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     Volume 5 Issue 113 | September 22, 2006 |

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Slavery Syndrome Swings So


CRICKET officials in Bangladesh are changing the name of their entity as fast as they change the team's top order, middle order and lower order. For those of you not aware about the game (claimed to be played and managed by gentlemen once upon a time) those are in fact the only three orders.

First there was nothing. Then it was BCCB, and then BCB, then reversal to BCCB, and now volte-face again to BCB. Most recently there was an attempt to change the name to Cricket Bangladesh but in a meeting last week the cabinet (inclusive of several mahalla-level cricketers) decided in favour of the three-letter acronym.

I only know of failed film actresses in Dhaliwood and wreen khelapees and hardened criminals who change names any faster, from one orofey to another.

Going by press reports the now-renamed Bangladesh Cricket Board may at one stage be compelled to consider even me as a Captain because (ahem!) I know how to speak in English. What a load of bull excrement! Not my English, but the Board's alleged attitude. One wonders what other considerations will come into play other than cricket in choosing our best side. He does not look good on TV, don't take him. He is from New Kyali, consider him. His uncle holds a 'green card', pick him.

If we are talking of a sports team, only performance and character should come into play. Good English is not at all necessary as long as one can communicate. Even words seem needless. Here is how one Chinese had his message understood, despite depending heavily on numerals, both forward and backwards. Thanks to my friend who emailed it.

Said the Chinese: “1 day I go 2 climb up a 3 outside a house to peep. But the couple saw me, so I panic and 4 down. The man rushes out and wanted to 5 with me. I run until I fall 6 and throw up. So I go into 7 eleven and grab some 8 to throw at him. Then I took a 9 and try to stab him. 10 God he ran away.

“So, I put the 9 back and pay for the 8 and left 7 eleven. Next day, I call my boss and say I am 6. He said 5, tomorrow also no need to come back 4 work. He also asked me to climb a 3 and jump down. I don't understand, I am so nice 2 him but I don't know what he 1.”

See! You did understand every word he wanted to say, and that is all that is important. My fear is that going by BCB's present standard our entire team may soon be made up of boys from English-medium schools because if both the captain and the vice captain should fall 6, 10 it will be 1 of them who has 2 speak 4 them.

We have seen some of the greatest leaders in the world not speaking a word of English, mostly out of national pride, and not a revolution has ever stumbled because its leader was not in BCB's list of probable captains. As a leader you talk through your action and achievements. As a cricketer you talk with the bat. Let your bowling do the talking. Your fielding should say a lot about you. The rest can be very well spoken in khaati Bangla. But if you know how to play and also speak the phoren lingo, go ahead by all means. If you do speak in BBC English and get a duck or get hit for three sixes in a row then we will do the talking in khaati Bangla, and you know very well it does not stop at shaala.

Knowing a second language is always an advantage, but let not this lacking disadvantage a genuine talent who can earn some fame for the country, be it in any field sports, culture, literature. Let there be an interpreter for those who are unable to respond to an English-speaking interviewer. Let a team-mate or the manager come forward to assist him. It's always happening in China, Japan, Europe, the Latin Americas… even in beauty pageants.

Now some sad figure will come up with the sorry argument that “where China, where we”. But have we ever stopped to think that perhaps they are there because they never shied away from speaking their mother tongue in front of the whole world. They never considered it a hindrance, rather the best means of expression. This after so much of blood spilt?

Whack Warne for a six or two in every over. Skittle the wickets behind Sachin before he reaches ten in every innings. They will want to speak in Bangla. Try it; it could make a whole lot of difference.

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