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".
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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."
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.