Vol. 5 Num 1120 Wed. July 25, 2007  

Cricket adds to gloom

A pall of gloom grips everything. Look outside and it's raining. So, the thought of venturing out is quite impossible, as water has swelled every city street and boulevard. It is better to watch some television and as soon as you do that, you will get more depressed if you are watching our cricketers in action in Sri Lanka. Because the same boys who made us smile just a few months ago, are getting beaten and out-thought in every way possible. Regardless of which team they are playing against, a performance like this can only make one feel worse, given the current situation in the country.

Over the past few weeks, nothing has gone right for the people of Bangladesh. Rain and floods have already begun to ravage our cities and villages. There is a process of national 'reforms' (unfortunately the country's sport has so far not been included in it) going on. Still, life of the masses has not getting any better. A spate of murders and muggings; Price of almost everything, except that of peoples' lives, have gone up. Nobody looks comfortable regardless of whether one fall in the 'haves' or 'have nots' of the society.

Cricket however more often than not played the role of a healer of real life sufferings.

A good performance in Sri Lanka would have fitted in nice amidst all this because it is a feel-good factor for us Bangladeshis. One can say our warm relationship with the national team and its exploits is something that we cherish. But one needs to understand that if cricket is a feel-good factor, then it must have delivered something when the country needed it to.

"Definitely a good performance by the national team brings the people a lot of joy," said former national cricketer Rafiqul Alam at the picturesque Dhanmondi Cricket Academy ground during yesterday's mid-afternoon downpour. "But the boys in Sri Lanka have disappointed in the sense that they did not realise what was needed of them. If they gave a strong performance in the Test matches and at least won a one-day match, it would have made a huge difference to the mood of this country," said the most consistent batsman of his era.

Asked why they could not even get close to a good performance, Alam said that the spate of one-day matches against the likes of Zimbabwe, Kenya, Scotland, Canada and Bermuda in the last year or so have given them easy wins but has made this lot of players unprepared for the bigger opponents.

"Wins against the minnows have left them undercooked for a team like Sri Lanka. It gave the players and the former management a lot of pay bonuses but now it is quite evident as they are not even competing with Sri Lanka," said Alam.

By sending an interim coach with no experience at the top level, the authorities suggested that they are uninterested to send their best to a country where they normally lose. But they forgot that this is the same team that made the World Cup in West Indies worth watching.

Cricket and the people of Bangladesh have had a brilliant relationship since the days of the ICC Trophy triumph in 1997. It hit the roof when they beat Pakistan in

1999 and it hit an all-time high this World Cup.

Over the last 10 years, the country hasn't had much reason, except cricket, to cheer about.

And the way things are going, they won't even have one tomorrow.

But is it too much to hope for that if the sun rises in full bloom tomorrow, then maybe the Tiger's will turn up a performance to match its blaze and in the process bring joy to millions?