Bangladesh was swept in cricket euphoria Photo Courtesy: Raihan Mahmood's Facebook page
Photo Courtesy: Raihan Mahmood’s Facebook page

Bangladesh erupted with cries of joy as its national cricket team qualified for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 following a 15-run triumph over England in their Pool A match at Adelaide Oval. Amit Banerjee interviews Raihan Mahmood, Sports Editor of leading Bangladesh daily Dhaka Tribune, on his views surrounding the memorable victory as well as the road ahead.

It is not often that you see a team celebrating its victory with as much zeal and passion as the members of the Bangladesh cricket team and its fans display. The sight of pacer Rubel Hossain running wild with excitement along with his team-mates after bowling James Anderson with a perfect yorker. Or the enormous roar upon the fall of the final wicket by the Bangladeshi fans, who were the single majority at the Adelaide Oval on that evening. Or for that matter, the Bangladeshi journalists going berserk after the victory in the press box, as told by former Australia cricketer Tom Moody. Few teams show as much passion on and off the field as the Bangla tigers do.

Raihan Mahmood, Sports Editor of the Dhaka Tribune, spoke of a festive mood in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka after the historic win. Following are the excerpts from the interview:

CricketCountry (CC): How were the celebrations in Bangladesh after the victory?

Raihan Mahmood (RM): The celebrations were wild, especially in the Dhaka University and all the other private universities. The old part of Dhaka displayed a great extent of euphoria, and the capital was swept by cricket madness.

CC: How has the Bangladesh journey been so far in this tournament in specific, and the last couple of months in general?

RM: Bangladesh entered the World Cup with an aim to defeat Afghanistan and Scotland and pull off at least one upset. After conquering the English lions, Bangladesh have qualified for the second round for the second time in its cricketing history. So, its journey in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 is more than just successful.

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CC: What impact will this have on the youngsters, especially the aspiring cricketers in Bangladesh?

RM: Cricket already has strong roots in the sporting arena of the country, as well as in the society. With the success, Bangladesh is definitely looking forward to more international exposure, which will result in the budding cricketers getting more inspired to get involved with the game. Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) already has a strong youth development program, notably the National School Cricket, which is involved with nearly two thousand schools across the country.

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CC: What, according to you, are the biggest reasons why Bangladesh struggled in cricket in the recent years against top-quality sides?

RM: Lack of international exposure and low wicket are among the reasons why Bangladesh has not fared well internationally. However, in recent past, Bangladesh have performed well on home soil.

CC: Do you think it is time for the world to shed the use of the term ‘minnow’ for Bangladesh?

RM: ‘Minnow’ is a term that is used for the newcomers as well as inexperienced sides. Bangladesh, by now, have beaten all the Test playing nations in the One-Day Internationals (ODI), due to which I think the term ‘minnow’ is not appropriate now. However, it would be worth mentioning that Bangladesh gained full membership in year 2000, while Australia and England have been playing Test cricket for over a hundred years.

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CC: Your takeaways from the match against England?

RM: The right frame of mind, when it comes to describing Bangladesh, as they won the match without contributions from their star players Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan. The way they kept the pressure on England never lost the confidence made all the difference. England’s pressure was evident in the run outs of Moeen Ali and Chris Jordan.

CC:  What is your opinion of ICC CEO Dave Richardson’s move to reduce the number of teams in the 2019 World Cup?

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RM: At the end of the road, business is what matters the most. ICC has to think whether the reduction in the number of teams will benefit them in any way whatsoever or not. It also reduces the expansion of cricket as the associates will fall in the zone of no inspiration.

CC: Any favourite Bangladesh players from the past or present?

RM: Mashrafe Mortaza.

CC: Your favourite team to win the World Cup?

RM: Australia.

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)