Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home |  Volume 6, Issue 07, Tuesday, February 15, 2011




The 'good luck' bat

On February 6 2011, Beximco Group, the official sponsor of the Bangladesh national cricket team for this World Cup, held an event where Shakib Al Hasan, the captain of the team, received a replica of a very special bat the company had been working on.

Out of the box
The interior of the Hall of Fame in Bangabandhu International Conference Center was an extraordinary one. The middle of the stage that was elongated (to form a ramp for the fashion show) resembled a cricket pitch, the end of the pitch was marked by a typical set of wickets, the floors were covered with smooth green carpets, the audience was separated from the area by the boundary line. By seeing this setting from above, and from many other angles as well, the feeling of actually going to watch a live game of cricket in the stadiumwas prevalent.

But that didn't happen, of course. The players entered the hall followed by loud applause, but took their seats outside the boundary line.

Story of a bat
Earlier, Beximco conducted a nation-wide 'wish campaign' where they moved to all divisional towns to sign wishes of the people of Bangladesh regarding the World Cup- expectations and dreams about our home team. Thousands of people took part in this campaign, and the number of scribbles was huge.

Then, they were assembled together. Expressing all those feelings of such a large number of people of course needs a large enough platform. Beximco built a big bat and then posted those wishes on that. And exactly how big a bat are we talking about? Well, big enough to secure itself a spot on one of the pages of the Guinness Book of World Records! The staggering 111 feet bat that took 15 days to build was displayed on Airport Road for the public on February 5.

A replica of the bat was then gifted to the Bangladesh cricket team in that ceremony. The captain received the bat on behalf of his team. Shayan F Rahman, Director of Beximco Group, who presented the bat, said on the occasion, “We have got tremendous response in the campaign as thousands of people signed their wishes for Bangladesh which indicates how cricket is in the heart of our peopl. Beximco is honoured to be a part of the ICC Cricket World Cup.”

Many celebrities and officials of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, including A H M Mustafa Kamal- the president of the board- and senior officials of Beximco, were present at the occasion.

The event also launched the theme song for the Bangladesh national cricket team for the event. The whole album, named 'Cup Kintu Ektai', contains six inspirational songs on cricket. The launching ceremony was followed by performances of singers Mehrin, Shafin Ahmed and Bappa Majumder.

Also, Yellow, a Beximco clothing brand, commenced a new line of clothing through a fashion show. Yellow is doing its bit to uphold the World Cup craze by offering you cool and sleek jerseys and tee shirts, including the official practice jersey of the Bangladesh cricket team.

By M H Haider
Photo: Anisur Rahman


Dhaka transport

For the first time the ICC Cricket World Cup is going to be held in Bangladesh. Along with Sri Lanka and India, Bangladesh will be co-hosting the prestigious event. The whole nation is thrilled with the upcoming international event to be held in this country. The opening ceremony will take place on February 17 and the 1st match is scheduled for February 19 between Bangladesh and India.

Since the start we observed how the people of the country, especially the young generation, are very eager to be a part of history by attending the matches. Their eagerness was evident through their struggle to get hold of tickets a few weeks ago, when they braved the bitter cold to stand in long queues.

As a nation we are prepared to watch these historic moments in Bangladesh, but is the country prepared enough as a venue for World Cup cricket?

A total of eight matches will be held in Bangladesh. Out of the eight matches six will be held at Mirpur stadium in Dhaka and the other two will be held at Chittagong stadium. It is predicted that around sixteen thousand foreigners will visit Bangladesh to watch the cricket matches here. While investigating about the preparation of the transport service sector to serve this huge number of guests, it was found that every section is placing emphasis on cleanliness and security rather than availability of transport. The authorities are hopeful to serve the extra people or guests properly with existing infrastructure and number of vehicles.

General Manager (Operations) of Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC), Major Quazi Shafique Uddin said, “The BRTC buses ply in adequate numbers to and from Mirpur, which has been revamped for six matches. On the days of matches we will run a higher number of double-decker and single-decker buses on this route, relocating from other routes if necessary. So, we are hopeful that we won't have any problem with transport on those days.”

The vehicles of BRTC will wait at a certain place and at a certain time on the days of matches. These buses will run along three routes. The first route will start from Kazipara at Mirpur and will end at Motijheel through Agargaon, Farmgate, Matsya Bhaban, Press Club and Gulistan. The second route will be from Mirpur Kazipara to Uttara via Agargaon, Shaheen College, Banani and the airport. The last route will be from Sony cinema hall at Mirpur to Azimpur via Mirpur section 1, Technical, Asadgate, and New Market.

Director (Engineers) of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) Saiful Haq said, “We won't allow any unfit and old cars to run on the roads of Dhaka. We will give special attention to make all the new and polished cars available on Dhaka roads. We will use our Mirpur office for car parking on the days of cricket matches.”

Bangladesh Railway Authority is hopeful of carrying extra numbers of passengers with the existing number of trains. Additional Director General, Infrastructure (ADGI) of Bangladesh Railway Md. Anhar Mahmud said, “Ten chairs and four sleeping berths will be reserved for foreign guests on Subarna Express, Mohanagar Express and on Turna Nishitha Express and this will be available on every match day. Besides this, wheel chairs and trolleys will be arranged at Dhaka and Chittagong airports and Kamalapur Railway Station. Railway police will be deployed for maintaining comprehensive security on the railway services.”

This authority has already started working to beautify all the stations where the trains will stop or cross through. The Railway Bhaban in Dhaka will be illuminated on the day of the opening ceremony. Besides, the railway stations will be made free of beggars and hawkers as a part of preparations.

By Mahtabi Zaman


Good hosts for the big event

This year our country has the honour of hosting one of the biggest events of the sports world. Bangladesh has the privilege of hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 along with its neighbours India and Sri Lanka. With the start of the World Cup being just around the corner the entire country is preparing to beautify the cities for the reception of all the visitors that it will be having over the next few weeks. With all the visitors coming over to Bangladesh, it is our responsibility to make their stay as pleasant and enjoyable as possible. Keeping that in mind here are a few tips on what we can do to be good hosts:

Every time any of us comes across a foreign visitor we should try to greet them. Voluntarily offering to help the visitors is a good approach. Also if any of us owns a car and we see a visitor waiting for a ride we could make the effort of giving them a lift to their desired destination.

We all know that keeping our city clean is our responsibility. However, most of the time we fail to do that. As we are hosting such a huge event we should try to keep our city as perfect as possible. Thus, we should try not to litter. This will help us keep our city clean for the visitors and also help us to develop the habit of not littering our city in the future.

Often swindlers in our country hoodwink foreigners and trick them out of a lot of money in the name of showing them around the city. If we see or suspect somebody of such acts then we should try to report them to the police or prevent foreigners from falling in their traps. We should also make our visitors aware of such dangers.

Those of us who have the time and ability to do so could offer to show the visitors around the city and make them familiar with our culture and heritage. This will show how hospitable Bangladeshis are as a people.

The opportunity to host the World Cup is quite a valuable and beneficial one for Bangladesh. It will cause more people around the world to be aware of Bangladesh thus, creating newer possibilities for us. And, as citizens it is our duty to contribute what we can, to uphold a positive image of Bangladesh.

By Karishma Ameen
Photo: Anisur Rahman


South Africa 2010 vs South Asia 2011

As the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 approaches, the world holds its collective breath. Correction; 14 countries from more than 190 countries actually hold their breath. Upon further revision, it seems that it is perhaps about a 100 people who are holding their breath. The fact is the Cricket 'World' Cup is not really that big of a deal.

Remember last year when the FIFA World Cup was starting? Though it was held in South Africa, the fever pitch infected every area of Bangladesh. The flags of Germany, Brazil, Argentina and even Ghana dominated the country's sky-line. No one spoke of anything but the FIFA World Cup. Remember the ICC 2007 Cricket World Cup? Neither do I. Granted that it was held 3 years before the FIFA World Cup, the fact remains that Cricket World Cups just do not stand out. All people remember are basically You-tube moments, clips they saw the night before and then they pretend that they never forgot those moments to begin with. Ladies and gentlemen, 2010 was a sad year to be a cricket fan and unfortunately 2011 will not be much different.

It isn't that football fans hate cricket. Rather, cricket hates itself. The focus on games is much less than the coverage generated by scandals and controversies. Cricket is fast becoming a prolonged soap opera, reaching a point where predicting the Ashes becomes as easy as predicting Undertaker's Wrestlemania matches. We know who's winning before the first ball is even played. Of course that's a bit unfair, but in all honesty, cricket doesn't produce too many upsets. Sure, there are one-hit wonders, but the outcome of the series is well-known. Also, the matches are just too long. In a fast paced world of immediate tweets and frequent earthquakes, sitting through 100 overs of monotony, punctuated by certain incidents of brilliance, is too much. 90 minutes is well and good, especially when there are repeated twists and turns and thrilling yet unpredictable encounters. Take the Spain Vs Netherlands final or even the 1999 Champion's League encounter between United and Bayern; those were instant classics. Counter that with Inzy procuring magic to destroy Bangladesh's hope and that one victory in some forgotten World Cup that Bangladesh had against Pakistan; not good enough.

The football World Cup includes 32 nations at least and FIFA has 208 associations. ICC on the other hand has 108 members. While one can easily name 50 top footballing nations in their own right, the same person can name not more than 10 top cricketing nations. Furthermore, of the 10 top cricketing nations, 5 will never win the World Cup. In fact, only 3 have a real chance. Boring isn't it? Add the fact that FIFA's World Cup distributes prize money worth $420 million while ICC's World Cup offers around $10 million, and you get more laughs and yawns.

Of course before being accused of being too negative, one must add that Bangladesh is in the World Cup. That is the best part of the World Cup, but that too has been a little tarnished by the inclusion of Ashraful. Even Christopher Reeve could score a 100 if he played 1055.7 matches. Still, the heart follows Bangladesh, despite the reluctance of actually sitting down to watch them play. Also when Siddons said reach for the sky, Shakib must've misunderstood since he is only reaching for the quarter finals. When that is the limit, it is indeed a sad day.

The only reason that many people watched cricket was because of Brian Charles Lara. Period. Now even that is gone. No disrespect but cricket cannot unite the world like football can. In fact, cricket can divide the world better as India's constant repetition of the fact that they will win the World Cup, when they clearly won't, just makes you want to switch off Indian channels for good. Sachin-shaped soaps and gold coins or not, India will not win the World Cup.

In conclusion, as bad as it feels to say it at this point of time, cricket is really not as big as football. It can never be and it shouldn't even try. Apart from the sub-continental craze and national pride at stake, it is nothing to write home about. Cricket is in dire need of a face-lift and some heavy investment. The younger generation is moving away and a lot is at stake, something that cannot be changed by debating about white and light pink balls.

By Osama Rahman


Musings of the other side

If one asked me why the date February 19th, 2011, was so important, they would probably just get a blank look from me. But, for the sake of writing this column, now I know why it is so important. Apparently, a group of men from countries all over the world are going to come over to our country and run around with a bat trying to hit a ball, and they are going to start doing so on the coming 19th. Please do not think that I am so ignorant that I do not even know the name of this much worshipped activity. For the sake of this column, I have also made the effort to find out its name: Cricket.

Growing up, I was never a sports fan at all. If one said the word “duck” to me while watching cricket, you probably know by now what I would be looking for on the television screen. The only time I ever tried watching any game was during the football World Cup 98 and the cricket World Cup 99, although I was so excited to do it because the grown-ups did it. After that, there was no looking back towards the television, that is, when a game was on. One may say that I am just a girl, and girls do not understand matters of such great importance. And that one person would definitely, without any doubt, be a person of the opposite gender. But, the scenario is quite different.

It seems like girls are no less interested in this game than the boys. I know girls who are die-hard fans of cricket; in fact, I have a cousin who is willing to come to Bangladesh from the United States just to watch the game! To me, that is just an outrageous idea. If it were me, I would probably go on a vacation to a beach with all that money. It definitely would be better than sitting in the stifling sun, surrounded by hundreds of people squashing you.

What amazes me is how crazy people are for this game. It is almost like a religion to them. People have been seen spending days waiting in long queues for tickets. It is impossible to fathom why people even get into fights over this, a mere game, that will take place today and will not make any difference to the lives of its fans materially (unless you are laying a bet on it!).

Then again no two persons are alike. And sports fans have their own interests and I have mine. But, just because I find watching a cricket match as effective as a powerful dose of sleeping pills, does not mean I will not be supporting the Tigers of our country. Hopefully and surely they will be victorious.

By Karishma Ameen



home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2010 The Daily Star