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Last year this and another chef got together to concoct the soup. This year he decides to go solo and stir up the events of 2006 letterelly. Have a taste!

2006 Alphabet Soup

Published: 9th January, 2007

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Abdur RazzaqA is for Abdur Razzak. Like our other grand old SLA, Razzak's career appeared to be done for in 2004 when his "worrisome bowling" action got him sidelined and off the national team. Elegies were sung and eulogies made as we were ready put to pasteur this young man from Khulna. Our own members offered their sorrows and moved on. But, guess what? Fast forward to 2005 and Razzak gets a recall. Fast forward to 2006, Razzak gets his revenge. Abdur Razzak became the 3rd highest ODI wicket taker of 2006 with 45 wickets and an impressive average of 17.95.

B is for Bashing. Minnow Bashing. Except this time it were us, the Bangladeshi fans, who were the guilty party as Kenya, Zimbabwe and Scotland were summarily dealt with. Fans held their heads high and started the calls for "England, next".

Previous Soups on the Menu

C is for centuries. 2006 gave us 6 centuries in the highest levels of the game. We didn't play too many Tests but we still accrued two centuries. Shahriar Nafees's 138 against the mighty Aussies is our third highest score ever. Mohammad Ashraful made it two in more ways than one with his 136 versus Sri Lanka. In ODIs, we bagged 4 centuries. Shahriar Nafees was greedy and got three against Zimbabweans. Rajin Saleh took one off of the Kenyans.

Dav WhatmoreD is for Dav. Davenell Frederick Whatmore. The soup isn't complete without a shout out to our coach. This year he wasn't in the news for the wrong reasons and let his team do the talking. And very successfully at that. His mantra of individual improvements seems to be finally bearing fruit.

AshE is for early retirement? Or perhaps untimely or not so early retirement? Fan mumbling and grumbling rose to register on some sonar as we discuss old stalwarts Mohammad Rafique and Khaled Mashud Pilot as well as the not so old heartbreaker of Mohammad Ashraful. For Rafique, we don't want him to go but we know he must soon. For Pilot, perhaps it is time for him to go now. And as for Ashraful. Sigh. Perhaps the roller coaster ride he offers us is too much for our faint hearts.

F is for Fatullah. This was the one that got away. Where to? Probably to the same place as Multan. For most of the Test we had the Aussies with their backs to the wall. Come fifth day, a painstaking Ponting century saw the visitors home with three wickets. Now does Fatullah share its spot in our collective memory with Multan or with Cardiff?.

G is for Gillespie. Whoulda thunk? Coming off of a phenomenal first Test against Australia, the second Test too became a very newsworthy item for Bangladeh when Jason Gillespie became the first nightwatchman to score a Test double hundred when he faced 425 balls and batted for nearly 10 hours for an unbeaten 201. Fine way to celebrate his 31st birthday.

H is for Habibul Bashar. Led the team through their most successful patch of their short international career without getting too much in the way with his hooks and pulls. Still a gentleman.Mirpur

I is for ICC. The ICC effectively relegated to a virtual second-tier with the new FTP program. Nary a Test and many the a times facing the likes of Zimbabwe, Kenya and Scotland over and over and over again.

J is for Javed Omar. The much maligned Javed Omar Belim Golla finally seemed to have been dropped as opener from the ODI teamChacha

K is for Khaled Mahmud. Veni, vedi, revenio, veni. In 2005, our much beloved and much belittled Chacha announce his retirement from International cricket and 2006 saw his final match - an ODI versus Sri Lanka. While Bangladesh lost, it was fitting that Khaled Mahmud top scored for his team. The autumn of the year sees him back in the National team. This time as team manager.

L is for the Lanka win. Finally. Bangladesh, arguably, has the worst record against Sri Lanka in terms of the nature of defeats. We always seem to find a way to perform abysmally when it comes to playing with our Indian ocean neighbors. It was at Bogra, in the second ODI, when we finally slayed our dragon with an all round team effort.

M is for Mirpur Stadium. Out of the ruins... Well not quite out of the ruins but almost. An old dilapidated stadium is well on its way to being the home of Bangladesh Cricket with a massive refurbishing plan. In March, the Bangobandhu National Stadium was formally handed over for exclusive use by Bangladesh's national footballers and fans lost a hallowed ground and International cricket in Dhaka for some time. 2006 saw the ICC giving its approval to the Mirpur Stadium, also known as Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Stadium and while still under construction the ground saw her maiden International.SN

N is for Nafees. Last year he had to share this spot with Nafis. This year, this is his own.This is the year he took all comers and beat them all. Cricketer of the Year Award? Check. 1000 ODI runs in a calendar year? Check. Test century? Check. ODI century? Check. Oh, make that three checks and a couple back-to-back to boot.

O is for openers. The experiment continues. At least, perhaps half an opener. We seemed to have found in Shahriar Nafees one half of our quest to find an exciting and consistent opening pair. Is Mehrab Hossain, Jr. the other half of the grail?

P is for pacers. Despite our army of SLAs, the fast men led from the front with both Mashrafe Mortaza and Shahadat Hossain having a great year. Mortaza became the top wicket-taker in ODIs for the 2006 calendar year when he took 49 wickets, with the best of 6 for 23 against Kenya. Shahadat Hossain regaled Bangladesh fans with their first everODI hattrick in the 3rd ODI versus Zimbabwe at Harare. It may have been Shahadat's high-point, it was also Mortaza's low point when he conceded 17 last over runs to hand over the win.

SaqibQ is for Queasy, the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you see the images of police brutality running rampant against honest sports journalists. Our sympathies to all the dedicated sports journalists who, in April, were beaten up mercilessly by police in Chittagong, during the second Test between Bangladesh and Australia.

R is for Rafique. Yes, the grand old man still has it. His 9/100 in that Test that got away is by far the one of the best returns of a Bangladeshi bowler. Along with Mortaza (1) and Razzak (3), Rafiq (10) made it to the top 10 ODI wicket takers of 2006.

S is for Sakib Al Hasan. A new star in the making. Graduating from the U-19 team to the senior squad, Sakib has not looked back once. Before the year was out, he topped the ODI batting averages with a not to be sneered 45 and was number two in the bowling department with a 25 average (15 wickets or more). Not to be outdone, he showed stellar performances as a fielder including a stunning catch off his own bowling to dismiss Elton Chigumbura of Zimbabwe at the Champions's trophy.Masree

T is for Tests. Actually it might as well stand for lack of them. Bashar said it best, "We are feeling good about our cricket and playing well as a team. The spirit is the best I have seen in a Bangladesh side. What pains me though, is the fact that we will not get a Test for a staggering 12 months. It is so unfortunate, especially after the series against Australia where we proved that we are a match for anybody if we play to our potential."

U is for Underwear cricket. If One-day cricket is Pajama Cricket then Twenty20 cricket must surely be Underwear cricket! Bangladesh played their first over Twenty20 International when they faced and beat the visiting Zimbabwe team. The domestic leagues also got in on the act when the Premier League launched with the first ever T20 domestic league.

V is victory. Eighteen of them in ODIs put us in the top three behind just Australia and New Zealand if you consider number of wins, or just behing Australia if you consider win percentage (64.28%). Granted some of these came facing Zimbabwe, Kenya and Scotland (see below) but as Dav opined, "We have the future tours program and unfortunately that is the way it is so we make the best we can with what we have and at the moment it's Zimbabwe and Scotland."

Aftab

W is for Whitewash. A wonderful new and tantalizing word in the Bangladesh cricket lexicon. For once we were the dhopiwallas and not the ones being laundered. Kenya 3-0. Zimbabwe 5-0. Scotland 2-0.

X is for sign at the X. Another sign that Bangladesh Cricket has arrived in 2006 when the BCB and Nimbus signed a record $57 million contract for live coverage rights for all matches in Bangladesh until 2012. That's a whopping 4 times as much as the previous five year contract the BCB had with ESPNStar.

Y is once again for the Youth. The stars of the the U-19 team who under Richard McInnes got into a habit of beating all and sundry are slowly easing themselves into the national team. They bring with them class, talent and a hunger not previously seen before. Bangladesh Cricket is just fine.

Z is once again for Zimbabwe. Never had 2-3 tasted so bitter and never had 5-0 tasted so sweet.

 

About the author(s): Dr. Zunaid Kazi is an almost fanatical Bangladesh cricket supporter with almost non-existent cricket playing skills. He compensates for this deficiency by spending an inordinate amount of time following all things cricket. Zunaid is also an administrator at BanglaCricket and goes by the nick "Zunaid" and is affectionately or otherwise referred to as Doctor Z.

 

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