Bangladesh news March 22, 2015

Mortaza looks to future as fans welcome team home

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Bangladesh fans turned out to welcome the team home from the World Cup © AFP

The fans who turned up at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to welcome the Bangladesh team back home from Australia waited from the afternoon till well into the evening on Sunday but couldn't catch a glimpse of their heroes, who had to take different routes out of the airport due to security reasons. But standing in the late afternoon heat, handling the mosquito bites after sunset and staying away from the police batons could be soothed by what Mashrafe Mortaza said about them, and the rest of the cricket fans in the country.

Minutes after arriving in Dhaka, the Bangladesh captain paid tribute to the players, team management, the BCB and the fans for standing by the team during the World Cup. As he spoke at around 8.40pm local time, there were long lines of fans outside the airport premises on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway, around 5000 in total. They had been waiting for hours, with the unattainable hope of garlanding the players, taking autographs or posing for a photo.

Such access wasn't even available to the lucky few who could get inside the airport's VIP arrival lounge as many of the players skipped through the international terminal and had their cars waiting at the domestic terminal. Some who live northwards from the airport had to be escorted through private areas. Tamim Iqbal was the first to rush through, as the other players waited for their luggage and for the traffic to clear at least towards Uttara, the city's northern suburb.

Mashrafe, visibly tired after a flight out of the World Cup took them to Dubai first and then returned to Dhaka, said he wanted to look to the future, but was glad to see that cricket retained a special place in the lives of his countrymen, despite defeat in their quarter-final against India.

"It is great to see that everyone is here," Mashrafe said. "This is totally different. I have seen this before but still it makes you feel great. We always feel for the people of the country. Cricket has taken a special place in our country. We want to play well for the masses.

"It has been three days since the India game. I can only speak in terms of the cricket. We are disappointed with the loss. Everyone hoped it would be a good game, but it wasn't to be. And everyone saw what happened. I don't have to explain it. But life goes on. We have to look ahead. Bangladesh felt bad, but there's a series coming up. Support us, we will play well."

Mashrafe said that he wanted more consistency from the team, who put on a rare all-round performance at the World Cup. He said that the coach, Chandika Hathurusingha, gave the players the liberty to play their way, while also praising Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim, Rubel Hossain and the three newcomers.

"The coach gave us the freedom, which helped the overall confidence," he said. "Consistency is the most important thing. The graph is looking better now and, to become a better side, we must hold on to this performance.

"Mahmudullah was extraordinary. He went through a lot for the last couple of years. Mushfiqur Rahim has been doing well for 3-4 years. Rubel Hossain was brilliant, Taskin Ahmed bowled well. Soumya Sarkar came into the World Cup after just one international match and impressed everyone. Sabbir Rahman also did well."

When asked who he would pick as Bangladesh's Man of the tournament, Mashrafe said he would split it between two of his trusted lieutenants: "My men of the tournament would be Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mehdi on March 24, 2015, 19:58 GMT

    One think BD fan should do . applauds to our team is good but too much applauds is not good for this crop of young players. Still long way to go, yes we celebrate but should put out feat in the ground. long way to way.

  • Dummy4 on March 24, 2015, 8:32 GMT

    It is not about negativity from Indian fans or anyone else, the point remains that BAN does not deserve all the hype and accolades that is coming its way. That's the honest truth. Yes, their win against England was good but it was just an UPSET. England will still win against Ban, 9 out of 10 times. All other wins were against lower ranked teams, which they were supposed to win anyway. It is good to see that Ban has some very promising players but we've seen even more promising players fade away (Ashraful??). The day Ban wins two matches in a row against top tier nations in foreign conditions, is when they can truly claim to have 'arrived'....just two matches in a row...let's see how long that takes....

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2015, 23:13 GMT

    I am shocked to see so much negativity from the Indian fans. Did you guys forget that cricket is a gentleman's game ?

  • Farhan on March 23, 2015, 22:17 GMT

    'BD has beaten a weak Eng team' -- So funny, the same Eng team that defeated the current world champions a few weeks back. It seems that if Ireland, BD or ZIM defeats someone that makes that country weak. Its so difficult for some ppl to just accept that these teams are now strong enough to beat anybody on their day.

    'BD fans need to grow up instead of crying about umpiring decisions'--- Nobody is crying. We welcomed our cricket team with broad smiles on our face. Umpiring decisions DO affect games. The point is, I not only want fair result (the result probably was fair as India WAS the better team) but also a fair match.

    Jitega Jitega India Jitega-- on scoreboard before the end of the match was more alarming than all the bad umpiring decisions in this WC combined. That just confirms a very well known fact-- 'We live in a world where everyone is not equal, even in sports'. And as a nation we are always against inequality. The world should know that by now.

  • M.G. on March 23, 2015, 21:47 GMT

    A heart felt congratulations to team BD Tigers, especially to Mash, Mahmud, Mushy, and Rubel, plus Taskin, Shakib, Shabbir and Somuya, for a job well done. You need to move on from here to up annd up. Best of luck to upcoming Pak series, give your best to show all, Tigers mean business from here on.

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2015, 19:05 GMT

    Congrats Bangladesh for the performance you have demonstrated despite losing matches before big WC stage. I like that approach as winner being better than before. We might have lost the game against India with few controversial decisions, but take it as a lesson to get the team better than before. Winning title is not worthy if it doesn't come with honesty than cheat.Your pride will be in your fighting spirits despite bad decisions were rendered. Keep it up and give us few good games against Pakistan in coming series.

  • Balram on March 23, 2015, 17:34 GMT

    Difference between Bangladesh and other top teams Top teams play cricket while Bangladesh ALSO plays cricket

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2015, 17:21 GMT

    Frankly, anyone who saw the no-ball from umpire Ian Gould would tell that it was a howler. It doesn't need a Bangladeshi to be able to say that. Even Mahmudullah's catch by Dhawan was very, very iffy. It was unfortunate for Bangladesh. It is pointless to say that without those two decisions Bangladesh would have fun - they very well could have or they could have lost just the same. What ifs never made anyone happier and the BD fans will have to move on. There have been many matches with multiple umpiring howlers, and more often than not, one team gets more than their fair share. Don't be bogged down by this BD fans. Enjoy the cricket played by your team - this is not the end of anything.

  • Dummy on March 23, 2015, 16:30 GMT

    Yes we are looking forward to prospect. It is about test cricket where we badly need to improve. Those who are saying about BD's thinking about the match win, they need to know. If Rohit was dismissed at that time, Indiia's run wouldn't pass 300.So BD players could start the innings from a positive corner of psychological view. Then they could play pressure free & they wouldn't all out.It's logical. But I don't have any objection against umpire because they are human beings and they can make mistake.We have to keep it mind.Thanks and cordial love to BD team always

  • Cricinfouser on March 23, 2015, 11:38 GMT

    Yes I was staying here, salute to golden boy,,,,,

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