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Striped Cats, Loud Meows

By Jawad

We lost again.

This trip to Zimbabwe was a big challenge for us; probably even more than an Australia or South Africa tour. Because considering the recent strength of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, it can be said that, what England is to Australia, Zimbabwe is to us. If we win, it won't be anything extra-ordinary: the newspapers probably won't make it a front-page headline, which they have done for every major cricketing victory. But if we lose, there will be only a handful that won't pick up their torches and pitchforks. Since the boys made a mockery of their 10 years in Test cricket, let's jump on the popular band wagon.

The hopes were high. Bangladesh was slated as the favourites for numerous reasons. Zimbabwe hadn't played a Test match for about 6 years, their last one against Bangladesh held in September 2005. They clearly lost the cricketers from their golden age; there are no Andy Flowers, Heath Streaks or Paul Strangs in this team. Sure, they might have had one or two ODI wins here and there, but 5-day cricket is a whole different ball game. We had to bet on Bangladesh.

On the other hand, despite everything Geoff Boycott says, the man more concerned with his mother-in-law than talking sense, the performance graph of our cricketers has been going upward; upward with a few bends along the way. It is more prominent in the 50 over games though. We have a fine array of cricketers. And we get a hell of a lot of matches against quality opponents than Zimbabwe does. Yet we displayed quite a pathetic brand of cricket, where our bowlers toiled hard on a flat wicket trying to check the runs rather than taking wickets, our batsmen contracting a disease where they mistake Test cricket as one-days and our cricketers as a whole mistake themselves as the arrogant Australian bigwigs. The Australian haughtiness comes from their ability to play the game, people.

The new-look Zimbabwe side were put to bat first in a batting heaven. If the pacers could just take a couple of early wickets, the game could have been quite different. But they played it safe. Test match bowling is about making the batsman play and inducing mistakes, not bowling way outside the off-stamp and letting him leave it. That only works if you are playing against Bangladesh. Masakadza's century after 10 years and sensible knocks from Bangladesh's bane, Brendan Taylor, and other batsmen helped them put 370 on board. Ashraful, Shakib and Nafees scored half centuries each and reduced the Zimbabwe lead (come on, you knew Bangladesh couldn't cross 370) to only 83. Ashraful's hard-fought 73 made sure that he can be dropped for the next seven matches and we wouldn't miss a thing.

The Zimbabwean second innings was all Taylor. Now that's a player a Bangladeshi should really hate. First Test in 6 years, first Test as captain; you wouldn't even notice it in his two innings of 71 and 103*. That's how a captain should play. Calm and cool, he declared after posting 375 as a target at a very sporting time. Some even called it risky and reckless. Bangladesh had every chance of winning with four sessions to go.

It is just as Tamim said; they could only lose if they lost to themselves. And they did exactly that. Bad shots, errors in judgement and a certain lack of determination brought about their downfall.

Congratulations to Zimbabwe. They have done what Bangladesh has never managed to do: beat the favourites in a Test series. As Brendan Taylor said, “I think we wanted it a bit more than the Bangladeshis.”

Bangladesh has a long way to go to compete in the upper tier. The month-long fitness training was quite effective as they survived the five-day game and physically they seemed ok. But they failed miserably both with bat and ball. Stuart Law has a tough task on his hands.

We hope our players learn a thing or two about humility chuck their groundless pride where it belongs and keep their eyes on the ball. And for God's sake, win the ODI tournament 5-0. It is embarrassing enough as it is.

Photo Courtesy: www.espncricinfo.com

Last week our topic was Lovestory. We had a huge turnout this week, some of them quite interesting. The article below was chosen because it was different in the sense that it was touching in an almost effortless manner. The premise was relatable and the story was not alien. The writer took liberties in interpreting the topic to suit the write up. For next week, our topic will be Asphalt. Submissions need to be sent in to ds.risingstars@gmail.com before Sunday noon and have to be within 500 words. Good luck.


By Dipita Fahim

Hey were unconditionally in love, or so I had been told. Young and full of fresh hope, they let no obstacle appear in their way, battling every problem together. I listened with sheer disbelief and a painful longing. I spent hours with my grandmother as she told me about their unparalleled love. I would try to picture it and fail, for I had witnessed none of it.

As far back as my memory allowed me to go, I could see ragged faces and incensed eyes. I perceived the intolerance and rage that gushed out of them as they glared at each other. That was what my childhood memories were composed of. With my face resting on my knees, I would sit in the corner of my little room as screams pierced the darkness while my parents battled it out each night.

The days were better, especially after I started attending school. Schoolwork kept me busy, but horror crept back right before the school bell rang to dismiss us for the day. I knew I would go home to see my mother's bloodshot eyes. Or perhaps she'd lock herself up in her room and I wouldn't see her at all. But hell was truly unleashed when my father returned from work. I would close the door and cover my ears. Months would pass in the same manner. My aunt told me that they had always supported one another all through their teenage years and early twenties when they would sing to each other, laugh together and chat merrily for hours. I didn't believe a thing. All I had ever heard from them were relentless shrieks, screamed accusations and muffled curses, punctuated by the thuds of slamming doors. Some nights my father wouldn't come home for days. I would wake up to the sound of my mother sobbing and swearing. With my pillow over my head, I would try to pretend I was dead.

The cycle began once more when my father came home. I could feel the venom in their words passing on to me as I swallowed back surges of nausea. The reverberation of shattering glass would penetrate the brief silences. I started to adapt to it; sleeping became easier. Every morning I found my dad curled up in a disturbingly uncomfortable position on the living room couch. Years wove in and out like so.

My relatives spoke of the days when they were always at each other's side, inseparable. If they had to part temporarily, they would pass their time telephoning and writing letters to one another.

And today they live in two different corners of the globe. I travel from one to the other twice a year, spending six months with each. This is the best that is possible now. And I don't mind when people still tell me stories about how they used to be like two peas in a pod. Yes, stories. That's all those are to me. Nothing but some silly love stories.


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