Matters India |Thursday, October 19, 2017
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Bangladesh captain speaks about cricket and cricketers 

Dhaka — Captain of Bangladesh Cricket Team Mashrafe Mortaza, busts the myth about the game of cricket and the cricketers on the eve of the Indo-Pak finals.

“I am a cricketer but can I save a life? A doctor can. But no-one claps for the best doctor in the country. Create myths around them. They will save more lives. They are the stars. The laborers are the stars, they build the country. What have we built using cricket? Can we make even a brick using cricket? Does paddy grow on the cricket field? Those who make courtyards using bricks, make things at factories, grow crops in the fields – they are the stars.”

“What do we do? If I say it very bluntly – we take money, we perform. Like a singer or an actor, we do performing art. Nothing more. The Muktijoddhad [1971 Liberation warriors] didn’t face bullets to get money on winning. Who is being compared to whom? If there are any heroes in cricket, they are Rakibul Hasans or martyrs like [Abdul Halim] Jewel… Rakibul Bhai had dared to enter the cricket field with ‘Joy Bangla’ inscribed on his bat [before the 1971 Liberation]. That’s big. Even bigger was his going to the front with his father’s gun. Shohid (martyr) Jewel left cricket and joined the crack platoon [a 1971 Liberation war guerrilla formation]. That’s bravery. Dealing with fast-bowling has romanticism and duty, not bravery.”

On cricket-based patriotism, Mortaza says, “I say, those who cry ‘patriotism, patriotism’ around cricket, if all of them for one day did not drop banana skin on the streets or did not spit on the streets or obeyed traffic rules, the country would have changed. This huge energy was not wasted after cricket and was used to do one’s work honestly even for a day, that would be showing patriotism. I don’t understand the definition of patriotism of these people.”

I am posting this on the eve of India-Pakistan Champions Trophy finals hoping that good sense prevails. Enjoy the games by all means. But let us not wear our patriotism on our sleeves and consider winning a game of cricket a great victory or losing a National disaster. jingoistic chest thumping and sneering remarks do no good to any country.

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