March 13, 2011

The day Bangladesh made Greenidge cry for joy

Bangladesh and Netherlands may have played each other only once in an international match, but they were involved in two World Cup qualification games that defined the future of Bangladesh cricket
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"Gordon Greenidge cried the most. Everybody was crying, he couldn't hold himself back."

Bangladesh and Netherlands might have played each other only once in international cricket - in Glasgow at that - but they share a bittersweet history; a history of tears of anguish and tears of joy for Bangladesh. Back in 1994, and then in 1997, the two countries were involved in two matches, which though not recognised as internationals, were key to the future of cricket in Bangladesh. Those were in the days of the ICC Trophy, where the Associates take part in tense contests - a tension followers of Test-playing nations can never truly appreciate, and that includes me - just to make it to the World Cup. Just to let the world know they exist.

Akram Khan, arguably the greatest entertainer to play for Bangladesh, was involved in both those seminal matches against Netherlands. He is a national selector now, and often comes to watch the Bangladesh nets. On his way to the ground on Sunday, on the eve of a crucial match against Netherlands, all he could think of was those two emotion-filled games - emotion that perhaps surpasses what we have seen in Bangladesh this World Cup.

In Nairobi in 1994, Bangladesh had restricted Netherlands to 205. Understandably, the coach, Mohinder Amarnath, then told them not to take any risks while chasing and just to knock the runs down. Bangladesh took the advice too seriously, as Akram remembers, and it turned out to be "choddo over, baro run [fourteen overs, 12 runs]." It sounds funny now, but it was a huge setback. Bangladesh ended up losing by 47 runs.

Zimbabwe had been granted Test status, thus opening up another slot among the Associates for the first large World Cup, to be played in 1996. Three teams were to qualify from the ICC Trophy, and Bangladesh were the favourites. Thanks to that defeat, though, Netherlands usurped Bangladesh.

Akram and Bangladesh were inconsolable then. "Bahut takleef hua tha [It hurt us a lot]," he says, "that we didn't qualify for the 1996 World Cup. We had got all sorts of help from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. They all helped us with the infrastructure and facilities. They used to send A teams. We thought we had let them down, our country down, everybody down."

Three years later Bangladesh went into another ICC Trophy, this time in Kuala Lumpur, as the favourites. They had a strong side, so strong they played the same XI throughout the tournament. The matches were covered live on radio, and the whole nation was hooked. They went unbeaten through the tournament, but rain was cruel to them. When they had bowled Ireland out for 129 in a league game, they had to settle for shared points because of rain. That left them in a must-win situation in their last league game against Netherlands at the Rubber Research Institute in Kuala Lumpur.

Bangladesh bowled Netherlands out for 171, and they were just one solid chase short of going through to the semi-finals. However, after having gone unbeaten for seven games, they found themselves at 15 for 4. The dream was crashing. This would be too big a heartbreak. The rain arrived again, this time as the saviour. Or so it seemed at that point.

Akram and Minhajul Abedin then put together a partnership. Abedin, a wristy batsman, also came from Chittagong, like Akram. The two street-smart cricketers not only got runs, they indulged in some time wasting too: asking for a helmet during an over, fiddling with other equipment, doing whatever they could to delay things. Arguments ensued. Akram now smiles and says, "I did some bad things. Not good."

"We thought if we got away with one point from that game, we would qualify for the semi-final," Akram says. "But when we came back, the match referee told us we had to win the game. We were stunned."

This is where emotion makes the story hazy. All the journalists, the team themselves, and the fans present there, agree with this version: that when Bangladesh came off they thought a draw would be enough, but learned to their horror that nothing less than a win would do.

That does not sound entirely accurate because Bangladesh went into that game with three points and Netherlands with one. Ireland had already qualified with five points. So a no-result would have taken Bangladesh to four and Netherlands would have been stuck at two. A defeat for Bangladesh, though, would have tied Netherlands at three points, in which case Netherlands would have advanced based on the head-to-head.

There are two plausible explanations for the delaying tactics Bangladesh employed and the celebrations that greeted the rain. Bangladesh may have realised that with the partnership between Akram and Abedin, they were ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis par score, and by slowing the game down they were just ensuring that lead. However, just before they came off, Abedin was run out, which could have pushed them just behind on the reckoning, which would have meant they would lose if no further play was possible.

Also D/L was a new beast back then, and perhaps Bangladesh didn't realise they had already played the minimum number of overs required to constitute a game and were now going to lose.

Then again, perhaps the version accepted in Bangladesh is correct, and this conjecture is merely conjecture. It's all trivial, though. What is important is that the whole of Bangladesh, glued to the radio, was praying for rain, and once it stopped play, they celebrated.

Then came the news that this wasn't good enough for them to qualify. The news was relayed on radio. Everybody who prayed for rain was now praying for the resumption of the game. "We worried about our futures," Akram says. "All negative thoughts came to our mind. The failure in 1994. And now we thought we might never be able to play international cricket.

"Woh jumme ka din tha [It was a Friday]. A lot of Bengalis come to work in Malaysia. They all turned up at the ground. Everybody started praying. Luckily the rain stopped and the play resumed and we had a revised target."

Akram then produced an innings on which Bangladesh cricket stands today, as anybody in the country will tell you. Those who were present there say it was a chanceless innings, with no sense of panic or hurry. "I believed if I stayed there till the end, we would win this," Akram says. "Nannu [Abedin] was a vital player. He had performed well in domestic cricket, and I got a partnership with him and then one with Saiful Islam. In the end I stayed not out."

That kicked off wild celebrations. Athar Ali Khan, who opened the batting in that game, says it was the same as what we have seen on the streets of Dhaka and Chittagong this year after the national team's wins over England and Ireland. "My body was draped in the Bangladesh national flag, and we didn't leave the ground for a long, long time."

Akram says everybody cried that day. The journalists, and their friends, say they cried too. "Gordon [Greenidge, their coach] cried the most. Everybody was crying, he couldn't hold himself back."

Gordon Greenidge crying. Just imagine a win that makes Greenidge cry; a man who had come from a different country, a different culture. The owner of one of the fiercest square-cuts ever seen, the man with the double-century on one leg, the man whose image first comes to mind when the words "beware the wounded batsman" are said; Greenidge cried after that win. That's how much it meant to the team.

I ask Akram if he agrees with what everyone tells me. Was this the single most important innings in the history of Bangladesh cricket? He pauses. Says yes. Then laughs. Says yes again. It cannot be denied. For because of that innings, Bangladesh played the semi-final, then the final, then the World Cup, where they beat Pakistan and got Test status. If they had lost on that jumme ka din, there would have been no World Cup, and who knows how long they would have had to wait to qualify for a World Cup.

We all talk about the pressure of expectation on the current team, but at least they know they will be playing international cricket even if they lose. They knew they would be playing international cricket even when they went 47 games without a win. The class of 1997, though, even after having gone unbeaten in that tournament until then, didn't know if they would ever get to play if they lost that day. It wasn't quite a Messerschmitt up the arse, but surely Keith Miller wouldn't have scoffed if Akram told him he was under pressure that day.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jan on March 16, 2011, 5:09 GMT

    Excellent article Mr. Monga. And great dedication from Banladesh then. Hats of !!

  • Mashfe on March 15, 2011, 9:46 GMT

    Born in late 70's in a poor country like Bangladesh I had not much to cheer about. Not until the day Bangladesh become the ICC Champion at 1997. As I clearly remember the day I was a second year college student then and me and two of my college friends were listening to the cometary on the radio (Hiding the radio from our teacher) during our class hour on that particular day. After the win the whole country went crazy. I was bombarded with colorful water balloons on my way home from college and we party all day long. The sweets shops everywhere where distributing free sweets to the people. It was simply the happiest day of my life. All the happy memories from that day will live with me forever. Even now, whenever I feel frustrated and down and I need to cheer myself up by thinking some happiest moment of my life, I think of that particular day. Thanks for the memories ......

  • QTS_ on March 15, 2011, 7:29 GMT

    Given the plethora of vivid memories and emotions that the piece evoked, Mr. Monga might consider writing about the denouement against Kenya at the same tournament. A week transformed the cricketing conscience of the country radically - football, hitherto the slightly more popular sport in the country, suddenly vanished out of public attention for a year (until the 1998 France World Cup). The cricketers were received by the prime minister in a public ovation and showered with gifts from all quarters. Most importantly, youth enthusiasm was ignited, including in Tamim Iqbal (see previous interview). Reminiscence of the match against Kenya is bound to arouse much greater nostalgia in this website.

  • Syed_M on March 15, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    Good one Mr Monga, it refreshes the memory, keep it up

  • on March 15, 2011, 3:05 GMT

    Proud of them..you made our nation proud...

  • on March 15, 2011, 3:02 GMT

    Hats off to Akram khan and Saiful Islam for that game. Saiful supported Akram khan superbly. I still remember listening to radio about the ground condition and how our players and officials worked out together soaking the ground only to continue the game. How die heart r they for the game! I wonder if the Sakib arsenal would do the same thing now a days. I still remember then the minister Saber hossain who given his best support for the BD cricket team. After the match all of us from Dampara and Stadium area went to celebrate the joy in front of Nannu bhai and Akram bhai's house. I really really missed those days. That innings was and will be the most important innings played by any bangladeshi players. Hats off to all players off ICC 97 Bd team, for You Now where we are.

  • on March 14, 2011, 22:30 GMT

    Awesome article indeed! Good luck bangldesh from indian fans!

  • armanaziz on March 14, 2011, 22:18 GMT

    Excellent story. But I think one important point missed. In the 1997 match when the rain stopped the ground was wet and it wasn't certain whether the game would resume. At that time the entire Bangladesh team including the player and the officials joined the groundsmen in soaking the water from he outfield so that the match can start soonest. It was such an emotional day!

  • on March 14, 2011, 19:32 GMT

    I wasn't fortunate enough to watch or experience the match because, back then, I had no clue that BD could play cricket. Thanks to SID MONGA's stunning article, I've gotten a fair bit of idea about how the nation as well its team struggled to be where they are in terms of cricket. This explains the reasons behind the craziness of the fans during the wins as well the rage and heartbreak due to defeats, and the emotions the whole country endures for it's team. I wish BD tigers to progress further and bring in a Cup over the next decade! A very touchy story indeed!

  • Devs on March 14, 2011, 19:13 GMT

    yeah, that was a great day for Bangladesh and Bangladesh Cricket. I can memorise, i was a school boy then..ran out from the home to the street to celebrate the win..we are all crying in joy, no elders and younger that day, everyone was celebrating and cheering BANGLADESH...BANGLADESH. definitely that was the most important day of Bangladesh Cricket. Thanks to Mr. Monga for delivering such nice stories of Bangladesh Cricket on the eve of WC. Thank you.

  • Jan on March 16, 2011, 5:09 GMT

    Excellent article Mr. Monga. And great dedication from Banladesh then. Hats of !!

  • Mashfe on March 15, 2011, 9:46 GMT

    Born in late 70's in a poor country like Bangladesh I had not much to cheer about. Not until the day Bangladesh become the ICC Champion at 1997. As I clearly remember the day I was a second year college student then and me and two of my college friends were listening to the cometary on the radio (Hiding the radio from our teacher) during our class hour on that particular day. After the win the whole country went crazy. I was bombarded with colorful water balloons on my way home from college and we party all day long. The sweets shops everywhere where distributing free sweets to the people. It was simply the happiest day of my life. All the happy memories from that day will live with me forever. Even now, whenever I feel frustrated and down and I need to cheer myself up by thinking some happiest moment of my life, I think of that particular day. Thanks for the memories ......

  • QTS_ on March 15, 2011, 7:29 GMT

    Given the plethora of vivid memories and emotions that the piece evoked, Mr. Monga might consider writing about the denouement against Kenya at the same tournament. A week transformed the cricketing conscience of the country radically - football, hitherto the slightly more popular sport in the country, suddenly vanished out of public attention for a year (until the 1998 France World Cup). The cricketers were received by the prime minister in a public ovation and showered with gifts from all quarters. Most importantly, youth enthusiasm was ignited, including in Tamim Iqbal (see previous interview). Reminiscence of the match against Kenya is bound to arouse much greater nostalgia in this website.

  • Syed_M on March 15, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    Good one Mr Monga, it refreshes the memory, keep it up

  • on March 15, 2011, 3:05 GMT

    Proud of them..you made our nation proud...

  • on March 15, 2011, 3:02 GMT

    Hats off to Akram khan and Saiful Islam for that game. Saiful supported Akram khan superbly. I still remember listening to radio about the ground condition and how our players and officials worked out together soaking the ground only to continue the game. How die heart r they for the game! I wonder if the Sakib arsenal would do the same thing now a days. I still remember then the minister Saber hossain who given his best support for the BD cricket team. After the match all of us from Dampara and Stadium area went to celebrate the joy in front of Nannu bhai and Akram bhai's house. I really really missed those days. That innings was and will be the most important innings played by any bangladeshi players. Hats off to all players off ICC 97 Bd team, for You Now where we are.

  • on March 14, 2011, 22:30 GMT

    Awesome article indeed! Good luck bangldesh from indian fans!

  • armanaziz on March 14, 2011, 22:18 GMT

    Excellent story. But I think one important point missed. In the 1997 match when the rain stopped the ground was wet and it wasn't certain whether the game would resume. At that time the entire Bangladesh team including the player and the officials joined the groundsmen in soaking the water from he outfield so that the match can start soonest. It was such an emotional day!

  • on March 14, 2011, 19:32 GMT

    I wasn't fortunate enough to watch or experience the match because, back then, I had no clue that BD could play cricket. Thanks to SID MONGA's stunning article, I've gotten a fair bit of idea about how the nation as well its team struggled to be where they are in terms of cricket. This explains the reasons behind the craziness of the fans during the wins as well the rage and heartbreak due to defeats, and the emotions the whole country endures for it's team. I wish BD tigers to progress further and bring in a Cup over the next decade! A very touchy story indeed!

  • Devs on March 14, 2011, 19:13 GMT

    yeah, that was a great day for Bangladesh and Bangladesh Cricket. I can memorise, i was a school boy then..ran out from the home to the street to celebrate the win..we are all crying in joy, no elders and younger that day, everyone was celebrating and cheering BANGLADESH...BANGLADESH. definitely that was the most important day of Bangladesh Cricket. Thanks to Mr. Monga for delivering such nice stories of Bangladesh Cricket on the eve of WC. Thank you.

  • meeyan on March 14, 2011, 18:52 GMT

    heart-touching article...

  • on March 14, 2011, 18:12 GMT

    I do still remember the day!It was a gloomy Friday back at Rajshahi.I was a teenager then.Before I left home to pray mosque at mid day found out that we lost our several top batsmen and knew Akram was still there.Most probably rain interrupted the match and I was so nervous as we could not qualify few years back for the 1996 World Cup.I was praying for our team and eagerly waiting for good news. Once I tried to request our Imam to pray for our team but I could not.Finishing prayer from mosque,I found out that we had made it!Thanks a lot.

  • Awad on March 14, 2011, 17:44 GMT

    The bangla fans comments show how much that day meant to them. You have touched many hearts Monga, good on you.

  • izazkhan on March 14, 2011, 17:43 GMT

    Great Job Team Pakistan !!!!! In the next match Ahmed Shehzad should sit on bench, open with Kamran and Asad Shafiq one down...And Tony great job by telling Siddu that you talk too much :)))))))))))))))))))))

  • zzakir39 on March 14, 2011, 17:23 GMT

    Awesome article. We all cried that day, we cried more in semi final when it was ensured that we are going to play the next WC, it was unbelievable!! All people got out of their homes and celebrated as we won the WC!! :)

  • on March 14, 2011, 17:13 GMT

    I remember, I along with hundreds of people was listening (not watching) this match in a ground (in Comilla) where a radio was connected with loud speakers (the giant screen of that time(!)) we were too tensed to take breath. ............ it was unforgettable!

  • arabushaheen on March 14, 2011, 15:47 GMT

    Thank's Sidharth for your article. I can still remember both matched in 1994 and 1997. Sorrow and joy of Bangladesh cricket history are remembered today.

  • Miteal on March 14, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    I have a lump in my throat as I write this, because this is quite possibly one of the most touching articles I have read. Well done, Siddharth, for telling us this high-spirited story. Ten minutes back, apart from India, I didn't care who qualifies for the knockouts. However, after reading this, I find myself rooting for Bangladesh too. All the more reasons for me to wait for England's clash with West Indies.

  • on March 14, 2011, 14:58 GMT

    I can remember those days... That time we can hear matches in Radio.... those were the starting of golden days.....

  • on March 14, 2011, 14:54 GMT

    i remember running out of my home and jumping into a sand stack.....i cought sand on my eyes but there was no time for that, we all were shouting and crying at the same time. yes indeed its the most vital win of our cricket history so far....

  • on March 14, 2011, 14:49 GMT

    Thanks monga! I was student of XI. We listen to match during lectures witha hidden radion and earphone. I used to relay the scores. I can remember the disappointment in 94 and excitement in 96. Akram khan is my favourite batsman. Thnx for reminding us Mr. Monga with this great article.

  • fahmim on March 14, 2011, 14:44 GMT

    AMazing piece, Mr. Monga! I was 9 years old in '97, and I still remember listening to the games over the radio with the whole family. The day we won the ICC Trophy for being the biggest, craziest celebrations ever, and was practically the time when myself, and millions other in the country, planted the first seed of love for the game, that has grown into arguably the most powerful in the world. Thanks for bringing back old childhood memories.

    Just one question. Did Akram Khan actually speak in Hindi, as you quoted in italics in later parts of your writing? The first italics quotation is in Bangla, so I'm a little confused.

    Thanks once again for the great stories from Chittagong. The match reports, the features *specially the one on Binod Bihari* I've been a long-time fan of yours. It just keeps getting better every day :D

  • CricLook on March 14, 2011, 14:21 GMT

    Thanks Sidarth for this nice article..!...I remember Andrew Miller wrote another story while England was touring Bangladesh.. but this was even more touchy..!..So long people here in Bangladesh will play cricket , they will acknowledge the priceless inings of Akram...I dont know if there any story where a players contribution defined the history of a game in a country..I was preparing for my SSC exam..and still imagine that day ..the feelings are still green...will be live forever...Akram Khan and Bangladesh Cricket is the two side of a coin..

  • on March 14, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    I still remember that innings from Akram...Hats off big man!! and thanks a million...

  • on March 14, 2011, 13:39 GMT

    Thank you very much Sidharth Monga for such an wonderful article

  • Tito on March 14, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    I along with many others dis not cry that day. We colored all people we could find on the road with colored water. And the interesting part was that all enjoyed and cheered. It was a great day for many of us to remember. Best of luck tigers. @ krishnan: agree to you. If only the consistency was there, Bangladesh could have been a strong contender for this WC. But reality is that these are only boys of around 20 years of age.

  • on March 14, 2011, 13:17 GMT

    Very nice article. Made me nostalgic. I can still remember the "rong sora suri" o Dhaka street. Thanks to Sidharth Monga.

  • on March 14, 2011, 13:15 GMT

    i thanks all the cricketers who have taken Bangladesh at this level , Akram Khan , Nannu , Bulbul , Kalhed Mahmood , Rafiq , Saiful , Durjoy and offcousre Shanto and many others . as i used to play club cricket after ICC Trophy cricket have changed Bangladesh . I still remember everyone come down to the street spraying colors and distributing sweet . We are a passionate country who loves cricket this is the only pride which bring us together . We would win the World Cup someday. This is the history of Cricket in Bangladesh and all young cricketer who are playing now should thanks THE CLASS OF 97. For them sakib and his team playing the word cup and test cricket.

  • insightfulcricketer on March 14, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    Nicely written article by Sidharth indeed. One of the fascinating piece of sports article I ever read was the description of 1982 World Cup match between Italy and Brazil when Rossi scored a hat-trick(3-2) and this article I think captured similarly the passion of Bangladeshi cricket beautifully. What is sports for us the fans if not the sport's little histories and stories .Keep it up .

  • on March 14, 2011, 12:37 GMT

    I also remember that day...Sakib should read this.... perhaps now he'll know what the cricketers from the past did...

  • 36yearsofexperience on March 14, 2011, 12:09 GMT

    Very well written article. With the stupid group phase of this WC lingering forever this piece really reminds us about real pressure games and emotions associated with it.

  • on March 14, 2011, 12:07 GMT

    lol... @ Sidhu :P

    The match still excites me...not only the one against Kenya in the Finals, but also the Semi...I remember those days of radio and celebrating with the radio

  • Greatminhaj on March 14, 2011, 11:54 GMT

    This is a great Article ! glorious tearing History !!! thnx

  • on March 14, 2011, 11:40 GMT

    Very well written. Brings back lots of memories from childhood.

  • on March 14, 2011, 11:33 GMT

    i didn't know the full details of the match as i was only 3 years old back then...but i hear about the fear the dutch gave to us...if akram wasn't there things would have been different...we might have still been Associates... @ Seneka...akram's family originates from Bihar, so urdu runs in their family....

  • ZackH on March 14, 2011, 11:32 GMT

    I still remember that day when I was listening to the radio and praying. Each run Akram scored gave me a great relief as well as tensions for the next ball. Yes, it got me emotional that day and we leaped to joy like we do today when we made it to the semis. I'll never forget those moments. That day makes me realize why Bangladesh is the 10th nation with test status and pushes me to support my team even if they play matches like they did against WI this WC. Our support made Akram play that innings and when Bangladesh plays, its not only them, we play too.

  • on March 14, 2011, 11:17 GMT

    oh my god ! I can still remember that day i didnt go to school that day to hear the radio comentry ! It was jaforulla sharafat on the comentry and akram was the national hero that day !

  • on March 14, 2011, 10:54 GMT

    um, why would akram khan be talking in Hindi/Urdu about the match?

  • on March 14, 2011, 10:53 GMT

    yea its the story of our Bangladesh cricket,in 1997 i was 17 years old,we started playing cricket after that incident-everyone of Bangladesh,we got the status of a full icc member,many say we are immature for that,but the true thing is we have the same eat-pray-go thing for cricket as like India,we are sharing the same unproductibilty as Pakistan and the same storng mental ability like Srilanka....so if they are worlds' best teams,we will be one of them.....we are,we believe these words like eveybody believed may be 50 years,100 years or 200 years ago for their cricket! and there was a time when Bangladesh played vs India and mr.shidhu got century and we lost the match by 9 wickets...yea we always wish on that time,if we can lose the match little,litle closer...if....becoz we were growing at that time...

    but now we can even win a match against England,ireland if we want...we can stand still in a world cup's death group,we can even be the world cup host,thanks to Akram khan n team

  • on March 14, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    I think Bangladesh is now capable to win any match against any one and today they already prooved beating Neth who gave a tough time to England, they also won against England who almost beat India, they beat Ireland who beat England. This maturity occured with the great efforts of formers cricketeres, expectators, officials, sponsors as well as the current tigers meeting our expectation. Gordon was a true devoted coach for Bangladesh who was respected and awarded Bangladesh nationality. Akram Khan has a great value for all of us for his unbeaten 70. Hatts off to you you super star and hatts off to Gordon

  • on March 14, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    Beautiful article, Mr Monga - thanks for sharing a milestone of Bangla Cricket that most of us were unaware of. It shows that great cricketers like Greenidge always live by the willow.

  • ManFromBANGLADESH on March 14, 2011, 10:46 GMT

    Such a good article. Thanx Sidharth. Oh I can't express the feelings of that day. Thanx again.

  • Teenprincess15 on March 14, 2011, 10:40 GMT

    Oh my god, i feel like crying now...its unbelievable...i was only 2 i guess...and my we had some 40 people in our house...all praying...it was serious...all the adults asked me t pray...it was the best memory of my childghood...thank you so much for this lovely lovely article...xxx

  • Rake1 on March 14, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    Good article. Look forward to more of the same.

  • AminRubel on March 14, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    It just reminds me the way we enjoyed that day Bangladesh won that match in World Cup qualification games final. So many of us were dancing, jumping on the streets. Some were throwing flowers, I remember carrying a bucket of colors. That was the day Bangladesh will remember forever to cheer themselves. Even now a days we enjoy if Bangladesh wins but nothing is comparable with the one we did in 1997. Thanks Sid for such a great article and for making me cry again.

  • MamunJoy on March 14, 2011, 9:26 GMT

    How Can I forget this? Its was a friday...and I prayed for them....I was crying and still I am crying to read this....it was awesome.....

  • Rashedxr on March 14, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    thanks a lot SID for for such a wonderful article......

  • on March 14, 2011, 9:02 GMT

    one of the best Article i have come across on Cricinfo.........

  • LinearCurvature on March 14, 2011, 8:40 GMT

    An amazingly well written piece. I'm not a Bangladeshi, and I haven't seen the match, yet this piece gave me goosebumps.

  • alexczarn on March 14, 2011, 8:33 GMT

    This is a fantastic article! A lot that Bangladesh went thru to get test status. Give them credit.

  • on March 14, 2011, 8:18 GMT

    Yes, I cried that day, listening to the Radio Commentary, hiding my head below the pillow, I cried. I cried like a child who met his Father after a long time.... the amount of emotion and tears could never be counted... I cried like hundreds and thousands of Bangladeshis.... After that the whole nation got mad in joy, I still can recall..... yes Akram, the whole Nation is grateful to you and your team..... Now come to the aftermath: The victory over Kanya that made us ICC champion... 1 Ball 1 Run... you guys almost made the whole nation to face heart attack... I remember some one in Dhaka died on heart attack that day.... I am writing and feeling tears in my eyes, yes the emotion still alive my Dear. We love you, may Allah gives you a long and healthy life...

  • on March 14, 2011, 7:32 GMT

    I did not know the story! Alas! How crude i was for Bangladesh before! I am sorry..........

  • on March 14, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    What a memorable Friday that was! I still can feel the drum-beats in my heart. What a jovial win that was! Not only Greenidge, but also the entire nation sitting back in the country had been crying, weeping. Hats off to Akram, Bulbul, Nannu... You are the man...

  • Sarfin on March 14, 2011, 7:17 GMT

    That's why I was stunned when our cappy Shakib questioned the achievements of the old guys. May be this is the best proof how the record book becomes worthless sometimes! This innings is the best by a long margin whatever books say. I was a nine years old then but I still remember people showered me in color when I was returning from school. And in this chance I am seeking pardon from Gordon. We couldn't show you the respect you deserved but you are still the ONE in our little cricketing history.

  • smalishah84 on March 14, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    Wow......one of the best articles I have ever read on cricinfo.

  • courierpost on March 14, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    Give the Bungali boys some IPL contracts they will do even better

  • Azizul_Bangladesh on March 14, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    Yes, I can remember that innings. After that win, we i was also crying. I can strongly remember that i was a student of class x that time and i was hearing the comentry from Bangladesh Radio. After the win...i jump into a bus, standing in the door and showed the V sign to all the passerby from that bus...every body were also showing V to me as well as others.

    Mr. Monga, thanks, thanks again to knock our emotion. Great Article !

  • on March 14, 2011, 6:00 GMT

    As an Indian cricket fan, all I can say about Bangladesh cricket is that the passion is there,the talent is there (Tamim,Shakib who is my favourite among BD cricketers). All that is required is consistency of performance for that alone will catapult their team into the big league. All the best for BD cricket.

  • Y2SJ on March 14, 2011, 5:27 GMT

    Just the sentence "Gordon was crying" shows the importance of this win. Nice article.

  • on March 14, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    I remember listening to the Live Commentary on Radio. It was an emotional roller coaster ride and experience of a lifetime.

    I was in a Student Dorm at BUET listening to the live commentary. When rain started, we prayed for it to continue. Then the horror news came that a draw/tie will not be enough. Instantly the prayers reversed. It was unbelievable emotion running through our minds. I have never felt anything like that in my life. And I am sure all those who listened to that commentary will never forget those moments.

    I agree with Sidharth - the Innings from Akram Khan is and always will be THE Most Important innings in Bangladesh Cricket. Everything now we have is built upon that.

    Thank you - Akram, Nannu, Bulbul, Atahar. You made us proud. A special Thanks to Greenige as well for your support.

  • QTS_ on March 14, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    It is also worth noting that Akram Khan still remains the biggest fan favourite in Bangladesh. Shakib and Tamim do not match his charisma yet, neither do Mashrafe and Ashraful of old. Rafique came the closest. It was easy to surmise from his receptions at the ground that he was unanimously loved. While the innings described is the single most important in Akram Khan's career, other highlights include the highest score against Pakistan in WC 99, a bludgeoning half-century against India in 2000 (consisting of twenty of Ganguly's over) and his call-up to SA in the midst of the 2003 WC nightmare. Unfortunately, he had to retire in a melancholic press conference on the back of collapsed form after the SA series in 2003. Glad that he is remembered for his unquantifiable contributions to progress of cricket in Bangladesh, despite relatively modest statistical accumulation.

  • Seneka on March 14, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    A marvellous piece indeed! It certainly brings back lots of very fond memories of those Summer days in 1997 when many Bangladeshi supporters so keenly listened to the radio commentaries of ICC trophy matches.

    One thing surprises me a bit; is Akram Khan an Urdu-speaking person? Or he just used some Urdu statements only for the convenience of the interviewer? Normally I have never seen any Bangladeshi sportsman talking and giving interviews in Urdu, so became a bit surprised to see Akram Khan's Urdu comments in this piece.

  • taufque_atique on March 14, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    I still remember that day..I was in class 6..when I was going to say my prayer in the mosque bangladesh was 15/4..there was a special prayer in the mosque after namaj for the win of Bangladesh..

  • on March 14, 2011, 1:10 GMT

    Yes, I still remember that memorable innings played by Akram Khan and Saiful Islam Khan because of whom we have been able to produce a national team like this today. Their contributions towards Bangladesh cricket cannot be compared with anything. Arif Khadem, Sydney

  • on March 14, 2011, 0:56 GMT

    yes, that innings was the single most important innings in the history of Bangladesh cricket, our cricket stand on that, i still can remember that day freshly. THE Bulbul-Akram are our legend, no one can be grater then them ever.

  • on March 14, 2011, 0:50 GMT

    That match is undoubtedly the greatest innings that ever played by a Bangladeshi batsman. I was listening the commentary then from the radio, but I could feel that how well he played and inspired the whole nation.

  • on March 14, 2011, 0:16 GMT

    In 1994, I was listening thant match on radio with all other friends and different age people. Akram Khan, you are legend of Bangladesh cricket. Because of your innings aganist Holland, our cricket is here today. I did cry on that day, screaming and jumping all over with joy. Recalling the momory of 1994, tears on my eyes. May allah bless you and give you a long life Akram bhai

  • on March 14, 2011, 0:15 GMT

    I still remember that day...I went to the mosque to pray,but my mind were in the match...I couldn't took radio to the mosque so I prayed for the team and as soon as the prayer was over,I stormed back to home to listen (!) one of the best knock ever played by a bangladeshi batsman..I didn't cry that day...I laughed a lot...thanks to akram khan and the commentators Jafarullah sharafat and shamim ashraf chowdhury for giving such a wonderful memory to cherish

  • on March 13, 2011, 23:46 GMT

    One of the best articles on Cricinfo. I am a follower of Pakistan cricket ,still loved it :)

  • on March 13, 2011, 23:36 GMT

    Every Bangladeshi listened the match over the radio anxiously that day. At one stage Bangladesh were 14 for 4. Then Akram played his magical knock of 68. It was a great great innings by Akram Khan at Kuala Lampur against Netherlands. Thanks Sidharth for reminding us of that innings. Hats off to Akram Khan.

  • Ruch on March 13, 2011, 23:27 GMT

    Sounds like a great article..

    But Akram Khan's profile and his career stats tells a different story

    Profile If you thought Inzamam was out of shape, wait till you see this bloke. As vice-captain during the 1999 World Cup, Akram Khan played Obelix to Aminul Islam's Asterix, twirling a menhir-sized bat for 42 in the controversial win over Pakistan. His technique is hardly worthy of the name - in fact, Akram possesses the widest gate in international cricket - but he's no mug when it comes to straight-lofting the spinners. Very much a specialist slip.

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/56221.html

  • on March 13, 2011, 23:16 GMT

    Thanks Cricinfo for featuring one of the most memorable days in my life!!! In those days, we didnt have any cable TV channel..so had to rely on the radio commentary of the great CHOWDHURY JAFAR ULLAH SHARAFAT!

  • on March 13, 2011, 22:33 GMT

    Nice work mr.monga ..real nice article.. N cricketrs n fans were lot more humble n genuine from now..

  • on March 13, 2011, 22:06 GMT

    Nice article Sidharth. ( Thumbs Up ! )

  • on March 13, 2011, 21:47 GMT

    That innings was something special, 14 millions people prayer was answered, `Jumme ka din tha' God listened to their prayer on that holy day of the week.

  • on March 13, 2011, 21:30 GMT

    Its a nice story about Bangladesh Cricket History. Again, I like to thank Mr. Sidharth Monga from bottom of my heart for his excellent pice of work here. Thank You again Mr. Monga.

  • saikat0977 on March 13, 2011, 21:18 GMT

    A great true story of Bangladesh cricket. Thanks a lot Sid for reviving this for the poeple who might have forgot , and also for the poeple who doesn't know about this very important piece of history of Bangladesh's cricket. Shakib-Tamim is our HERO and they stand only in the very strong ground made By Akram-Bulbul making them our LEGEND. Thanks again to Sid for the details about this history! I remember every single moment of that rain affected Netherland game as if I was there in the stadium but now that I think, I was in just a 4th grader and listened to the game over the radio, and remember the whole thing totally fresh. This is how strong most of Bangladeshi's feeling and emotion about our cricket.

  • gmaurup on March 13, 2011, 21:01 GMT

    Yes, 'this is the single most important innings in the history of Bangladesh cricket', and will ever be even if Bangladesh wins the World Cup some day on the bat of someone else. I think, we read some other version, that the dutch were reluctant to start when everyone was back on ground... some one feigned a slip on the outfield... and bangladesh team players and journalists gave hand in removing water from the ground as the ground stuff were indifferent to moving water and get things going :) . I have a very sharp memory... would love to see if anyone else supports my memory . I purchased 12 newspapers the next day (that was the trend back then as wins were so sparsely placed :) ) , alas none are kept right now

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  • gmaurup on March 13, 2011, 21:01 GMT

    Yes, 'this is the single most important innings in the history of Bangladesh cricket', and will ever be even if Bangladesh wins the World Cup some day on the bat of someone else. I think, we read some other version, that the dutch were reluctant to start when everyone was back on ground... some one feigned a slip on the outfield... and bangladesh team players and journalists gave hand in removing water from the ground as the ground stuff were indifferent to moving water and get things going :) . I have a very sharp memory... would love to see if anyone else supports my memory . I purchased 12 newspapers the next day (that was the trend back then as wins were so sparsely placed :) ) , alas none are kept right now

  • saikat0977 on March 13, 2011, 21:18 GMT

    A great true story of Bangladesh cricket. Thanks a lot Sid for reviving this for the poeple who might have forgot , and also for the poeple who doesn't know about this very important piece of history of Bangladesh's cricket. Shakib-Tamim is our HERO and they stand only in the very strong ground made By Akram-Bulbul making them our LEGEND. Thanks again to Sid for the details about this history! I remember every single moment of that rain affected Netherland game as if I was there in the stadium but now that I think, I was in just a 4th grader and listened to the game over the radio, and remember the whole thing totally fresh. This is how strong most of Bangladeshi's feeling and emotion about our cricket.

  • on March 13, 2011, 21:30 GMT

    Its a nice story about Bangladesh Cricket History. Again, I like to thank Mr. Sidharth Monga from bottom of my heart for his excellent pice of work here. Thank You again Mr. Monga.

  • on March 13, 2011, 21:47 GMT

    That innings was something special, 14 millions people prayer was answered, `Jumme ka din tha' God listened to their prayer on that holy day of the week.

  • on March 13, 2011, 22:06 GMT

    Nice article Sidharth. ( Thumbs Up ! )

  • on March 13, 2011, 22:33 GMT

    Nice work mr.monga ..real nice article.. N cricketrs n fans were lot more humble n genuine from now..

  • on March 13, 2011, 23:16 GMT

    Thanks Cricinfo for featuring one of the most memorable days in my life!!! In those days, we didnt have any cable TV channel..so had to rely on the radio commentary of the great CHOWDHURY JAFAR ULLAH SHARAFAT!

  • Ruch on March 13, 2011, 23:27 GMT

    Sounds like a great article..

    But Akram Khan's profile and his career stats tells a different story

    Profile If you thought Inzamam was out of shape, wait till you see this bloke. As vice-captain during the 1999 World Cup, Akram Khan played Obelix to Aminul Islam's Asterix, twirling a menhir-sized bat for 42 in the controversial win over Pakistan. His technique is hardly worthy of the name - in fact, Akram possesses the widest gate in international cricket - but he's no mug when it comes to straight-lofting the spinners. Very much a specialist slip.

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/56221.html

  • on March 13, 2011, 23:36 GMT

    Every Bangladeshi listened the match over the radio anxiously that day. At one stage Bangladesh were 14 for 4. Then Akram played his magical knock of 68. It was a great great innings by Akram Khan at Kuala Lampur against Netherlands. Thanks Sidharth for reminding us of that innings. Hats off to Akram Khan.

  • on March 13, 2011, 23:46 GMT

    One of the best articles on Cricinfo. I am a follower of Pakistan cricket ,still loved it :)