Of course, you all know the meanings. But what you don’t know is why I’m telling you all this. The reason is– my thoughts have gotten mixed up in a weird, confused concoction while trying to write this piece with the baffling 3-0 score line of the T20 series in front of me.
Despite saying so much, I’m unconvinced. Have I made you grasp everything! Or whether the word ‘unimaginable’ would’ve been more appropriate. Unimaginable means something that wasn’t imagined before– and now one can easily use ‘whitewashing England’ as an example for this.
Does it seem like a hyperbole? That I am getting over-emotional? Then I would ask you to go back to the morning of 9 March, the day of the first match of the T20 series. Try and recall, if you had imagined that just four days later the night sky above the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium will get lit up with flashy lights with confetti flying around everywhere.
If your answer is ‘yes’, then please forgive me, you must be a descendent of Nostradamus and are able to see the future.
We all know what the real answer to this question is. You, me, none of us had thought of this. Had the Bangladesh team whitewashed England in the ODI series–it wouldn’t have been as shocking. Even though England are the World Champions in ODIs just like they are in the 20-over format. Then what’s the difference?
The difference lies in those extra 30 overs. Meaning one is ODI and the other is T20. England may be the World Champions in ODIs, but Bangladesh are not a mug in this format either. In fact, at home soil, they are a force to be reckoned with. Whereas in T20s, if England is the topper of the class, Bangladesh is the last bencher. In Tests too, Bangladesh are in dire straits, but in T20s, they are practically drowning in a sea.
It’s no wonder why coach Chandika Hathurusingha said that the shortest format will be his biggest challenge after reassuming the role of the Bangladesh head coach. I don’t know whether he will accept it now or not, but Hathurusingha would’ve been satisfied had Bangladesh won even one match in the T20 series. The same can be said for Shakib.
They have ended up winning all three matches. And it’s not like those wins came by the barest of margins. They have won the matches in a dominant style. They won as the superior team in all three departments– batting, bowling and fielding. Bangladesh have never played like this in three consecutive T20s.
There is no question that this is the biggest success in the history of Bangladesh cricket in the shortest format. But what if we don’t limit this comparison to just T20s? Still, this will rank near the top of the incredible achievements of the country’s cricket. What could this be compared with? The consecutive series wins against Pakistan, India and South Africa in 2015 come to mind. Out of the three series, Pakistan had lost 3-0. The Test wins over England and Australia will enter this conversation, so will the win over New Zealand in the Mount Maunganui Test.
But this T20 series win could be best compared with the 4-0 ODI series win over New Zealand in 2010. The state Bangladesh cricket was in at that time, the 4-0 scoreline evoked the same emotions out of everyone which were written at the very beginning of this write up.
The word ‘Banglawash’ also entered cricket’s lexicon in that same series. Commentator Athar Ali Khan had used this word a year prior, during the team’s West Indies tour. But that didn’t gain much traction at the time. After New Zealand got whitewashed, it gained a lot of attention, so much so that after going to New Zealand I saw that everyone related to the country’s cricket is aware of the term.
Since then, Banglawash has gradually taken the place of whitewash in Bangladesh cricket. I’ve heard some opposing it, saying it’s insulting to the opponents. But there are some who smell a hint of racism in the term whitewash as well. That’s why after the West Indies team ran through England in a series in the 80s’, the West Indians changed the colour and called it ‘blackwash’.
So, can we say the English have been Banglawashed? It sounds good to me. If someone from England opposes this, then I’ll tell that person an old story. I’m calling it a story, but it’s actually a hundred per cent true.
After Bangladesh lost the Lord’s Test inside three days during their first tour of the country in 2005, an English newspaper wrote, “In the future, this clueless Bangladesh team should not come within a 10 miles of Lord’s.”
We will definitely not say anything like that. We are renowned for our hospitality. We, contrarily, will invite the England team to visit us again and again and to continue giving us reasons to rejoice.
*This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ashfaq-Ul-Alam Niloy