The quadrennial affair of cricket’s mega show – the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 – is just round the corner. The cricket extravaganza will kick off with the opening match at the Oval in which the host nation, England, which mothered the game, will take on South Africa on the penultimate day of this month. Unlike the previous occasions, this Cricket World cup is a fresh breath of air and going to be historic in light of the fact that this is the fifth time England and Wales are hosting the event and the final match will be held at the Lord’s – said to be the Mecca of Cricket – for the same number of times. Since Bangladesh cricket has now come of age, this biggest stage of cricket, as featured for the 6th time, is all-important for it.
English condition, where pitches are often laced with bounce, moisture, and freak has always been proved to be a different new ballgame for the cricketers of this continent. Keeping this fact in mind, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCC), the governing body of Cricket, has announced the name of the15-member-squad with reposing trust in the experienced players. Although already known to all, let’s look through the name that made the list of the squad for the sake of brief analysis. Unsurprisingly, Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarker and Liton Das have been selected for carrying out the role to open the innings. As the country’s premier opener, inform Tamim is of automatic choice. While there was a slight hiccup with other dashing duo as they have gone through bad patches in recent times, fortunately they have weathered the storm of doubt about their ability by doing well in bat in the recent tri-nation series in Ireland.In the middle order, Sakib-al-Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammadullah, Mohammad Mithun and Sabbir Rahman will be seen doing their part. After recovering from injury picked up in BPL match in 2018, Sakib, the ace all rounder, has finally turned the corner showing his class in the ongoing matches. Mushfiqur, the picket-sized dynamo, continues to show stellar performance; promising Mithun, hard-hitter Sabbir, swashbuckling Mosaddek all are on right track, though the cricket maven Mohammdulla is not in that good shape due to his previous injury. In the bowling department, Mashrfe-bin-Murtaza, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehedi Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, and Abu Jayed look well and balanced. Inspiring skipper Mashrafe, undoubtedly the best pacer Bangladesh has produced ever, seems more like his old self as he still, in his late thirties, is squarely effective in new and old ball. On the other hand, ravenous Rubel, showstopper Mustafiz, scintillating Mehedi, astute Saifuddin and impressive Abu Jayed who is still wet behind the ears, are all poised to grab the opponents’ scalps. Overall, the team is being looked on as the most experienced one ever in the world cup history of Bangladesh.
Now that the stage is set, it is up to the players to hold their nerve in field and bring out their best. Prior to the departure for Ireland, when the team called on her, Tigers were rightly advised by our Prime Minister that they should take no pressure and play their game with confidence. The premier also told the players to not panic during crisis moments and face the situation with a cool head and use their tactics to overcome hurdles. She also asked the Tigers to play calculative games and not to be afraid of their opponents. She affirmed that someday Bangladesh would surely win the World Cup.
Cricket in this region has incredible power to tie the nation in one thread. There might have been unapologetically partisan politics and bitter rivalry among the politicians and their supporters in the country but they all get united when it comes to cricket. There are many die hard fans that are crazy about cricket. Many staunch supporters behave as though they live and breathe cricket. In this day and age, many ardent spectators take to social media to express their unfettered support of keeping fingers crossed and engrossed in praying through comments, emoji and stickers throughout the games. In all fairness, support base has little to do with cricket in the field; rather it’s the performance of the players and the result of the game that are counted for at the end of the day.
So, while it is important to play fearless cricket, imperative is also for the on-field players to be on their guard against tricks of opponents. This is because, like all other sports, cricket is a ruthless game, and one cheeky shot, a foolhardy drive or a missed chance may turn the whole match on its head, and that it cannot be reversed by hundreds of virtuous shots. Besides, unlike other team games, where combined team efforts largely play decisive role in the outcome, herein cricket individual player’s skills play a fair amount in determining the fate of a match. So, it’s necessary that at least one or two players stand head and shoulders above the rest to turn the tide for them in each match.
Hopefully, our cricketers have started to show this mettle as we saw in the just concluded tri-nation series in Ireland. Nothing could be better than clinching a series just days before the showpiece event rolling on. Therefore, Tigers can now go full steam ahead into the World cup, and move in for the kill, setting their heart on putting up fierce resistance to win every match. We hope the winning streak in tri-nation series gets through subsequent matches of World cup campaign, and the Tigers keep the momentum going. Finally, in a similar vein to our Prime Minister, we also like to say, but in a slightly different way, that this World Cup title is within the grasp of Bangladesh provided that Tigers are on the up and raise their game in every match of the tournament.
The writer is an Associate Engineer, Thakral Information Systems Pvt. Ltd. Email: [email protected]