Monday, 30th October 2017

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Dejected Bangla duo leave early, miss fightback bid

Test craze reflects in Eden queue

By Debraj Mitra in Calcutta
  • Published 24.11.19, 12:19 AM
  • Updated 24.11.19, 12:19 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Cricket fans queue up to enter the Eden Gardens on Day 2 of of the India-Bangladesh pink-ball Test on Saturday afternoon. Picture by Sanat Kumar Sinha

Bangladesh put up a gutsy fightback in the last session of the second day of the pink-ball Test between India and Bangladesh but two supporters missed out on the action.

Mohammed Sarwar Alam and Abdur Rakib had come from Dhaka to watch the match but were so dejected with their team’s performance that they left the stadium before the supper break on Saturday.

“Ours is anyway a depleted side. Shakib, Tamim and some of our better players are missing. We had not expected a miracle, nor did we expect such a one-sided contest,” said Alam, 57.

Rakib, 52, echoed his friend of over four decades. “There is a total lack of fighting spirit.”

The two run separate recruiting agencies in Dhaka and have to travel to several countries for business.

They have been to Calcutta several times but never inside the Eden Gardens.

Hundreds of Bangladeshi fans flocked to Eden to be part of the cricket carnival that this pink-ball Test turned out to be. More than the cricket, they soaked in the festive spirit. The sense of the occasion was not lost on the two.

Mohammed Sarwar Alam and (right) Abdur Rakib, who had come from Dhaka to watch the Test, outside the Eden Gardens on Saturday
Mohammed Sarwar Alam and (right) Abdur Rakib, who had come from Dhaka to watch the Test, outside the Eden Gardens on Saturday Picture by Sanat Kumar Sinha

“It is such a huge moment. All the arrangements are top-notch — the pink touch in everything looks beautiful. In the middle of all the grandeur, the cricket from our team was such a let-down,” rued Rakib.

As they spoke, several giant screens showed Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane forging a partnership. A small crowd cheered when Rahane leaned on to an overpitched delivery from Ebadot Hossain, driving it through the covers for a boundary.

Had they stayed on, they would have seen another masterful century by Kohli. They would have also witnessed the “fighting spirit” of Mushfiqur Rahim, who defied the Indian pace battery and remained unbeaten on 59 when the day’s play ended.

“I have no shame in admitting that Indian players are much better. But they (Bangladeshis) are also international Test players. The supporters can expect at least a few good cricketing moments from the players,” Rakib said.

Alam and Rakib had tickets for Sunday as well but “would not waste their time” by coming to the ground.

The friends’ love for cricket goes back several decades, well before Bangladesh made its mark in the sport. “We used to listen to radio commentary from Eden in the seventies. Back then, Gavaskar and Viswanath were names that gave us goosebumps,” said Alam.

Dejected with cricket, the friends set their sights on shopping. “We are going to New Market, which never disappoints,” smiled Rakib.