Bangladesh players exchange Eid greetings in New Zealand

by Priyo Australia | December 20, 2007 3:23 pm

Eid in Hamilton, Rabeed Imam 20-December-2007

HAMILTON: Celebrating Eid ul-Adha away from the closest and dearest ones in a foreign land can not be on the year-planner for the Bangladesh cricket squad members but professionalism demands sacrifices and therefore if the Eid day has to be spent among team mates and Bangladeshi expats, so be it.

At 7:30am (12:30am BST) the team bus escorted by compatriots living here left for the Hamilton Gardens where the main Eid congregation for local Muslims was scheduled. Most of the players wore the panjabi brought from home especially for this occasion and the prayer cap. The Eid prayer was held inside an exhibition hall which sits between the lush embankments and botanical beauties of the Gardens and the Bangladesh team’s arrival there was announced by the Imam. Among the many nationalities there the 50-odd presence of Bangladeshi men, women and children, some of whom had made the two-hour drive from Auckland just to share the Eid with the players, looked joyfully significant.

After the spontaneous Eid embraces and greetings it was time to head for the Melville Intermediate School where the Bangladeshi community members had arranged a grand breakfast for the team. The Bangladeshi population in Hamilton has temporarily crossed the 100 mark with the Tigers coming here but with all assembling in the schools cooking lab the atmosphere grew festive. Ladies of every Bangladeshi household in Hamilton were assigned to bring in a special dish of their choice and in the end the menu list had no less than 20 items including sweet delicacies.

“For most of us this is the first Eid we are celebrating away from Bangladesh but you have really made us feel at home,” said Bangladesh team manager Ahmed Sajjadul Alam while thanking the local Bangladeshis.

On behalf of the community one gentleman asked Mohammad Ashraful, the Tigers captain how the team was feeling in New Zealand.

“We have played two practice matches and the wickets look very good. The conditions are also nothing to be concerned about and this team is more experienced at this level than the one that last toured here in 2001-02. So you can look forward to a good showing from us,” said Ashraful.

Back on the team bus Mashrafe Bin Mortaza had grabbed hold of a mike and had started anchoring his own version of an Eid special. His ‘victims’ included Syed Rasel, Tushar Imran and Abdur Razzak and all were forced to sing to the audience. Then came the slapsticks designed for Aftab Ahmed who then took over and interviewed fellow Chittagonian Tamim Iqbal before giving way to Tushar. One by one all had to reply to specially designed questions that had the others bursting into laughter.

It was business as usual in the afternoon with the team practising in two groups at Seddon Park. Sajidul Islam, the left-arm pace bowler who has flown in as Syed Rasel’s replacement trained with the Tigers for the first time.

With Tushar recovering from a sore shoulder, the team management had requested an additional batsman and the selectors have chosen Rajin Saleh who will arrive in New Zealand on Tuesday.

Tomorrow the squad will leave for Auckland early in the morning to play their third warm-up match. The opponents will be the Auckland Aces who are leading the first class table here. Both sides will be allowed to field 12 players.

News and photo courtesy[1]


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