Let Cricket Live with its true spirit

Let Cricket Live with its true spirit

We woke up at 4 am with an aim to start at 5:30 for Melbourne, which was delayed a bit as some members going with Canberra group were late to join the party. Anyway, eight plus eight total sixteen hours journey from Canberra and in-between eight hours watching and shouting to cheer up our young tigers- all seem to be justified and easily overlooked had it been a fair contested game that we all so eagerly waiting for. The spirit of Bangladeshi supporters was amazing. Because of the nature of our rough and tough long journey children and the elderly were discouraged to join our group, but the strong enthusiasm couldn’t stop them. From four year olds to mothers in their sixties joined the contingent without expressing any sign of their fatigue. When we stopped for a break and refuelling on highway rest areas, it seemed like a Bangladesh national day with many Bangladeshis from Sydney and other parts wearing their red and green shirts even at mid night. People volunteered for this tiring endeavour taking leave, closing their shops/business just out of their devotion and love for the country and the team. Some of us had to go back to work just an hour after reaching Canberra early in the morning to catch up urgent tasks. However, at the back of my mind, what haunting me throughout the day, was the sheer unjust that had undermined not only all of our pain and effort, but also the dream of millions of Bangladeshis. It would have been far easier to accept the defeat of Bangladesh if they could have played their natural game without any prejudice, fear and intervention.

What was rather an awkward and eye-catching contrast during the match at MCG, was the use of the official ICC big screen to cheer on India during the intense period of the game, such as India Jitgea, jitega whereas there was nothing of that sort for the Bangladeshi side. It appeared to be against the spirit of fair go for everyone by the ICC. I’m leaving the discussions on the rest of the incidents which took place on the MCG here, as by now everyone more or less are aware of those. Naturally question arises why that crucial catch of Rohit Sharma which appeared to be the potential deciding factor for the match had to be the first out of two no balls of the innings? Question also raises why the umpire was so quick to give his decision without consulting the TV review? Consecutively a number of decisions starting from Raina’s LBW to Mahmudullah’s out all surprisingly went against Bangladesh, which made even the neutral spectators quite suspicious. No wonder why we found an Aussie salesman commenting that Bangladesh had to play against 15 players.

The ongoing controversies didn’t just grow out of emotion and blind support for Bangladesh team alone, the concerns were raised by many independent, neutral observers, which includes some of the top cricketers/analysts of the world like Shane Warne, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and so on. Hence it cannot be just ruled out as baseless. It is more disappointing that instead of addressing those concerns of its member spectators ICC out rightly blowing away those claims without any investigation. This shows further negligence and avoidance of responsibility expected out of any trusted origination. It is strange, how some could expect these incidents would go unnoticed or undetected in this digital age. Maybe, it was thought that a minnows like Bangladesh (as it is still perceived by some) won’t dare enough to stand against the mighty ICC, which has unfortunately become a pet shop of some countries.

In such a tensed and top-notch game in quarter final, one wrong decision or an unjust treatment by concerned authorities is good enough to send a very wrong message and to break the morale in the dressing room. And this was exactly what happened in the Bangladesh tent, the reflection of which was evident in their body language later both in fielding and running between wickets. It was a not the same Bangladesh team we saw against New Zealand and England. The young tigers were inflicted by a psychological blow, which they couldn’t completely ignore. Anyway, Tigers for their own interest should now quickly get over this episode without being bogged down too much with this controversy and move on to future for a better reply through better performance.

To conclude, cricket has regrettably becoming more as a lucrative business venture rather than a sports which is highly influenced by power, money and vested interest. Unless the concerned spectators, (that is us) who are the primary and major consumers of this game, raise our voices high, we will keep seeing such things more in the near future. The beauty and spirit of sports, such as cricket which evolved through strong traditional values, will be severely affected by such lapses. Running a sports industry with the business model borrowing from film and other industry will not work in the long run. ICC is running the risk of losing confidence and the faith from its valuable audience, who are much intelligent and aware than those in the past. If this continues, sooner or later they will have to succumb to their own peril. History will prove that one day.

Wake up people and let Cricket live as a true sports with its real spirit!

21 March, 2015: Ahmed Imran


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