We all know about the witty, wise and philosophical Mullah Nasruddin, a Persian character who appears in thousands of humorous stories. A well-known tale relates how judge Nasruddin was listening to a case and, after hearing the plaintiff’s deposition, remarked, “You’re right”. Then, after the defendant had presented his case, Nasruddin again remarked, “Yes, you’re right.”
Nasruddin’s wife was in attendance, was confused and queried, “That doesn’t make any sense -- how can both the defendant and plaintiff be right?”
“You know what?” Nasruddin responded. “You’re right, too!”
This story came to mind after the comments of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan on Wednesday regarding Bangladesh’s defeat to Afghanistan in the one-off Test in Chattogram. The latest observation from the BCB supremo created some confusion about whether it would be wise to bracket the defeat as a dismal performance.
Hassan was so shocked after the fourth day’s play on Sunday that he questioned the ability and wherewithal of the players by asking: “Should I explain to them how to play Tests?”
The plaintiff (the press) thus mollified on Sunday, Hassan talked to the defendants (the players) after the defeat on Monday.
Then on Wednesday, when most observers of cricket in the country were ranking the defeat high in the list of most humiliating ones for Bangladesh, Hassan came up with the Mullah’s wisdom to say that it was not the hardest to swallow. Rather, more painful were losses to India in the World Twenty20 group match in 2016, in the Nidahas Trophy final in 2018 and off the last ball in the Asia Cup final later that year.
And if you are impudent enough to raise questions about Bangladesh’s Test cricket, just pay heed to the BCB president: this Test [against Afghanistan] did not reflect Bangladesh’s true colours.
Alas! The prosaic Shakib Al Hasan was not as witty or wise as the Mullah; why else would the Bangladesh captain cast aspersions on the standard of our first-class cricket. Why did he not understand and adopt the ‘everything is alright’ mantra? Did he not read the Mullah’s story? How could he say: “I haven’t played NCL [National Cricket League] in the last four-five years and I didn’t have any problem. Is there a problem of playing in the NCL or not playing in the NCL? I think it can be both.”
Nuance and an appetite to tackle complex problems -- the Mulla’s enemy in the aforementioned tale and the board president’s, generally speaking.
Is it wise to raise questions about the standard of first-class cricket, allegations of corruption in lower-tier leagues or lack of long-term planning? Evidently not, because you cannot get peace down that road. Peace can only be achieved by saying ‘you are right’ regardless of how divergent the views are that you are validating.
Neither would anything, apparently, be achieved by the audacity of asking why a board president, who has been in office for seven years (that’s seven more than you), would compare a Test debacle with T20 disappointments.
You cricket romantics may be in love with the oldest format of the game, but why do you hate reality? You are quick to cite India’s upsurge in Test cricket in recent times. But if you are realistic, then you would understand that India’s T20 model of success is more important than anything and therefore our main headache should be asking why we still are not good in the shortest format.
So, have we lost anything at all after the defeat against three-Test-old Afghanistan?
It would be fair to say that some of the players were losing sleep, but the president’s soothing comments must have come as the perfect lullaby. The Tigers may have been feeling a bit uneasy as there is no ODI cricket, their favourite format, for almost a year and so would have been looking for success in the T20I tri-series starting today to clear the gloom. Thanks to the BCB president, that uneasiness has been removed early. See, many players also try to calm the waters by saying that ‘everything is alright’ and that they just need to click, so the president’s words were like slipping into an old blanket.
If still the cynics try to bargain with their logic about wrong planning, a faulty system, and wonder how the players can both be in need of Test lessons and not have shown their true colours in the loss, you can always tell them, like the Mullah told his wife -- “You’re right, too!”.
Let us then reach a philosophical conclusion: nothing is wrong in life!