IND vs BAN, IND, BAN, IND vs BAN Asia Cup Final, Asia Cup Final
Bangladesh have some of the most passionate cricket fans out there © Getty Images

Dear Bangladesh cricket fans,

Congratulations! Your team is finally performing well and beating sides they have traditionally struggled against. The talent was always there; Shakib Al Hasan has been among the world’s best all-rounders for years; Mushfiqur Rahim has always been a dangerous batsman; Tamim Iqbal was good enough to get back to back centuries at Lord’s and Old Trafford; Mashrafe Mortaza was your first fast bowler of repute; and of course you have always had a reservoir of left-arm spinners. And yet, somehow you were never able to shake that pesky “minnows” tag. Live Cricket Scorecard: India vs Bangladesh, Asia Cup T20 2016 Final at Mirpur

That was then. Today, Bangladesh are a force to be reckoned with. In the space of a year, your country has gone from cricketing underdogs to serious contenders. The change was non-existent in 2014, but ever since ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 your country has been on a roll. This change has been largely due to the new crop of players that emerged over the last couple of years. READ: India vs Bangladesh, Asia Cup T20 2016 Final at Mirpur: Preview

Names like Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, and Soumya Sarkar emerged as potential match-winners. Even Mahmudullah, who was at most a decent lower-order batsman, blossomed into a game-changer. For once the Bangladesh cricket team had virtually no passengers; everyone in the line-up was capable of winning matches. READ: Asia Cup T20 2016 Final: Bangladesh will have to bowl out of their skin to beat India

To you, the ardent fans of Bangladesh, this would have been an unexpected and wonderful new feeling. When Pakistan were defeated it must have been a delirious feeling. When India were beaten it you must have been elated. When South Africa too were vanquished you must have felt invulnerable. And no one can take that away from you. The Bangladesh cricket team was winning the admiration of the cricketing world. READ: Asia Cup T20 2016: Sabbir Rahman, Bangladesh’s new hope with the bat

But then you, the ardent fans of Bangladesh, celebrated in all the wrong ways. READ: Asia Cup T20, ICC World T20 2016: Team India’s variety of bowling options keep them ahead in the race

There was the ad with the exaggerated Bengali gentleman, then there was Mustafizur Rahman — who had undoubtedly earned his praise — shaving the head of Indian players, and now there is the image of Taskin Ahmed holding MS Dhoni’s severed head.

When the going got good, you got cocky. And that is never a good way to celebrate. As much as the Bangladesh cricket team have earned respect from their opponents and their naysayers, you as fans have lost respect. There was a time when the loyalty and dedication shown by Bangladesh cricket fans was a credit to the country. Where Indian or Pakistani fans would berate their team in times of adversary, you stood by Bangladesh through thick and thin. For that you, the Bangladesh cricket fans, should be proud. READ: India vs Bangladesh, Asia Cup T20 2016 final: Visitors’ bowling will face massive challenge against the hosts

Sadly, in victory you have forgotten grace. This is especially distressing because the national team is winning with absolute integrity and hard work. They have raised their game to phenomenal levels over the last two years, and deserve every bit of appreciation coming their way. But in belittling their opponents, you have done your national team a disservice. READ: Sabbir Rahman shows immense class in Bangladesh’s Asia Cup T20 2016 campaign

Bangladesh have not won easy battles. They have not surprised a team that underestimated them. When India sent a squad for the ODI series in Bangladesh in 2014 it was a second-string side that still managed to win 2-0. In 2015 when India returned it was with a full-strength side that lost 1-2. Three successive ODI series wins against top-ranked teams is no fluke. The Bangladesh cricket team earned those wins fair and square, and with it the esteem of all and sundry.

Do not undo all their hard work. Learn to win with grace, and you will only help your own team gain more support. Nobody likes a sore loser, but even fewer like a bad winner. Regardless of the outcome of Asia Cup T20 2016 or even ICC World T20 2016, the Bangladesh cricket team can hold their heads high. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of their fans.

Yours faithfully,

A cricket fan.

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is an animal lover and comic, film and TV geek. A fast bowler at heart, he enjoys watching a good, low-scoring game of cricket. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)