It is with great expectations that Bangladesh is waiting to give a warm welcome to the English cricket team in October, which will take place with the Fizz, fun, and fears after the terror attacks.
At one point, the tour was uncertain, but thanks to our security agencies and our very active Nazmul Hasan Papon, the Bangladesh Cricket Board chief, England has finally agreed.
I told the English media here: “Please do not bow down to terrorism by cancelling the tour. Stand up against such terror with Bangladesh which is fighting all out to weed-out these extremist elements.”
As I sit in my office in London, I took the opportunity to invite journos going to Bangladesh to cover the tour.
Two issues dominate the tour: Will Mustafizur Rahman play? And: Is there a threat of a terrorist attack?
Fizz’s bowling is apparently a cause of fear for the visitors. Asked how the clash would go, David Charlesworth of the Press Association told me that it would be very competitive.
“Mustafiz may join the one-dayers, and that might not be easy for the English team, as they are not very good in facing bowling styles like that of Mustafiz,” he added.
It was the same with the others. It is all about Fizz and the question remains if he will play in any of the matches with England, who were defeated by Bangladesh in the World Cup.
Fizz is a source of pride. When veteran cricket reporters talk about Fizz and look at him with fear, one can’t help but feel elated.
Who else do they think is a threat to their team?
The answer has been Shakib Al Hasan and Mashrafe bin Mortaza. Cricket is now the greatest ambassador for Bangladesh and something that it carries with pride.
The English tour should change the mind of Australia, who postponed their Test tour of Bangladesh in October 2015 over security concerns. Cricket roars on. Kudos to our Tigers
“Your cricket is coming up very good,” said Richard Hobson of The Times.
The British media and team feel that it will be a lot fun and challenging for both the teams, and of course, the cricket fans who are waiting eagerly.
Coming to the security issue, the English Cricket Board (ECB) carried out a security review in Bangladesh and left it open to the players if they wanted to go or not.
ECB cricket director Andrew Strauss said: “The safety and security of players and management are always paramount.”
He added: “We’ve received a thorough risk assessment, had excellent insight into the current situation, and have been fully briefed on security commitments. We discussed details with the players and management in an open meeting. They asked lots of questions, have time to ask more, and will clearly want to take it all in -- we understand that.”
England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan said no players would be forced to tour Bangladesh. Strauss said the ECB will “continue to monitor the situation right up to and throughout the tour.”
David of the Press Associtaion said the fear of terror attack remains, but it was important for Bangladesh and cricket as a whole to ensure the success of the tour.
He agreed that none should bow down to terrorism.
As I wrote earlier, visiting Paris, I had been fearful, but we must abandon that kind of thinking.
We must also go on briefing about our security measures as well as understand the concerns of the visitors.
We must ensure that BCB is given all the security that it needs, so that no one fears for their live.
Will Macpherson of the Guardian newspaper agreed as I explained how our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has vowed a “zero-tolerance” policy for terrorism, and mentioned the recent police action taken to uproot home-grown terrorists.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s advice is that “there is a heightened threat of further terrorist attacks” in Bangladesh, although a similar threat level applies to many European cities, including London.
England will play two Tests and three ODIs between October 7 and November 1. The matches will take place in Dhaka and Chittagong.
The English tour should change the mind of Australia, who postponed their Test tour of Bangladesh in October 2015 over security concerns.
Cricket roars on. Kudos to our Tigers!
Nadeem Qadir, a senior journalist, is a UNCA Dag Hammarskjold Scholar in journalism. He is the Press Minister of Bangladesh High Commission in London.