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Dhaka street cricket, where passion has no limits

  • Published at 08:44 pm December 16th, 2016
Dhaka street cricket, where passion has no limits
The 15-feet wide lane at the old town in the capital's Lalbagh was glowing brightly under the lights during midnight as the packed enthusiastic crowd gathered to witness a street cricket tournament organised to celebrate the Victory Day. At first glance, while watching this cricket match, one might fall into deep thoughts as to what exactly is happening out there. There is very limited opportunities for a batsman to score runs as there are certain rules made by the tournament organisers, mostly due to the shortage of space, along with the intention of not causing damage to the neighbourhood houses. Nur Fattah Lane Jubo Sangha, basically a group of young passionate cricket lovers who are engaged in various professions are among the organisers. Senior citizens of the locality also provide their encouragement to host the tournament on the occasion of the Victory Day. One such organiser is Imtiaz Ali, who runs a clothing shop in the neighbourhood. “Every year we organise this night cricket tournament where we play cricket and celebrate our Victory Day. Mostly there are players from all across the Lalbagh region. Even a few come from different parts of Dhaka to take part in our tournament. We follow Bangladesh cricket and love our team. At times, we also wish to play like them. So we have decided to play cricket under lights with names behind our jerseys to get the feel of playing for my team,” said a passionate Imtiaz. The eight-team tournament is inspired by the Bangladesh Premier League as all the teams are named like the franchises. For instance, Comilla Victorians and Dhaka Dynamites, to name a few. [caption id="attachment_40450" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Another such local tournament at Haranath Ghosh Road in the capital's Lalbagh  DHAKA TRIBUNE[/caption] The five over per side match with nine players in each team get involved in an intense rivalry with a huge number of people witnessing an interesting game of street cricket at the middle of the night, indicating their true passion for cricket, besides showing their love for the Victory Day. The final of the tournament takes place in the wee hours of the same night. It might not have floodlight and only a few 500-megawatt halogen lights but their enthusiasm knows no limits. It is only one of many street cricket tournaments which take place in almost every Dhaka street throughout the year. And interestingly, there are a few taped-tennis players who earn their bread and butter and run their family by playing these tournaments throughout the year across different districts of Bangladesh. Mamun Hossain, who is known as “Boyra (deaf) Mamun” in the neighbourhood as he has only one good ear, is one of these taped-tennis players. In our country, these particular freelance cricketers are popularly known as “khep players”. “I have played in almost all the big taped-tennis tournaments in Bangladesh. You can say I am a professional taped-tennis cricketer. I earn by playing matches as a khep player. Initially, I wanted to feature for the national team when I started playing cricket. I used to play with taped-tennis ball in my neighbourhood ground. But soon I realised my ability to play better with the taped-tennis ball, rather than a cricket ball. And that’s how everything started. I am still playing this game at the age of 30-plus. I recently got married. I don’t know how long I will be able to continue playing cricket. But I want to continue until I am no more able to stand still,” said Mamun. Bangladesh cricket has won over a huge amount of space in the hearts of the 170million people and be it playing on the streets with a taped-tennis ball or watching the national team playing against the big cricketing nations either on TV or in the stadium, the passion remains the same.
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