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Lesson from Cricket

March 25, 2015

Cricket is perhaps the only colonial legacy that unites the people often divided into many political, national and religious lines in South Asian countries.

People in this part of the world do not have many occasions to cheer together. A win of their own daring dozens provides them the rare occasion to chant in unison names of their teams or heroes. Cricket is clearly the magical glue that sticks the feuding parts of a society to statehood and gives international exposures to countries crippled by war or sink in political imbroglio and corruption.

Cricket fever once again sweeps over the subcontinent where the noble game enjoys a divine status as World Cup Cricket is being held in Australia.

Bangladesh, though not considered as one of the titans in the game, managed to go to the quarter-finals after doing well in its group matches: it beat Afghanistan and Scotland, snatched a stunning victory from England and shared points with mighty Australia in a rain-interrupted match.

After winning with England, the country started to believe Team Bangladesh might beat India ,as it happened in past World Cup encounter, and it might make it to semi-finals.

The blockade-ridden countrymen celebrated the victory on the following day; sensing the mood, even BNP lifted its ongoing blockade for a day. Many started to predict that 2015 could be the year of Team Bangladesh.

India brought the whole nation to the ground, but much to the grace of umpires. The quality of umpiring was below par in an international match on that particular day. The defeat churned up the whole country.

Two controversial decisions—a flawless delivery was called a no ball that prolonged Rohit’s innings and a six at the boundary line was declared a catch that sent back a key batsman—killed the possibility of a Bangladesh win. The decisions invoked anger among cricket fans.

Long before the game came to a closure, antagonized Bangladesh fans’ contents inundated the social media calling into question the roles of umpires and International Cricket Council (ICC).

Like a shrewd politician, ICC’s ceremonial president Mustafa Kamal, a Bangladeshi and planning minister of the ruling party, lambasted the organization he heads now, ridiculing its acronym as ‘Indian Cricket Council’. He desired to tender his resignation, sensing the prevailing bitter mood at home.

Speculations get around that semi-final matches without Bangladesh will have more commercial values.

When heart-broken Bangladeshi fans keep blaming umpires for their country’s forced departure from World Cup, Prof Ali Riaz, a US academic of Bangladeshi origin, post the following status on his Facebook account reminding us the importance of neutrality beyond the game of cricket:

People who believe Bangladesh lost the BAN-IND match because of the biased decisions of umpires cannot say in full confidence Bangladesh would have won the match if the umpiring had been unbiased. I don’t think they want to say that. They do not expect the decisions to have gone in their favor. The point they tried to make is that the match did not take place in ‘a level playing field’. I request them to think for a moment the consequences of not having neutral umpire. In the absence of impartial umpiring, one does not have a fair chance to win. Is it true only for the match of cricket? Are you ready to apply the same argument in other arena where a level playing field cannot be created for contending parties in the absence of neutral authority?

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