Bangladeshi farmers beat Aussies to promote cricket before world cup

Sweet sounds of the willow spread across the ground/Photo: Firoz Ahmed

World Cup Cricket 2011 is on the doorstep of Bangladesh, a country composed of 160 million people. This agrarian country is the co-host for the world cup. Before the final start, in a remote village of the country, farmers take part in a symbolic cricket match, playing in teams of symbolic Bangladesh and Australia.

Bangladesh can never be identified by its cities. The streets of the cities packed with cars…traffic is just insane. And, noises all around would suffocate a life. The urban life is full of complexities and anomalies where people are rushing towards nothing at all. People living here always try to find a recourse to their lives. Even in this disarray, Bangladesh is the proud co-host for the World Cup Cricket, 2011.

Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh dressed up in festive colours as the world cup approaches. People are very eager to see Sakib Al Hasan bat through the innings and bring victory for Bangladesh. On the other part, very few people could actually buy a token for the ticket. Many miles yet to go. In all these despairing issues, history was written in Mymensingh district’s remote village, Charpuliamari.

Traditional tools

We drove to Mymensingh district and then to Shmabhuganj to finally reach the cricket ground in Charpuliamari. Around the field, there were mock advertisements, a podium for cheer-monkeys instead of girls, a replica for the world cup, placards for hits of boundaries and sixes. Also, a vuvuzela kind of horn for the gallery. Big screens were set around the field for the audience. The stadium was fully built on bamboos.  The talent of making this stadium was so indigenous and so traditional. A scoreboard on a tree and wickets made of bamboo-sticks were so eye-catchy. So very innovatively rural.

Agricultural development and media personality Shykh Seraj organized the event to boost up rural people as 110 million people live in the rural parts. At the media-box, we found journalists from home and abroad. They were taken to the spot by a special journalist bus from Channel i. Mr. Seraj, the director and presenter of agro-based TV show, Hridoye Mati O Manush (Soil & Men in Heart), briefed the journalists before the game actually started. “The event is to boost the rural farmers and promote the upcoming world cup cricket in Bangladesh”, said Mr. Seraj.

Staging of the original world cup

“We never thought this is actually taking place in Charpuliamari. We were just mere audience all these years. And now, we are playing with bat and ball”, Nurul Amin, the captain of Bangladesh farmers’ team, expressed his joy.

Farmers, mostly over sixties, came to the field in Bangladeshi and Australian aprons. So came the symbolic FCC (Farmers’ Cricket Council) President and the Shambhuganj Sports Minister. It was all staged like the original ICC world cup cricket. People enjoyed every bit of this making and so did we as a part of it.  Some farmers even appeared in bare feet.

It was 10-over-match. Bangladeshi farmers did a wonderful job getting 122 runs after 10 overs and losing only a wicket, their captain, Nurul Islam. Nurul Amin scored an unbeaten 80 with sixes and fours all around and the vuvuzela just went crazy. Meanwhile, we’ve noticed journalists are taking interviews, taking good shots for their story. They didn’t have any idea that the arrangement is just so huge. We couldn’t even accommodate people in the gallery and they started watching the game on the big screen. Nobody missed a single ball.

People of Charpuliamari were flying high as they saw the old-farmers hammering the ball all over the ground, for the very first time/ Photo: Firoz Ahmed

During the innings break, the drinks was sponsored by Talukdar’s Coconut Water and Matha (Local drink). It was all traditional fun and amusement that spread across the bamboo-stadium. Local organizer Kamrul Haque said, “Farmers never knew what’s a cricket bat or a ball. They never knew what’s a boundary or LBW. But, they’ve come up with great spirit and proved that they can bat and bowl and they are competitive.” Some farmers even said Australia is not far from their village and some wrongly uttered, ‘ticket’, instead of cricket.

Farmer of the match gets a goat

Australian farmers (symbolic) couldn’t give any strong reply and lost the game by 47 runs and losing all the overs in hand. However, the game stood as a great spirit for the Bangladeshi cricket. Right before 40 days from now, the world cup fever has gone seriously up. And, the good thing is it’s really gone up from the heart of Bangladesh…from the farmers, the real artists of this pastoral Bangladesh.

The winners were presented with some money and medals. The runner-up also got the same prices. But, the real charm still didn’t end when we saw the Farmer of the Match, Nurul Amin lifting a goat for his great knock of 80. Fireworks at the beginning and the end really made the crowd go simply mad.

They never knew what’s a cricket bat or a ball. They never knew what’s a boundary or LBW. But, they’ve come up with great spirit, Kamrul Haque, Local Organizer, Charpuliamari.

A mighty unbeaten knock of 80 runs from Nurul Amin brought Bangladesh the inevitable victory and him the price of a goat/ Photo: Firoz Ahmed

Peasants of Bangladesh were honoured and so was the inhabitants of Charpuliamari. Hridoye Mati O Manush has regularly been organizing Krishoker Eid Anondo (Farmers’ Eid Delight- traditional rural games) and Krishoker Boishakhi Anondo (Farmers’ Boishakhi Delight). But, this event came out to be just too good.

On 11th of February, 2011, Farmers’ World Cup Cricket 2011 will be aired on Channel i after 2:30 PM news.

Bangladeshi farmers beat Aussies to promote cricket before world cup