Dhaka, Bangladesh. In an action packed press conference at the end of the fourth ODI at Mirpur, Bangladesh captain Shakib-al-Hasan announced that the entire Bangladesh team would be rested for the 5th and final ODI against New Zealand. Bangladesh has already won the 5 match series by winning three out of the four games played till now with one match abandoned due to rains.
“We have lots of important cricket coming up. There is the Kai Altech Premier T20 league and ACC matches against Malaysia and Kenya. Given the amount of cricket the boys have been playing, we want to protect them from injury and keep them fresh for these important engagements,” Bangladeshi captain said.
“Also, with all due respect to Dan and his boys, it is really hard to keep yourself motivated against a mediocre opposition. Keeping all this mind, we have decided to rest the main Bangladesh team for the final game. We do recognize our commitments to Cricket New Zealand and will ensure that they get a great game of cricket. West Bangladesh will be playing instead of our first eleven in the final ODI at Dhaka,” Shakib-al-Hasan informed as people googled frantically for “West Bangladesh”.
Given the complex geo-political history of the region, it is not entirely clear what “West Bangladesh” refers to. At the time this report was filed, at least 4 different teams had claimed responsibility for being the aforesaid West Bangladesh team – the West Bengal Ranji team, Kolakata Knight Riders of the IPL, Pakistan national team, and Afghanistan national team – all had promptly issued press releases or tweeted confirmations that they were West Bangladesh.
“Ideal match practice before tough Ranji season,” Laxmi Ratan Shukla, West Bengal Ranji captain said, becoming the first one to lay claim over West Bangladeshdom.
“Still trying to convince Cricket NZ to pay us $200,000 so that McCullum can play for them,” tweeted @iamsrk i.e. Shah Rukh Khan, owner of the KKR team, which was replied to and retweeted by many, including a certain @shreerammadras who tagged every other celebrity in his replies to @iamsrk.
“RT @shreerammadras: OMG IPL team to finally play international cricket. @LalitKModi you are vindicated. N Srini is a moron,” was retweeted by Lalit Modi, the suspended IPL commissioner and a voracious retweeterer.
“Finally cricket will take place in Pakistan (Bangladesh was earlier East Pakistan). This is a big moment for Pakistan,” Shahid Afridi, captain of Pakistani cricket team said, further adding a caveat that if their team loses the final ODI against New Zealand, “law of averages” should be blamed instead of any “match-fixing”.
“We have been asking for test playing nations to play against Afghanistan for a while, but we were really hoping for someone better than New Zealand,” Hamid Hasan, Afghanistan paceman said, who claimed he had “mixed reactions” over the news, though his team-mates expressed enthusiasm.
“I am really looking forward to the game. I am the only player who plays for 3 of the 4 contending West Bangladesh teams. I can lay a claim to Pakistan, KKR and given the nebulous northwestern boundaries, Afghanistan,” said Mohammed Irfan, tallest cricketer with a confused sense of identity that characterizes cricket today.
In an unrelated confusion during the press conference, the question “How does it feel to be the best batsman, left-arm spin bowler, and only international caliber player in the team that you also happen to captain?” was simultaneously answered by both Shakib-al-Hasan and Daniel Vettori.
(written by Sriram Subramanian)