has dealt with injury for much of 2017, but has recently been rehabbed and come back to punish batsmen. His immense potential and miserly ODI bowling average of only 16 runs per wicket is why I’m placing the 2016 ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year as the most promising young cricketer in the world right now.