And the effigies begin ...
It’s the start of the silly season, when reactions across the subcontinent are likely to hit fever pitch - even when there are no matches involved. The World Cup is still 28 days away but the first effigy - of Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons - has already been burnt. The reason? The exclusion of fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza from the World Cup squad. Hundreds of protesters hit the streets in Mortaza’s hometown in Narail, about 300 kms from Dhaka. Vehicles were vandalised, a half-day general strike was called and Siddons was burnt in effigy.
Mortaza, currently recovering from a knee injury, was not picked on fitness grounds, but that did not deter his supporters as they chanted slogans against the selection committee. Mortaza had earlier broken down in tears while addressing reporters over his exclusion describing it as the “most painful day” of his life. Burning effigies is not new to cricket fans in the subcontinent – only recently, fans of former India captain Sourav Ganguly had burnt effigies of IPL team owner Shahrukh Khan, angered over his team Kolkata Knight Riders decision to not pick Ganguly at the auction.
Akhila Ranganna is assistant editor (Audio) at ESPNcricinfo