The Bangladesh Cricket Board organises two exhibition matches annually, one on Victory Day and the other on Independence Day, with the slogan always being 'Cricket Reunites'. Yesterday, as the nation celebrated its 47th Independence Day, was no exception when former cricketers battled against each other in a T20 Game at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
For various reasons, the former national teammates took different paths in life after calling time on their careers but wait eagerly for opportunities like yesterday's game to meet and share light moments with former teammates and their families.
However, cricket remained the centre of all focus despite it being just an exhibition match, and the intensity and urge to do well was clearly evident in everyone involved.
Former Bangladesh captain Khaled Mahmud was in an aggressive mood when he came out to bat and saw his friend and former fast bowler Mizanur Rahman Babul with ball in hand.
“I will hit you for a six wherever you bowl!” Mahmud teased Mizanur. Mahmud struck a short, slow-medium delivery from Mizanur for a six towards deep mid-wicket and then began laughing at the bowler while another former captain and national teammate from the late 90s -- Akram Khan -- shouted from the boundary line to Mahmud, saying: “Don't spare him Sujon... Smack him all over the park!”
However, Akram also felt some pressure in the game. Just before he went out to bat, he said “I am under tremendous pressure” while pointing to his wife, who had come to watch him perform and hence, he had to do well. These are just glimpses of the nostalgia and bonhomie that characterises such events. Other former players such as Faruque Ahmed, Minhajul Abedin and Habibul Bashar also took part and lent their unique charisma.
Akram's Red team went on to win the game comfortably by six wickets, chasing the target of 167 runs set by Jahangir Alam's Bangladesh Green team. Mahmud showed his all-round skill by picking up three wickets with the ball, which was followed by an unbeaten 18-ball 28.
Even current players eagerly watched the battle of the formers, with Shakib Al Hasan, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Mushfiqur Rahim looking down from the stands.