As has so often happened in the past, this one also ended with another round of hand-wringing from the Bangladeshis about what could have been. The ‘faking’ charge against Virat Kohli also follows a similar pattern of bad blood: lose a match they could/should have won, then lash out at the system, opposition players, umpires, even the weather.
As Bangladesh cricket fans set social media on fire in the wake of yet another heartbreaking loss to India, it’s worth remembering that this atmosphere of unwanted disgust ironically began with a Bangladesh win back in the 2007 ODI tournament in the Caribbean.
Since then, it has even consumed age-group cricket: pacer Rubel Hossain and Virat Kohli, for example, only started trying each other out during their U-19 days.
Remember the protests that erupted in Bangladesh after their 109-run thrashing of India in Melbourne during the 2015 World Cup, when a marginal no-ball call went in Rohit Sharma’s favour?
Bangladesh fans even burnt effigies of umpires on one occasion. Remember Dhoni and Mustafizur were fined for clashing with each other? Or Mushfiqur Rahim tweeting about his “happiness” after India lost to West Indies in the 2016 World T20? Or Bangladeshi newspapers celebrating with a photo of Dhoni’s severed head?
Most India-Bangladesh matches are one-sided, with the exception of a few World Cup clashes, so what fuels the furore? Even as Indian and Pakistan fans went out of their way to show bonhomie in Australia during this World Cup, Bangladeshi fans here looked bareheaded and guarded.
Yes, India got out of jail in Adelaide, but only because the Bangladesh batsmen allowed it. There is no doubt that Bangladesh aspires to be a rising cricket power, at least in the subcontinent.
However, there are times when petulance, and an inability to handle pressure, has held back their progress. As the usual round of acrimony and acrimony ensued from ex-players and supporters, it was their captain Shakib Al Hasan who surprisingly brought in a much-needed element of calm.
Asked if his team played panicked shots after Litton Das’ run out, or if it was an emotional reaction stemming from lack of experience, Shakib said: “It’s a combination of both. I think in the dressing room we were (initially) relaxed. When you have to score 84-85 runs in nine overs, with 10 wickets in hand, you will take it. And of course Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) was almost done. You take that challenge and you will look to chase it down.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t do that. It will be a combination of both, sometimes lack of experience and also panic because we don’t play too many close games. So sometimes when we’re in that situation, we don’t know how to do it.”
After a long time, a Bangladesh captain said it is as it is. But then came the Kohli ‘fake toss’ charge and all talk of equanimity, of winning and losing equally at their pace, again took a back seat in the Bangladeshi cricketer’s mind.