On the occasion of yet another anniversary of the epic win against Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup, Dhaka Tribune reached out to six successors of the team which had created history
In 1997 Bangladesh had marked their arrival in world cricket winning the ICC Trophy final against Kenya and waited two more years before playing their maiden 50-over World Cup. The world event held in England was grand and a dream for Bangladesh. The side were in trauma dealing with issues between the board, which was then called Bangladesh Cricket Control Board, and head coach Gordon Greenidge. But they had ensured to leave a mark winning two matches – against Scotland and then the historic one against the finalist of the tournament – Pakistan. Twenty one years have passed since the Pakistan game but the match is as fresh as yesterday. On the occasion of yet another anniversary of the epic win, Dhaka Tribune reached out to six successors of the team which had created history.
That time I was very young, used to watch matches on TV but never followed it seriously ball by ball. I was studying in class so I was waiting to make time for myself to go to the field and play. It was more like watching TV was a waste of time. I vaguely remember Bangladesh winning the game but later saw the highlights many times. It was a massive win for Bangladesh, a very special one. It was our second win having won the previous one against Scotland. Pakistan had legendary cricketers in the team back then and winning against them while playing in the first World Cup, that too in conditions like England was not an easy task. It had triggered belief in us which helped the game grow in the country and enabled the team to perform and shift the gear to the next level.
It was a great victory for us, though the first victory in World Cup had come against Scotland. Bangladesh team at that time were not used to the conditions in England. Back then we did not have the luxury to tour Europe and learn about conditions. We had won two matches and Pakistan were favorite, given that they were a massive team. They played the final in the World Cup [against Australia]. The whole nation was celebrating wildly, we were really proud of the moment. We instigated the confidence that we can win against big teams in big platforms but one thing I clearly remember - the spell that Khaled Mahmud Sujon had in that game. He was aggressive throughout the game and it had of course boosted the team. It helped to come out from the box that we were a new team in the arena; we had an attacking body language and we had the courage to look into the opponent’s eye. This message was beautifully given by Mahmud. I was young that time and this had inspired me. Whenever I played, I always looked into the eyes of the opponent. Under the leadership of Bulbul bhai [Aminul Islam] it was a massive victory.
I was around 13 or 14 years old. I still remember watching the game with family members, I used to understand cricket a bit, was studying in class seven and had just started playing with cricket ball. The win is special as I feel that it had laid the foundation of Bangladesh cricket. I was watching a post [yesterday] on social media, the win marking its 21st year. That win is still fresh for us and stayed in the hearts of all the cricket supporters of the country. It is special to me and I believe it is same to other cricketers too. Pakistan were a strong team back then and a win against them had boosted us with confidence and marked a success in the first World Cup. We, the current cricketers, are trying to continue the legacy and get wins for the country. This win can still be an inspiration for us.
Enamul Haque Jr
I had just started going to the field for practice with school team during the 1999 World Cup. I clearly remember the game, it was late night and I did not have the permission to go out and celebrate the win. But I was standing in the balcony and chanting “Bangladesh, Bangladesh” while my neighbors were out on the street, in fact the whole city was out on the streets that night. Honestly we never had the belief that we could win that match but Bangladesh won and it was historic, a statement to the world cricket of our arrival in the mainstream.
I think the celebration we had following the win against Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup is comparable to none. We had almost a similar one before that, two years ago when we won the ICC Trophy in 1997 but the win in the World Cup was special. I still remember the following morning when colors were thrown towards my house with people coming from different parts of the city and celebrating. I was very young back then but had fully participated in the celebration. Our win against Pakistan had come as a statement, it had come against a top notch team in that tournament and they went to play the final. I believe that win had boosted the cricket in the country, promised us chances in world cricket and later I heard from many seniors that that was one of the major reasons for us getting Test status right in the following year.
I was in my junior school and cricket was yet to become a passion. Used to play cricket in the neighborhood. But I remember partnerships between Opi [Mehrab Hossain] bhai and Biddut bhai [Shahriar Hossain] and a good innings from Akram [Khan] bhai. From bowling I still remember Sujon bhai’s spell. The win against Pakistan will remain one of the best in the history of cricket of Bangladesh, it had not come easy. It was a turning point. I can still feel the crazy celebration I had with my friends on the street.