Fans may still be reeling from Bangladesh’s group-stage exit from the World Cup, but the real impact is borne by the touring journalists who are reduced to being nomads when the object we are chasing, the Bangladesh cricket team, is no longer setting the pace.
During Bangladesh’s matches, we did not even think about whether we would get prime position inside the press box. The overflow -- a space created with makeshift benches installed in the gallery -- had not really entered our consciousness as we were from the country being represented by the team on the field.
Yesterday, covering the semifinal between India and New Zealand, most Bangladeshi journalists were shunted to the overflow. Yours truly had gotten special treatment. Lining up at the Old Trafford press box to see the seat allocations, beside this reporter’s name was written ‘no table’. The lady behind the desk smiled apologetically and said, “Looks like you have no table.”
The man sitting beside her was a little less sympathetic. “Looks like you will have to sit on his [my fellow Bangladeshi reporter who had gotten a table] lap.”
Soon we were guided from the comforts of the press box out into the gallery. I sat desk-less among the spectators, who had started loudly cheering New Zealand wickets when the match started. A pair of headphones had rarely been appreciated with as much sincerity.
The only upside was that Jasprit Bumrah’s bowling looked even more impressive closer to the ground level. The downsides: the noise, the threat of sixes crashing through laptop screens and the rain that, besides stopping the match, may also stop my laptop.
The rest of this was written under the cover of the media centre lobby and the last 10 overs of New Zealand’s innings watched on a flat-screen television. Even if there is no rain in the England-Australia semifinal in Birmingham tomorrow, there is the threat of overflowing beverages of enthusiastic Aussie spectators.
The Tigers have never been more sorely missed.