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Mashrafe muffled

If you take a poll in Kolkata right now, asking the cricket fans who they hate most, Greg Chappell or John Buchanan, you're most likely to get pretty even numbers. In fact, you might get more votes on the Buchanan side, which would've been unthinkable a year or so ago. Why this hostility against Buchanan? Because he is slowly ruining the most financially successful cricket team of the IPL, the Kolkata Knight Riders. Why do we care? Because our very own Mashrafe Bin Mortaza is [technically] playing for this team.

Of course, it might not be very fair to put the blame entirely on Buchanan's shoulders. Part of the blame goes to the owner of the team, Shah Rukh Khan. He has supported Buchanan's numerous strategies, the most infamous of which, is the Four Captains theory. Buchanan stated that there will be four captains to the team, which was later amended by a press release saying that there will be numerous strategists helping the captain. Sunil Gavaskar gave a scathing remark, “[Buchanan is a] failed former cricketer making a living telling international players to do what he couldn't do at first class level.” Shah Rukh replied, “I am the owner of the team, I bought it. If he [Gavaskar] wants to implement something, let him buy a team.”

The second thing that ticked fans off was Sourav Ganguly being shoved aside and Brendon McCullum being appointed captain. Although many acknowledge McCullum's batting skills, but they question his ability to lead better than Ganguly, one of the most successful captains of India.

But the thing that really makes us Bangladeshis mad, is the treatment of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza. Kolkata has so far lost 7 out of their 8 games, many of the losses attributed to lousy bowling. “The team management, aka Buchanan [who has been given sole power to determine the line up], sees fit to keep the number 8 bowler in ICC ODI rankings sitting on the bench. Who is he playing instead? Henriques; an Aussie U-19 cricketer with the experience of playing only one international match, where he scored one run. He may be talented, but doesn't Mashrafe deserve a single shot, if Henriques does,” says Ornob, an ardent Mashrafe fan.

Some are more indifferent. “He's getting paid without having to play, isn't he,” asks Oeshwik. There are some rumours circulating on the net about Mashrafe not being offered a contract to sign. There is no official news on that front, except the Director of KKR blowing the rumours off as “absurd” and saying that the whole world saw the auction and Mashrafe will get his dues. Still, nothing concrete on Mashrafe being signed.

There are other fans who have lost all hope. “I only watch KKR games so that I can laugh when they lose,” says CJ. “Before, there was a vague worry of Mashrafe being selected and not delivering. Now, it doesn't seem to matter all that much. Kolkata are out either way.”

If Shah Rukh Khan had let Kings XI Punjab take him, Mashrafe would certainly have played. Kings XI looks like they could use a decent fast bowler. But apparently, Shah Rukh doesn't know how to lose. Well, his team is certainly getting some damn good lessons.

By Kazim Ibn Sadique

Dhaka cycle race 2009

Photo by Maher Khan
As cars and passerby's passed Bishwa Road on the 1st of May, they could not help but stop and look at what was going on. Scores of excited teenagers were cheering by the road side at 7am in the morning! What was all the excitement about? The Dhaka Cycle Race 2009, of course!

The Dhaka Cycle Race 2009, which was conducted by the event management group The Source and sponsored by Building for Future Ltd, started at 7am in the morning from Polwel Carnation Market in Uttara. Around 100 cyclists from all kinds of background, including International Embassy Staffs, Students, and Waiters started from the Polwel Carnation Market followed the route towards Bishwa Road. The Mastermind Community Service Club and Club Orange supported the event with around 50 volunteers who helped to clean up the roads and make way for the cyclists. Club Orange tables were present every fifty meters or so to provide water and medical attention if needed, and if one ignored the view, it would have very well been mistaken with an international event! They cyclists turned from the Bishwa Road and back to the Polwel Market, which was roughly around 14 kilometers. Every second was exciting as cyclists pedaled their way to the finish line. In the end, Shah Iftekhar Alam came in first, and was followed by closely by Amy Freidman and Greg Freidman who came in second and third place respectively.

At the prize giving ceremony hosted by Omar Khalil and Mehnaz Huda Nova, the winners were handed out prizes by the President of REHAB Eng. Tanvirul Haque Probal. The winner of the race Shah Iftekhar Alam received ten thousand taka and a trophy. The second place winner Amy Freidman won Six thousand taka and the third place winner Greg Freidman won four thousand taka. Surprisingly, Greg and Amy decided to donate the money to and environmental group which cleans the sea coasts around the world.

Amer Khan, the Director of The Source Management Ltd. gave a brief summary to the participants and the spectators of what the cycle race was about. The mission of the Race was to create an intensive awareness among the people of Bangladesh regarding the fast deteriorating level of pollution in Dhaka city in terns of noise and air through motor vehicles. The Source and Club Orange did an excellent job of uniting people from different walks of life in a mission to raise awareness for one of the most important issues in recent times- the Environment. The Race not only brought awareness to the participants, but also to the bystanders who were watching the event. It is sure that both the participants and the spectators will begin to contribute to the “Green Revolution” as stated by the organizers. The Source has plans to continue conducting one of the largest Amateur cycle races in Dhaka and Chittagong in the months to come. So the next time, be sure to grab your bike and hit the road for one of the most exciting races in Dhaka!

By Sumaiya T Ahmed

Dhaka Basketball starts with a
“Big Bang”

The “Big Bangs” is a fairly recognizable name in the Dhaka sports scene. The best basketball players around Dhaka all try out for this all-star team, hoping their skills are good enough to earn them a spot. However, the “Seven Nation Army” of basketball is not just a place where kids show off skills. The team is also involved in many humanitarian projects, such as building houses and basketball courts for children around the country. In a country dominated by cricket and football, basketball probably won't show up in the top three most popular sports. Yet, the “Big Bangs”, through their athletic prowess and social humility, have earned themselves a reputation that other athletes could only dream of.The humble roots of this organization make this success story even more touching. In the cold winter of 2007, two members of Habitat for Humanity decided to get together and form a basketball team. They acknowledged the fact it would be an uphill task, yet they wanted to touch kids on a personal level, and basketball was all they had in common. So, they started recruiting other ballers. After a couple of tournaments sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and Virgin, they started to pick up steam. Now, the Big Bangs has a core group of about 25-30 players, coming from all age groups and schools. Pierre and Rod's dream has finally become a reality. The ultimate basketball service club team was created.

The Big Bangs get enough recognition for their basketball abilities. They play games about once a week and they hold tournaments every couple of months. No matter how close people get to defeating them, it never happens. They are too good. Every shot they take hits nothing but net, their defense stifles their opponents, and their physical condition gives them the ability to outlast all who challenge them. They do not, however, get nearly enough recognition for their efforts in bettering the lives of children across Bangladesh. About every two or three months, they will take a trip down to rural Bangladesh and help refurbish a court or finish up a house. The fact that these athletes are willing to take time and help the community that made them is touching if not anything.

So, in a country where basketball is not, and probably will not be recognized as one of the top sports for a long time, these players are making a name for themselves by showing other athletes that they should help the community. Hopefully their message will inspire others around Dhaka to take advantage of the opportunities they have and help out the community. Then, the Big Bang will be a success.

By Ihsan Kabir



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