During the serene start of a cricket game, two captains are on the field along with officials, as the coin is tossed. I always wonder why the need for so many officials on the field during a toss? Then there is the seemingly unrelated incident in Bangladesh: 50 people are injured over the auctioning off of one single gourd at Tk 600. After all, the toss in a cricket game is done with a coin—money, and cricket, a gentleman's game, can have its momentary lapses. Gentlemen are humans, and humans, with a hundred thousand pairs of eyes right in front of them, can crack under the pressure cooker of T20. And so, no matter how inexcusable, the gentleman becomes an officer, the officer becomes a warrior, and sure, the warrior can also be serpentine. Seeing the nagin (cobra) dance of the Tigers going viral, one may wonder, who really is to be Bangladesh's coach? Is it Richard Pybus or Phil Simmons or our very own Beder Meye Jotsna?
The drama is around Shakib Al Hasan during the game between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as he signals the players to leave the field. He later says he was not asking the players to leave the field, but rather, for them to continue playing. Wonder if that's the reason for the extra traffic jam on the streets of Dhaka in recent days, as road warriors are now confused at the hand signals of the traffic police—do we come, or do we go?
The picture of Bangladesh's Nurul Hasan with his forefinger aimed at Sri Lanka's Thisara Perera also goes viral. Axiata Ltd can leverage on this single, priceless photo. The logo of Axiata is on the jerseys of both the Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi players with the inclusion of their local companies—Sri Lanka's Dialog and Bangladesh's Robi. Maybe Perera, while sporting Dialog, was trying to have a dialogue, while Hasan, sporting Robi, was trying to Joley Uthun Apon Shoktite, literally, by teley beguney joley uthey. Oh, and Axiata, I'll send you the bill.
Maybe if it were Virat Kohli in similar actions instead of Shakib Al Hasan, the commentators may have labeled the un-cricket-like outburst as “killer instinct”. It's like when the neighbour's kid flies the kite, it's a game of the slum, and when our own kid flies the kite, it's a Japanese festival.
The spotlight is also on Sunil Gavaskar, a man of stellar records, with zero experience of playing under the pressure of T20 while scoring 36 runs off of 174 balls during the 1975 one-day Cricket World Cup where I'm sure the strongest appeal against him was from the non-striking batsman.
The worst is not the first, as Big G himself does the same—of getting his batsman (including himself) off the field during the 1981 Melbourne test after Dennis Lillee's LBW called by umpire Rex White. Mr Gavaskar is lucky that there was no match referee or third umpire, otherwise, after watching Mr Gavaskar's run rates, they themselves would also have changed the channel.
But all said and done, it is still cricket, the game so many love and get passionate about, as Shakib himself says, because we eat spices. Sure, the Tigers are the unexpected underdogs, so much so that stickers are prematurely printed sporting Sri Lanka vs India in the finals. No worries, as Sri Lanka puts the cart before the horse, or should I say, the elephant, Sri Lanka's national animal. But Bangladesh has played well in the Nidahas Trophy by beating Sri Lanka and giving the behemoth India a run for its money. Even in cricket, Bangladesh has graduated from LDC to DC—Dashing Cricket!
Naveed Mahbub is an engineer at Ford & Qualcomm USA and CEO of IBM & Nokia Siemens Networks Bangladesh turned comedian (by choice), the host of ATN Bangla's The Naveed Mahbub Show and ABC Radio's Good Morning Bangladesh, the founder of Naveed's Comedy Club.