Vol. 5 Num 212 Mon. December 27, 2004  

100 reasons to cheer

The end of a year always offers something special and for Bangladesh 2004 will be remembered for one particular night. The Sunday night on December 26 might have been one of those chilly nights elsewhere in the country, but the mercury was rising at the Bangabandhu National Stadium where Habibul Bashar's men were about to write an Oscar-winning script against Sourav Ganguly's India.

The settings at the Big Bowl could not have asked for an eruption of a different kind on a day when some countries in the part of the world had been rocked by a massive quake.

But in our case the jolt was not of a violent nature rather it was a spontaneous outpouring of emotions once a little Aftab Ahmed knocked a simple piece wood over to cap Bangladesh's 15-run victory.

The whole stadium exploded sending shock waves across the country.

The picture was the same whether one was standing in a remote hamlet or a bustling metropolis like Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna or Sylhet.

Jubilant cricket fans of all ages came out on to the streets waving the red and green flags, honking horns, beating drums, dancing and chanting slogans proclaiming their national heroes.

Many might have missed the chance of a lifetime to watch the landmark 100th ODI of Bangladesh with their own eyes, but one thing was for sure, wherever the fans were they had to be glued to the TV set.

As usual the Teachers Student's Centre of Dhaka University, which has been the focal point of many of this country's triumphant celebrations, once again was awash in colours.

St}dents from all residential hall{ of the university gathered there and they were soon joined by people from all strata of life. The TSC turned into a human sea.

A big motorcycle procession added spice to the part atmosphere.

The scene revisited Bangladesh's last major celebration way back in 1999 after the Tigers' famous victory over Pakistan in the England World Cup.

When this reporter asked how they were felling at that moment the reply was simple but symbolic "Bangladesh, Bangladesh". But there was hundred reasons to celebrate the historic win for a country where success in any field of life is few and far between.

"I can't believe that we won the match against India, especially at home. I intended to watch the game but failed to get a ticket. However, I won't mind missing a chance to go to the s|adium if our cricketers win again and again," said Mamun, a third-year student of Dhaka University.

"I can never forget the victory. It is a special mommnt for us. I think our boys at last silenced the critics," said Maumn's friend Avik.

Even cops joined in the merry-making. Some law enforcers standing on a truck at the end of the day's duty at the Big Bowl were seen dancing on way back to the barracks.

INSPIRATION APLENTY: Dhaka crowd, holding a giant Bangladesh national flag, cheers the home side on against India in the second one-day international from the stands of the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. PHOTO: Anisur Rahman