Adelaide: Bangladesh may not have the best cricket team in the world but the support they receive from fans around the world will leave many established nations envious.
Bangladesh fans celebrate their country's win against England in Adelaide yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
Bangladeshi supporters were outnumbered during yesterday's key World Cup match against England at the Adelaide Oval, but they made their presence felt by deafening cheers for their team.
Every run was applauded loudly from flag-waving crowds wearing the Bangladeshi team colours of red and green, while fours and sixes were celebrated wildly.
'We'll win someday'
"We will win the World Cup... someday. Till then we must support our team all the way," said Nazrul Ahmed, a Melbourne-based shopkeeper who had travelled overnight to watch the match in Adelaide.
Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza was overwhelmed by the reception his team had received from supporters during this World Cup. "We are used to seeing 30,000 to 35,000 people at our matches at home, but having people turn out in large numbers here is just amazing," he said.
Failure attracts contempt and fans are known to desert their favourite sporting teams during a losing streak, but Bangladeshi cricketers have never faced that problem. "Nothing unites Bangladesh like cricket does," said Dhaka-based journalist Azad Majumdar. "There is hardly anything else people at home can look up to."
Another reporter Sanjoy Saha added: "Unlike India, there are no film stars to follow. Cricketers have to be the biggest heroes."
Thankfully, the Bangladeshi cricket team has lived up to the fans' expectations by winning yesterday's close contest against England to enter quarter-finals.
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza dedicated his country's historic win over England to the 1971 "freedom fighters". At the award ceremony, the captain dedicated the win to "all the freedom fighters" and "all those people working very hard". Bangladesh became an independent nation in 1971 after months of "Liberation war" against Pakistan.