Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, June 26, 2008


By Tausif Salim

Forget foreign coaches, training and the lot what we need to do to fix our cricket is some simple engineering. In other words, put some microphones in the galleries and fix them to a speaker on the ground.

The other day I was sitting in one of the galleries in the match between Bangladesh and India. And my, oh my, the crowd or more appropriately, the horde was entertaining to say the least. While there were announcements going on in the field asking people not to make racist and/or bigoted comments, the horde took up the challenge and came up with one of the most colorful displays of verbal communication I have ever encountered.

Mind you this is not my first visit to the stadium. In fact, I am a regular at the stands, especially when it comes to Bangladesh's matches. I am used to the abuse that the crowd hurls at everyone inside the circle, but this was way over anything I have ever seen, and certainly poses a challenge as I try to refer to them at my euphemistic best.

Within seconds of his dismissal, Ashraful's parentage was called into question quickly followed by a challenged about his species, and his bedroom behavior. Tamim Iqbal, having sported a nought in the first over had come out to run around the stadium in shorts, much to the delight of the crowd. He was branded as a 'pant-chor' (trouser-thief), although I am not quite sure how that relates to his wearing shorts. Ashoka De Silva the Sri Lankan umpire, who seems to save his worst blunders to be used against Bangladesh, and a crowd 'favorite' for the same reason, was not spared. Someone commented that Ashraful deserves to be crucified for not 'uprooting one of the wickets and hitting the umpire square on the face' after he made one such decision.

And this decision was Mr. De Silva's attempt at playing God by granting Virender Sehwag a life when he was clearly out caught plumb in front by Mashrafee's trademark in-swinger. For some weird reason, the replay was not shown on the large screen for quite some time, and even when it was shown 10-15 minutes later, it was abruptly cut short. The crowd, however, had seen what they needed to see and the entire stadium came alive, shooting curses at the umpire. (Thank God this is not the world of Avada Kedarva.) Minutes later, Sehwag was taking full toll of his second life by hitting the ball all over the park, and these replays were shown over and over.

One particularly agitated spectator exclaimed “tor baap chaar martese dekhaitesos, ar tor dulabhai je tor bapre out korlo oida dekhas na shala **^%&&” (You are showing replays of your dad hitting fours, but when your brother-in-law got your dad out you preferred not to show it). In response, another guy said maintaining an astonishingly straight face: “Bhai, baap ar dulabhai onek dipherence nah?” (Won't you agree there is a lot of difference between one's dad and brother-in-law?)

And we thought Bangalis didn't have a sense of humor.


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