The handshakes of Bangladeshi batsmen, Towhid Hridoy and Tanzim Hasan, who saw their team to a three-wicket win in a World Cup game at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground on Monday night, were met with cold response as barring Maheesh Theekshana and another player, the Sri Lankans went their way without acknowledging the winners.
Even when the entire Bangladeshi squad slithered out of the dressing room in a line to meet Asian rivals, none from the Sri Lankan dressing room emerged except the coaching and support staff.
It was probably not about the loss but the lack of ‘spirit of cricket’ from the Bangladeshis that irked the Sri Lankans.
Shakib Al Hasan’s men had appealed after Angelo Mathews asked for a change of helmet without facing a ball in the 25th over, and in the process exhausted the two-minute limit set for a batsman to face the first ball on arrival.
The Bangladesh skipper saw to it that Mathews returned to the pavilion ‘timed out’ without facing a ball.
Despite that, Sri Lanka went on to score 279 before being all out in 49.3 overs, their total built largely on 108 off 105 balls (6x4s, 5x6s) by Charith Asalanka.
The total, however, wasn’t enough for Bangladesh who, riding on Najmul Hossain Shanto’s 90 off 101 balls (12x4s) and skipper Shakib’s 82 off 65 balls (12x4s, 2x6s) and the duo’s 169-run partnership for the third wicket, won the match eventually with 8.5 overs to spare.
The result eliminated Sri Lanka from the semi-final but more importantly created a divide between the arch-rivals that may take time to be bridged.
Shakib, speaking to the media, had no regrets about Mathews dismissal.
“One of our fielders came to me and said, if you appeal, the law says he’s out because he hasn’t taken his guard within the time-frame. So, then I appealed to the umpires,” said Shakib to the media after the game.
Shakib even told the umpires that he won’t call Mathews back after they asked him to think the second time.
“I said I won’t call him back,” he said.
Asked by Patriot if it was the over-rate that made him take the decision, Shakib revealed his ruthlessness, “No, I thought we were not slow on over-rates today. But yeah, it was in the rules that a batsman has to come to the crease within that certain period of time and he wasn’t there at that time.”
The decision didn’t go down well with Angelo Mathews, who called Shakib’s act disgraceful despite the duo’s friendship going back a long way.
“…I haven’t done anything wrong. I had two minutes to get to the crease and get myself ready, which I did. And then it was an equipment malfunction. And I don’t know where the common sense went, because obviously it is disgraceful from Shakib and Bangladesh,” he lashed out.
“If they want to play cricket like that, obviously stooping down to that level, I think there’s something drastically wrong.”
Mathews was unrelenting and said further, “After my helmet broke off, I still had five more seconds to go… it was just pure common sense. I’m not talking about mankading or obstructing the field here. This is just pure common sense and bringing the game into disrepute. It is absolutely disgraceful.”
Mathews was asked by Rex Clementine, a senior Sri Lankan cricket journalist if it was right to not shake hands with the Bangladeshis.
“You need to respect people who respect us. I mean, we all are ambassadors of this beautiful game, including the umpires,” he responded.
“Here, I think in my 15 years of career, I’ve never seen a team going down to that level because obviously the umpires also admitted that it’s equipment malfunction, and they could have gone upstairs and checked again… I wasn’t trying to waste time. I wasn’t trying to get advantage of anything. It was just pure equipment malfunction. And it just happened for the very first time in my career. And I’m absolutely shocked.”
Sri Lankan team coach Chris Silverwood was asked by Patriot if Mathews could have continued playing without helmet for an over or even a ball and then called for the helmet which would have saved him, and also whether he had apprised the umpires or Shakib about the need for a helmet.
“We talk about safety in cricket. I think batting with a faulty helmet against any bowler can be risky. Unfortunately, this incident happened… He showed the helmet and the umpires had seen the strap.”