|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
Harare Sports Club seems to have a hangover at the start of every day. It wakes up slowly and groggily, wiping last night's make-up from its eyes, as it squints to adjust to the brightness. Every morning is a lazy Sunday morning so you can imagine the jolt of surprise when Friday's one was greeted with a roar so piercing it rung around the whole ground for hours.
Shoaib Ali, Bangladesh's most passionate supporter, had arrived, complete with his Tiger suit and giant flag. He spent all the time on his feet, shouting. "Shabash, Nasir bhai, Shabash," was his cry as Nasir Hossain took the total close to 400.
His level of energy was extraordinary, especially when considering he had spent most of Wednesday night in the airport. A problem with his papers meant that he could not get through immigration and it was up to the Bangladesh team manager to rescue him.
Ali has become part of the Bangladesh game and travels wherever the team goes. His job as a car mechanic can wait, as far he is concerned. That means he is often short of money but this time, Ali managed to secure sponsorship to travel, with Dhaka Bank picking up the bill for his flight.
Zimbabwean crowds may be interested to hear that he will be around for the rest of the series, which includes this Test, three ODIs and two Twenty20s, and he has promised to bring the noise, as he did for the first two hours on day two.
In the almost-empty tobacco stand, he obscured the view of the few sitting behind him and caught the attention of the rest, who were no doubt amused by his level of chanting. One person complained of not being able to see past him, something that could be easily solved given the number of seats available.
Shingi Masakadza, who was fielding closest to him, was at first alarmed and then just interested in what was going on. He got himself as close to the boundary as possible so he could get a proper look at Ali, and understand what he was saying. Once he understood, he walked off giggling.
The real showdown could occur later when the local supporters take up their positions on the wooden stand. They come with a range of songs that are usually the only sounds that waft over the field. From now on, their music will have to compete with a tiger's tune.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
|Comments have now been closed for this article