By Nadeem Qadir;
Although Bangladesh has been a nation playing “Danda Gooly” and football for as long as the memory goes, but over the past decades it has been cricket that has brought this sports-loving nation great moments of joy. A reason to celebrate nationally, – left, right, east, west – , all united for one good reason – cricket.
The latest was the first ever world champion in cricket for this South Asian country where other sport have not made a mark in international meets. Yes, it is our junior Tigers who clinched the ICC World Cup under-19 thrashing powerful India.
Welcome home and a very hearty congratulation boys! You have made us very proud and gave us a good reason to celebrate. These moments are never forgotten.
Since sport reporting requires extra skills as a reporter, I rarely ventured into sports reporting unless my colleague from New Delhi was unable to come to Dhaka. But writing this commentary is part of my trade where I can share some personal joy as well as reflect on the event.
Since the start of this championship in South Africa, my cricket-loving friends kept on saying “our Akbar is doing good. We have a chance to win the cup.” I kept the idea on the sidelines seeing the poor performance of big men in Pakistan. I had believed that at least the inner pride of being Bengali would make our big men real roaring Tiger as the opponent is Pakistan, which if defeated in 1971 to achieve independent Bangladesh. Sadly, it seems Pakistani big men are growling remembering how they carried out genocide in Bangladesh!
In fact, I cannot understand why we had to go to Pakistan to help it overcome the draught of foreign teams visiting the terror-prone country. They are yet to apologise for the 1971 genocide with Prime Minister Imran Khan in control, at least outwardly!
I salute those players who refrained from going on the Pakistan tour as officially we have the minimum bilateral ties with a new high commissioner finally taking charge recently after a long gap.
That aside, cricket brings joy not only to a country, but families and individuals. The stadiums speak of it.
A reception to the Akbar Ali team is certain with sports-loving Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina never missing a chance to honour those who deserve honour, a rare quality in our country.
It was the Asian Cup victory and I was supposed to take a break the day they were honoured in a public reception by Sheikh Hasina, in her first term in office. How could anybody sit home when the whole nation, forgetting their political itches, join in congratulating a team that has brought honour for Bangladesh in cricket, which grew painstakingly over the decades. I was put following the motorcade carrying the winning team and being showered with flowers.
The sport got a the much needed boost under our prime minister, who has taken time out from her busy schedule to be present at the stadium to cheer her boys. She, venue recently went to Kolkata for a day to give a boost to senior Tigers fighting India at the Eden Gardens. Thank you, prime minister.
The social media saw a rush of congratulations, but few were worth noting.
“I did not watch the match on TV as losses dishearten me. Thus time it is a big win. From now on, I will not watch at all and then the jinx will not work,” commented Afsan Chowdhury, journalist, author, teacher and researcher.
While another commented “Do not spoil them by too much pampering. They have done what they are supposed to do – win. So, why so much pampering? Let them do their work and instead give them all kinds of support to win all future matches.”
The other talk of the town was about the senior Tigers and their dismal performance in Pakistan. “The young tigers played for the team to win, not individual glory.” Correct!
We hope the seniors would learn from the juniors and give up their narrow thoughts of individual glory.
For the winning junior Tigers, the forward march would be an uphill task as each member has to ensure proper training to climb the stairs and not to slip down.
“I hope that it will be a stepping stone for US (Yes, in caps) and it is just the beginning and WE need to keep that momentum and grow hungrier as we go on to play for the senior side. We should have that hunger in US,” Akbar was quoted as saying. The right thoughts Akbar and it is the word US and WE, and not ME that would take you to greater heights. The team work.
Once again, a very warm welcome home, “Champs!”