Dhaka | March 5, 2011
Mistaking the West Indies team bus for the Bangladeshi vehicle — carrying of course a side that lost by nine wickets after being bowled out for a shameful 58 in the first innings — fans pelted the team bus with stones, causing the victorious players to duck and hide under their seats. West Indies opener Chris Gayle tweeted from the bus: “Bangladesh stoning our bus!!! Freaking glass Break!!! Can’t believe … what next bullets!!!! This is ridiculous!!! Damn!!! W Cup with so many security and this happen!! Big Joke!!! Trust me I’m not keen here!!! …Av players lay flat!!!”
According to Imitiaz Ahmed, Deputy Commissioner, the fans were just venting their frustration. “They were probably hoping it was the Bangladesh bus. This time, they got it wrong,” reasons the official who was incharge of keeping the streets free of violence. Luckily though, for the future of this tournament in Bangladesh, the West Indian players, and the commissioner’s job, nobody was injured.
“A couple of fans threw stones, two hit the window and it just broke. No one was hurt and we are safe. They are back in the hotel,” the West Indian team spokesman said. While the stone-pelting incident occured just about 400 metres from the stadium’s intersection into the heart of Mirpur — the outskirts of Bangladesh — several other flares of angst occured in Dhaka, where more cricket fans chanted slogans and burnt banners and team jerseys on the sprawling lawns of Dhaka University. Shoes were flung, the ultimate sign of insult, on the road that the Bangladeshi team travelled.
Bangladesh Cricket Board president Mostafa Kamal said: “I apologise for the incident and I will ensure that such things won’t be allowed to recur.”
Try apologising to Shakib, whose house was vandalised later in the evening. Says Mashrur Reza, Shakib’s father: “I was not at home at that time, but my wife, Shirin Reza, and daughter, Ritu Reza, were there. I came back home and saw that many windows were broken, including those of Shakib’s room.”
West Indies made short work of a high anticipated clash, winning by nine wickets, but for Bangladesh, it triggered the beginning of a long journey ahead. Figuratively in the World Cup campaign, and literally to the much-awaited pressure-free cusp of Chittagong.