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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Tour diary from Harare

Update : 20 Apr 2013, 06:01 PM

The cricket in Zimbabwe has had drastic fall since Bangladesh’s first tour in 2001. In the last 12 years, it’s not the only structure or the fund that has been going through a rough patch in this country but also the economy. A headline in a local newspaper the other day caught the attention of many – the country failed to earn the expected foreign currency in its last fiscal year and the eagerness to meet the deficit is clearly visible to the foreigners who are mostly out here on official visits.

Except for the 25 members enlisted by Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), no one else had a clear idea of what one should carry to get into Zimbabwe to cover the on series between the home side and visiting Bangladesh. The eight journalists that took off from Dhaka and reached Harare only had the document provided by the Zimbabwe Media Commission which was literally the only document that they thought would be enough to get them through the Harare immigration. But the welcome after a 15 hours flight with a break of around 12 hours in Dubai was never a pleasant one.

A lady who seemed like an officer was humble to the troop which also included a BCB director and the one of the national selectors but after more than an hour, only two days of visa was granted in exchange of USD 100. The next day, another USD 300 at the Zimbabwe Media Commission got the clearance for the month long visa for the journalists.

If these two teams – Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, were geographically closer, their running battles over the years would have gathered more edge and may have prompted a nickname for their matches.

As nations, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are only tied together by their placing in international cricket, right down at the bottom of the Test-playing countries pile.

Since it is injected in our culture, BCB is always found on the front foot to make sure the touring side has the best stay possible, let it be India, Australia, Zimbabwe or even Ireland.

But the scenario is vice versa every time the Tigers are on tour to Zimbabwe. The hotel that the Bangladesh team is staying at cannot be said to be the best in Harare but the visitors still preferred the Holiday Inn only because it has a food court on the other side of the road. But who knew that the hotel will run water which smells like petrol?

During Bangladesh’s last tour, the visitors were literally left alone on the highway while returning to the hotel after the chassis of the bus cracked open. It was learnt that no back-up was sent and the players had to manage transport of their own to return to the hotel. This time, there was no air-conditioned bus for the visitors which is apparently a must back in Dhaka. In addition to that, many of the players sat side-ways to make themselves comfortable on the seats.

And when it comes down to the practice facilities, the hosts have always made sure that the visitors are not provided the best. Going down the memory lane, back in 2011, a three-day match was the only tour warm-up game which turned into a nightmare for the Tigers, firstly because of the horrible wicket at the Harare Country Club, the venue, where injuries were certain against the third string opponents.

The bitter experience made the Bangladesh management drop the tour game this time and rather prefer five days of practice at the Harare Sports Club. But then again, as it has always been, the hosts got to keep the two of the best wickets, practice in the morning shift and make sure the wickets had water on it before the Tigers arrived.

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