The untold stories of 2015

The Bangladesh cricket team has just completed an eventful year after going through a few ups and down. Although the team eventually became successful as it could reach the World Cup quarter-final for the first time and win four back-to-back one-day international series, everything came at a cost. There were some off-the-field events that went unreported. Azad Majumder compiled some of the untold stories that spurred the Tigers behind-the-curtain.

 

A picture taken on June 18, 2015 shows Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman (2nd-R) is congratulated by his team-mates after dismissing Indian batsman Rohit Sharma during their first one-day match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. — New Age photo

A picture taken on June 18, 2015 shows Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman (2nd-R) is congratulated by his team-mates after dismissing Indian batsman Rohit Sharma during their first one-day match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. — New Age photo

World Cup
A top-order batsman of Bangladesh was about to be sent back home for an alleged sexual assault on a girl at the elevator at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Australian authorities took the allegation seriously and summoned Bangladesh officials, who somehow managed to convince them that it was a misunderstanding. A big scandal could be avoided.

India series
If the BCB president Nazmul Hasan’s words had been final in team selection, Mustafizur Rahman would not have made his debut against India in the first ODI. Nazmul wanted Arafat Sunny instead of Mustafiz in the first ODI and sent a list of 11 players to the team management before the match. The team management ignored the list, paving the way for Mustafiz to make a dream debut with 5-50.

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In the third match against India, skipper Mashrafee bin Murtaza wanted to bat but the coach Chandika Hathurusinghe insisted on fielding. Hathurusinghe later regretted his decision after India had posted 317 runs and beat Bangladesh by a huge 77-run margin.

South Africa series
In the first ODI, Mashrafee wanted to bowl first, but Hathurusignhe insisted on their batting. The decision was changed at the last moment and Bangladesh batted. It was surprising for other players. Even openers were not ready.

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BCB president made a phone call to a team official after Tamim Iqbal had been dismissed for five runs in the second ODI against South Africa. He instructed the opener to be dropped for the third match. The coach Hathurusinghe disclosed it to Tamim on the bus while the team was returning to the hotel. Tamim cried until 4:00am on hearing the news. But he was determined to prove his point and scored an unbeaten 61 in the next game in his home town Chittagong. It was for the third time in his career Tamim remained unbeaten. Bangladesh recorded a nine-wicket win in the game, their biggest win batting second that helped them take their maiden series against South Africa.

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Captain Mashrafee wanted to resign after the BCB president called the team management before the second ODI. He was upset because the BCB president later told the press something that he thought was demoralising for the players. The BCB president said that the team had 10 players selected. In his list of 10 players, Anamul Haque replaced Liton Das. The team management had no choice but to ignore some of his suggestions. To their relief, Bangladesh won the game and Nazmul did not make any further query.

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The coach Hathurusinghe wanted Mahmudllah to be dropped for the second ODI. Hathurusinghe thought that Mahmudllah was still unfit but Mashrafee and vice-captain Sakib al Hasan insisted on his inclusion. Mahmudullah was fasting because he was told that he might not be playing. The decision to play Mahmudullah was made just before the toss. It was too late for Mahmudllah to break his fast. He played the game fasting and scored an unbeaten fifty to help Bangladesh to win the match and bounce back in the series.

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Hathurusinghe wanted Liton Das to play as wicketkeeper in all three formats. But the captain Mashrafee and the vice-captain Sakib did not agree. They argued that Musfiq was out of form with the bat. If he was not allowed to keep, especially in ODIs, he would feel down. The coach finally agreed and Mushfiq played as the keeper and Liton fielded.

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