Revellers in hyped-up status made to smart

By K Naresh Kumar | THE HANS INDIA |   Jun 17,2017 , 05:27 AM IST


A dream come true, it certainly is for the indefatigable fans of Indian cricket with the title clash of the 2017 Champions Trophy set up against Pakistan, that too on a Sunday.

Our unpredictable neighbour stayed true to its image and propelled itself into a pivotal slot in the tournament at the semi-final stage, moving into the final stage efficiently, defeating England, the host nation.

However, yet another country bordering ours Bangladesh seems to have over-stretched and got consumed in its own hyped up status, where an impression was sought to be provided that they were more than a match to the Cup holders.  

Quite understandably, Virat Kohli and his boys, let their bats do the talking when they overhauled the target of 265 set by their green-uniformed opponents on Thursday, in a manner which was nothing short of decimation of a team which strangely had a desperation tag attached to its efforts.

Call it the irritating influence of the social media with its trolls and memes, apart from the vitriolic, partisan comments made by the eastern country, the ambience seems to have been laced with anger and bile between the fans and the media of both the countries.

It is unfortunate and unbecoming as the smaller country, which had its entry into the big league of cricket-playing nations, courtesy an Indian initiative, was never considered a serious threat whenever it played against us over the years.

So much so, all the petty bitching that went about in Dhaka papers, over the last two years when they occasionally got the better of India and other countries in their home grounds, was at best ignored, or repaid with massive victories in the ensuing matches by captains like Dhoni and Kohli.

Things, if our sporting media is to be believed, took a turn for the worse, when Bangladesh felt done in during the 2015 World Cup quarter final when they lost to India.

One decision of the umpire Aleem Dar which favoured Rohit Sharma, declared not out despite replays showing evidence to the contrary, seems to have been a festering wound from which the Bangladeshis, right from their media to their government have not recovered. 

Adding insult to injury was the manner in which Sharma went on to move from 90, his score then to 137, which ultimately gave a 109 victory margin to India which scored 302/6 vis-à-vis 193 all out of Bangladesh.  

If this is a visible feeling, the others too seem to be quite serious enough to rankle them no end. Statistics reveal that India has not been very enthused about playing  with their small brothers, as out of the 332 matches Bangladesh has played all over the world, it has played 30-odd only against India.

Of course, the Indian Premier League has been welcoming their greats like Mustafizur Rahman and Shakib Al Hasan, who have received good support from the Indian crowd but it has not been felt encouraging enough for the team in all.

No wonder, tweets and trolls seem to be the only sources which the fans seem to take comfort in, even when the team has been trained by international coaches over the years from the days of Mohinder Amarnath to Dav Whatmore (Australian, settled in Sri Lanka) to Gordon Greenidge (West Indies) to the current Chandika Hathurasingha, a Sri Lankan cricketer of the ‘90s.

Yet what is inexplicable is the feeling of victimhood and injustice which the entire Bangladeshi establishment seems to be harbouring, more perceived than real, it appears. Bitterness has of course, been part of intensely fought competitions between traditional rivals in cricket.

Over the years, one has read and witnessed acrimonious battles between Australia and England, the mighty West Indies of the ‘70s versus the teams from the rest of the world and closer home between India-Pakistan and India-Sri Lanka through the ‘80s and ‘90s. What is noticeable here is a team which is good enough to compete but revels in punching above its weight, almost all the time, with mixed results.

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