Blue Tiger

by admin on July 7, 2010

Blue Tiger

Blue Tiger

The Original Tigers

Throughout the cricketing world, the Bangladesh national cricket team is known as the ‘Bangladesh Tigers', or simply as the ‘Tigers'. While, their performances on the field do not always resemble the bravery and the strength of a Royal Bengal Tiger, they are certainly becoming one of the most popular sides in the international cricket arena.

 

Interestingly, the name ‘The Bangladesh Tigers' was first used a quarter of century  earlier, not to mean the national team, but rather the 2nd string national team comprising of a bunch of youngsters. In Jan, 1984, Bangladesh successfully hosted the 1st ever South East Asian Cricket Tournament. Up for grab, was a place in the 2nd Asia Cup, in SL, in 1986. Bangladesh, as hosts, was allowed two teams in the tournament. Apart from the national team, a 2nd Bangladeshi team, called ‘The Bangladesh Tigers' entered the tournament.

 

The organizers faced an early setback, when Malaysia, one of the stronger cricket playing nations in the Far East, withdrew at the last moment. This left, HK and Singapore, along with the two local outfits to fight for the glory. The Bangladesh national team was by far the strongest team in the tournament, and they easily won all their games. The tigers did not do badly either, winning 3 of their 6 games. And they narrowly missed out (to HK) a place in the finals, on the run rate count.  Sadrul Anam of Bangladesh Biman was given the captaincy. He was a member of the Bangladesh side that took part in the 2nd ICC trophy in England, in 1982. The all-rounder Rafiqul Alam was the most experienced player of the team. But the team mostly consisted of young talents; players like Nannu, Shanto, Prince, Atahar, who would form the nucleus of the national team over the next decade or so. In this tournament, the middle order did well, with Rafiq, Nannu, and WK Sunny contributing regularly. But there was great concern for the opening pair. The selectors had to chop and change the pairings again and again, as no one seemed comfortable in that slot. In desperation, they even tried Nannu as an opener in a match. The bowling attack of the ‘Tigers' had an unusual look about it, as there was no right arm medium pacer in the side. All the three main seamers, Prince, Morshed and Mohon, were left armers. Prince and Morshed bowled economically with the new ball, while the leggie Wahidul Gani took the wickets.

 

Sadrul Anam: The stylish right hander from Mymensingh was given the difficult job of leading the side. He did an admirable job, keeping the moral of the side high throughout. His own batting form, however, was not so impressive. He managed just 100 runs from 6 innings; his highest 35 came against HK at Mymensingh.

Rafiqul Alam: Just a year before the tournament, Rafiq was considered the best batsman of the country. Unfortunately, a sudden loss of form early in the 83-84 season saw him relegated to the "B" team.  With a point to proof to the selectors, he took all the games very seriously. And he was rewarded with 2 MOM awards. In the tigers opening fixture, against HK, at Chittagong, he inspired his team to a 64 run with a brilliant all-round performance. With the bat, he scored 40, and shared a 70 run 3rd wicket stand with the local favorite Minhajul Abedin Nannu. He also excelled with the ball, bowling 9 tight overs to finish with 2 for 20. In the next match, against Singapore, he finished with the remarkable figures of 4/4. But he reserved his best for the 2nd Leg match against Singapore at Dhaka. Batting first the Tigers were struggling at 16/4, before Rafiq  (129) and WK Hafizur Sunny ( 75) completely changed the course of the match with a mammoth stand of 208.

The selectors were quick to appreciate Rafiq's q return to form, and he was recalled to the main national team for their tour of Kenya in February. In March, 1986, Rafiq acted as the deputy to Lipu. He remained a prominent figure in domestic cricket arena well in to the 90's. In recent times, he is serving as the chief national selector.

Azhar Hossain Shanto: The elegant opener was expected to be one of the stars for his team, but he disappointed everybody to finish with just 41 runs from 5 innings. It became apparent that at this stage of his career, he was not quite ready for the big stage. He, however, gradually made himself a regular with the national team. And in April, 1990, he became the first Bangladeshi to score an ODI fifty (54 against NZ at Sharjah). And 9 years after that, his nephew Mehrab Hossain became the first Bangladeshi, to score an ODI hundred.

A more than useful off-break bowler, he took 4 wickets in ODI cricket for 253 runs.

 

Minhajul Abedin Nannu: The hero of Chittagong gave his home fans plenty to cheer in the opening fixture against HK. He top scored with 44, and shared a 70 run 3rd wicket stand with Rafiq. Then, however, followed a lean period for Nannu, and it was not only in the Tigers final match, against the main Bangladesh team, that Nannu found his form again. There, he scored a classy 60, but with the wickets falling regularly at the other end, he just failed to take the tigers to the finals.

After the tournament, Nannu was selected to tour Kenya with the Bangladesh team. He had an outstanding season in domestic cricket in 1984-85, scoring regularly for Abahani KC. After some initial setbacks, he soon became a vital part of the national team. He had a long international career, and ended it on a high; scoring 2 fifties in the 1999 WC. During the period, 1990-93, he was the national team captain.

 Ali Asif Khan: The slow pitches didn't suit the batting style of Asif. A strong square of the wicket player, he would have preferred more pace and bounce in the pitches. His highest score of 25 came in the 1st game against HK. Later in the season, he played against the Hyderabad Blues side at Dhaka.

 

Atahar Ali Khan: The Karachi born all-rounder was given little opportunity in the tournament. Perhaps, he was not quite ready for international cricket at the time. In the two matches that he played, he scored 11 runs and took 2 wickets for 28 runs.

His time would come 4 years later, in HK, in the 2nd version of the tournament. With scores of 92*, 69* and 64 he finished the tournament with a remarkable average of 225.00. He remained a regular member of the side until 1998. In Dec, 1990, he became the 1st Bangladeshi player to become a MOM in a full ODI (against SL). In the latter part of his career, (after 1993), he played as an opening batsman.

 

Hafizur Rahman Sunny: The selectors used different WK for the tigers in the Tournament. Among them, Sunny was by far the most impressive. Especially, his batting down the order, impressed everybody. In the match against Singapore, at Chittagong, he contributed a quick-fire 38* at a critical stage. He did even better, in the next match against the same opposition, scoring 75 and sharing a 208 run 5 th wicket stand with Rafiq after an early debacle.

 

He was selected for the Kenya tour, and soon became the No. 1 Wk of the country. During the 3 day match, against Omar Quaraishi XI (led by Imran Khna), in Jan 1986, he impressed everybody (including the opposition captain) with his keeping. He enhanced his reputation further by claiming 6 catches in a limited over game against the Lahore Cricket Association in March, 1986. He played in the 1st two ODIs for Bangladesh, but with the arrival of another extremely talented keeper, Nasu, he soon lost his place in the side.

 

Abul Khair Mohon: The all-rounder had an outstanding game against Singapore at Chittagong, First, he scored 28, sharing a vital 61 run partnership with the WK Sunny, then with the ball he took 2/14 . He was the obvious choice for the MOM award. He also took 2/9 against HK in the 1st match. The presence of two other left arm seamers, Prince and Dulu, made it impossible for Mohon to get a run in the national team.

 

Golam Nawsher Prince: The tall left aremr from Mymensingh was the fastest bowler of the country in the 80's. For the Tigers, he bowled with good pace and control, and formed an effective new ball pair with another left armer Morshed for the tigers. Against Singapore at Dhaka, Prince had the remarkable figures of 7 overs/4 maidens/5 runs and 1 wicket.

Despite many injury problems Prince remained the No.1 pace bowler of the team until 1994. He and his new ball partner Dulu did a splendid job in the 1990 ICC trophy in Netherland sharing 22 wickets in between them.

Golam Morshed: In comparison to Prince, Morshed, the man from Chittagong, was much slower in pace. But his nagging accuracy made him a vital member of the side. He did not take many wickets in the tournament, but the batsmen found it extremely difficult to score against him. At Chittagong, he bowled 5 overs for just 7 runs against HK, against Singapore at Dhaka, he bowled 6 overs for just 7. Even the national team players played him with caution, as he bowled 7 overs for just 9 runs.

Like Mohon, he too failed to build an international career, but he remained a regular feature in the cricketing arena of Dhaka for a long time.

 

Wahidul Ghani: The leg spinner had an outstanding tournament, finishing with 12 wickets for 117 runs, at an average of less than 10. His 5/35 against the Bangladesh national cricket team went in vain, but his 3/16 against HK helped the ‘Tigers' win a vital game.

After this success, he was an obvious choice for the Kenya tour. There, however, he failed miserably. In fact, throughout his career inconsistency would remain a big problem. But he always had the potential to be a match winner on his day.

Other Cricketers: Three openers, Anwar Hossain, Hamin Ahmed and Mujtaba Nurul Hadi all failed to take their chances. Hadi was especially unlucky; in his only game of the tournament, against the Bangladesh national team, he injured himself badly, trying to hook a fast bouncer from Dipu Chowdhury. The all-rounder Aniswiddin Pika was given just one opportunity; and he failed to impress against HK at Mymensingh.

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There are many good pro golfers in America but it seems Tiger Woods who is exceptionally get preferential treatment in coverage. You never hear anyone say tiger made a bad shot but there is always an excuse made for him. I understand his golf etiquette is very bad at times.

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