We went up against England in consecutive World Cups and came out victorious. Some might argue about England’s form, or our sheer luck; some might comment on our sentiments or some might just find our victory laps funny. We always have a strong defense to shut them critics up, and why won’t we, when the team is blazing and basking in historical glory? But wins and elation comes with a price – a hangover price.
“Mashrafe thik moto hatte pare na. Kintu Bangladesher jonno douray.” – This statement appropriately describes the dedication, the devotion and the love for the sport, and for the country, our captain has to give. Young Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, debuting against Zimbabwe, back in Chittagong in 2001, used to bowl at 140kmph average. Sustaining injuries over the years has reduced the average speed to somewhere near the 129kmph mark. We see him limping almost all the time off the field, and we have always seen him running with the grit of a tiger to bowl a perfect jaffer, one delivery at a time, for 10 overs. The character, the strength and the leadership of such a man speak more than his words. But still we, as fellow countrymen, decide to insult him after Friday prayers, in a land far away from home, because we found it appropriate enough to do so, just after a bad performance, that too when the campaign was far from being over. To make my stance clear: criticisms are always welcome, but do we have to lash out at a captain just for a single match, where the effort was average? No.
We had our fair share of opener problems. From Opi to Nafis, from Junaid to Nafees, and now to Tamim. Tamim Iqbal has been around for the nation for quite some time now. Granted we seldom play against big nations but, whenever we do, this man is almost always responsible for a sensible start and putting some quick runs on the board. We have chanted his name and many have idolized. However, now we see him on and off, struggling to bat till the 5th over and chasing balls outside the off-stump with horrible or no footwork whatsoever. Then we act sensibly and ask the board what’s up. The inability to replace Tamim Iqbal, an opener in such horrid form and letting him play at his place enraged us to a point where we start to insult his illustrious career – one that helped us pull through to the Asia Cup finals – and want him fired from the National Cricket Team. Is it justified? No.
We are at a hangover. We jump and laugh and chant our hearts away at every win – margins never mattered – and end up being the worst critics when the team loses. We, as supporters, fans and millions of prayers that drive these 11 men on the field, should slowly mature, as the team matures into a fine unit. We need to understand that Cricket, beyond acts of unity, is indeed a sport, and what constitutes a sport is the idea of winning and losing. One has to win,