Cricket means so much to us because it’s one sport where we can stand as equal with the rest of the world. In this case of course, it means the once colonized world but that’s good enough given our colonized mentality. We are far happier being in chains in every metaphorical sense. It’s a glorious opportunity to stand close to our ex-masters making most of us bloat with pride.
What cricket means to us
So we huddle around cricket and want to be part of it and in doing so feel we are part of something bigger than all of us. Obviously pride shines through, passed down glory shines and so does that odd bit of us called ‘hujjuti’ which is fantastic for creating an atmosphere. We don’t just consume the game, we participate in it. Anyone who has been a fan will understand that.
But of course there are those who think a bit differently may even dislike the tamasha and look down upon all the hype and excitement. They are ready to get passionate about many other sports or issues or see cricket passion as a slightly shudra activity. However they are a minority but the point is, a significant minority. They do exist and we do meet them. They can put a dampener as the rest who try to enjoy the game. Having enjoyed being involved with the tamasha without understanding what is going on – the majority of us- I have tried to cluster such people who have many other issues in mind other than enjoyment into groups. This is done to help others to identify them as quickly as possible and if wanted avoid them. Here is selection of the more common:
The avoidable categories for health reasons
So here are some of the cricket fans who can be identified in Bangladesh.
1. Bangladesh is the best team in the world but can’t make it because of ICC and Indian conspiracy
These people are not so much interested in the game as much as they are in the conspiracy. They have all the information about who did what to prevent BD from reaching the finals in every cup. It’s never the team form or the strategy that matters or interests them but the ICC conspiracy.
They are usually unhappy if no conspiracy occurs in case BD wins so they prefer close defeats most. References are also made to the Battle of Polashi in this regard regularly. According to them, Jagat Seth and company were all Gujarati Indians who conspired with the English East India Company to set up British rule that was later reincarnated as the ICC.
2. I will support anyone but not Pakistan because that is against the spirit of 1971.
These fans are not even interested in Bangladesh and how it does but how bad Pakistan does. They regularly call upon others to howl against Pakistan and remind them about the martyrs of 1971 and see everything in that light. Their joy is in Pakistan’s loss and once Pakistan stops playing, their interest is gone in the tournament as well. They will support India only when the play Pakistan whom they also often oppose for signing the Indus river water sharing treaty but not the Teesta water sharing one.
3. West Indies is the best team and must be supported for its suffering from the Western/ US slave colony policies.
Thanks to the net they know the names of the WI pantheon so every discussion begins and ends with Sobers or Viv Richards. They don’t always care about BD but think that WI represents the entire colonized world. They like calypso cricket and think that anyone who doesn’t play like the way WI plays is an “agent of imperialism”
4. I understand everything about cricket so don’t talk without asking me
They have a great deal of knowledge which they try to leverage to gain respect from others who know so little. They remember names of stars and their stats about seam bowling and spin and why a player was out but not given and not out but given out. A very confident lot, they occasionally support England and Australia or other places where they have migrated to. Though it’s a bit tough for the US residents as they don’t play much cricket there, they either prefer baseball or abuse Trump as a sports activity. This afflicts NRBs a great deal as they feel that living near “White” people they should know better as they are the people who invented the game or their cousins did. The point is to prove they are superior not the teams they claim to support.
5. Islamic countries must be supported which means Pakistan
These people often have a weak idea about where Pakistan is but have no idea what the game is all about. For them it’s a crusade vs jihad issue and anytime they hear Pakistan is winning they utter loud faith pronunciations and if they don’ win, they know its Israel who is behind it all. They like desert cricket claiming it’s the purest form of sports.
So who are you?
The average Bangladeshi fan has very few of the above hang-ups. For them there is only entertainment and hope that Bangladesh will win. They know it’s a much improved side but is limited by many factors so they hope but in their heart they are more heartbreakingly realist. They try to follow TV experts but usually can’t figure out what they say. However they are undeterred and with all their ignorance, carrying a bit of all the hang-ups mentioned, they keep cricket going. Cheers.