• Saturday, October 25, 2014

Curtains for the colours

Naimul Karim
Crowd was the heart of this ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh. They were fantastic be it in Dhaka, Chittagong or Sylhet. Photos: Star File
Crowd was the heart of this ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh. They were fantastic be it in Dhaka, Chittagong or Sylhet. Photos: Star File

From packed stadiums and the late-night hangouts in the brightly-lit capital to CNG-drivers working lesser hours and the 'char chhokka hoi hoi' ring-tone blaring from innumerable mobile phones, the last three weeks proved exactly why Bangladesh deserved to host the ICC World Twenty20; for this was not just a cricket tournament but a festival that the people of this country ingrained into their lifestyle and celebrated with immense vigour.
Whether it was dancing to the West Indian tune at the stadium or merely having a good time with friends and family, there was something in it for almost everyone.
Ask some of the CNG-drivers at the GEC Circle in Chittagong and they will explain why many of them aim to go on an over-time rampage from this week onwards.
"I decided not to work in the evenings during Bangladesh and India's matches. The next few days will be a lot of fun! I can work later," a middle-aged CNG driver had remarked in Chittagonian in the tournament's early days.
Or ask a few of them around at the Karwan Bazar junction, where they were busy taking photos with foreign journalists thinking they were English cricketers!
Yes, the strict security measures forced many to modify their daily timetables--an aspect that Mahindra Singh Dhoni thanked the public for after the finals--but the undying spirit shown by the public to overcome that and arrive in large numbers must be hailed.  
The most obvious way to judge the fervour was a mere glance at the enthusiasm shown at the stadiums. The manner in which the crowd came back and supported the hosts after every thumping defeat, right till the very end, perhaps best depicted what the World Cup meant to each and every one of them.


Better still, the almost-full galleries that were seen in the games that did not include the Tigers was a pleasant surprise even for the ICC and it was, according to them, something 'unique' in the world of cricket.
"Of all things that the ICC thanked us for, it was the spirit shown by the people of this country that topped the list," BCB president Nazmul Hassan Papon said on Saturday.
The 'flashmob' craze was a popular means, for students, to express their pride and joy. With a large number of university and school students randomly dancing to the tune of the ICC theme song at various corners of the country, it will be a surprise if Bangladesh does not break a record for the most number of flashmobs in the last few weeks.
For many the mega event was also a means of bonding with their family. Ashfaque Chowdhury, an engineer from Dhanmondi, for instance, was taken aback by how well-informed his mother was on the games.
"My office timing allowed me to watch the second game at home. It gradually turned into an occasion with my entire family sitting together every evening. I was dumbfounded by my mother's ability to churn up strategies for the teams. A pleasant change from all the soap operas she watches all day long," said Ashfaque.
For friends it was just an excuse to meet-up and party till the end of the second game.
"One of the things that I did quite regularly was going out after eleven in the night. Dhaka city to me seemed like a wedding palace with all the lights and designs. It just felt great driving by beneath them with my brother," said Anika Saba, a resident of Niketan.
The more clever heads of departments at certain offices even introduced indoor cricket to inspire employees. "File reviews were replaced with corridor-cricket in the evening. I figured out there were quite a few wannabe Kohli's at work!" smirked Auyon Rahman, working for a telecom company.
While there won't be many memories that Bangladesh's cricketers will want to carry on from this competition, for the world  though, the World T20 2014 will be remembered as the year that cricket received a football-like ambience, with cheers pouring in for all the 16 nations; a true world event.

Published: 12:00 am Monday, April 07, 2014

Last modified: 2:30 am Monday, April 07, 2014

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