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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

ICC Champions Trophy 2017: The ugly side of the India-Bangladesh rivalry

As India are set to take on Bangladesh in the ICC Champions Trophy semi-finals, the ugly side of the rivalry has begun rearing its head on social media again.

sports Updated: Jun 14, 2017 08:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Since the 2015 ICC World Cup, Bangladesh fans and players haven’t shied away from trying to make their rivalry with India seem bigger than it is.
Since the 2015 ICC World Cup, Bangladesh fans and players haven’t shied away from trying to make their rivalry with India seem bigger than it is. (Reuters)

The fact that Bangladesh have made the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 is a huge cause for celebration for the nation. Their reputation as cricket’s best minnows has slowly been fading away. Now a side full of energetic and talented players represent the nation with pride and a lot of fire. No longer are they considered pushovers, especially in limited overs cricket. As a result, the semifinal clash against India will be yet again a huge platform for the Tigers to solidify their place in the big league.

A game against India is never an easy affair and although the Bangladesh players are keeping things calm, their fans have already begun to sound the battle cries on social media.

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A picture recently did the rounds of a tiger with a Bangladesh flag superimposed on it attacking a dog which has an Indian flag superimposed on it. This is just the latest of shots in what is a rather common scene ahead of a match between these two teams. The reason for this “rivalry”? India’s win over Bangladesh in the 2015 World Cup quarterfinal.

The match was a historic one for Bangladesh, who weren’t accustomed to being a part of such a high-profile game. But things turned sour when Bangladeshi fans accused the ICC of siding with India because of a decision that didn’t go their way.

Rubel Hussain had Rohit Sharma dismissed, but the ball was deemed to be a waist-high no-ball. The decision was a borderline one, yet it was something Bangladesh fans didn’t forgive the umpire or India for. And they certainly did not forget about it either.

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After an unexpected series win over India in 2015, a Bangladeshi newspaper ran an ad that featured Mustafizur Rahman holding a razor, standing behind Indian batsmen with half their heads shaved. This ad ran after Mustafizur had troubled India with some brilliant bowling in the aforementioned series. The grudge was very much alive and kicking.

It didn’t end there. Before the Asia Cup T20 final in 2016, another photoshopped image did the rounds. This one featured Taskin Ahmed holding M.S. Dhoni’s severed head, which naturally did not go down well with Indian fans. In a nice little twist or irony, it was Dhoni’s innings that ensured Bangladesh would lose the final.

The “rivalry” got even more intense when India got knocked out of the semi-finals of the World T20 in 2016. After West Indies pulled off a major upset, Mushfiqur Rahim attempted to troll India on both Facebook and Twitter, claiming this result was “happiness”. The uproar that followed forced Rahim to delete his tweets.

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He later clarified that he was a “big West Indies supporter” in an attempt to get people to calm down. When that didn’t work out, he deleted the second tweet too. The message was clear: Bangladesh considered India a hated rival in the cricketing arena.

But despite this “rivalry”, one can only hope that the game - which is what matters the most - will not be too affected by this off-field tensions. At the end of the day, the match will hopefully be played in a way that is hard but fair.

First Published: Jun 14, 2017 00:13 IST

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