Bangladesh march to victory over Afghanistan in battle of cricket’s youngest members

Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim celebrate taking the wicket of Afghanistan’s Najibullah Zadran in the ICC Cricket World Cup match at The Ageas Bowl, Southampton, Britain, on June 24, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 25 June 2019
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Bangladesh march to victory over Afghanistan in battle of cricket’s youngest members

  • Bangladesh beat Afghanistan by 62 runs in Cricket World Cup match to register their third win in the tournament on Monday
  • Bangladesh posted 262 for seven wickets after wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim top-scored with 83

KARACHI: On Monday, two of the youngest teams in cricket met in Southampton in a World Cup game, with Afghanistan playing for pride, while Bangladesh were looking to continue what has been a quietly fantastic campaign.
Coming in with big wins against West Indies and South Africa, and strong showings in defeats to New Zealand and Australia, Bangladesh were confident they could continue their march to the semifinals, but the Afghans, who are already eliminated, weren’t going to be pushovers.
In a press conference at the eve of the game, Afghan captain Gulbadin Naib was told that the Bangladeshi coach Steve Rhodes felt his team were ready to take Afghanistan on. Without missing a beat, Naib switched from Pashto to Urdu and said “Hum to dube hai sanam; tujhe bhi leke dubenge. (We are drowning, darling, but we will take you with us.)”
Indeed, the shared languages, culture and heritage among the South Asian teams are one reason cricket’s fraternity can be seen as a family.
All its major members are related through the experience of colonization, and the politics of those relations reverberate in all encounters and narratives of the sport. Like most South Asian daughters-in-law, Bangladesh had to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get accepted by the larger family. After receiving Test match status in 1999, they had to go through a long time where their side was derided and/or patronized for not being strong enough to match the others. Statisticians would exclude matches played against them from records, while players were mocked if their best efforts came against Bangladesh. Perhaps most agonizingly, time and again over these past two decades, they would be on the verge of huge, life-changing upsets, only to lose at the last moment.
Those near misses had created a fandom, in a country absolutely mad for cricket, that was viewed as a bit melodramatic and churlish. People who held such views didn’t have to go through the growing pains for their own teams’ journeys and thus could afford to be uncharitable. But Bangladesh kept on keeping on, and since the last World Cup in 2015 have truly transformed as a limited overs side, winning matches against all-comers at home and improving in leaps and bounds in away encounters.
In contrast, Afghanistan’s cricket team had a much more welcoming arrival. The wretched, horrifying history of war in their homeland had made refugees of vast numbers of Afghans, mostly in Pakistan where they picked up their cricket. That connection with Pakistan meant access to first-class matches for the team, provision of international level coaches and facilities, as well as regular chances to compete against good players. In addition, the arrival of T20 franchise leagues meant that their players had become stars in the international stage before their team had achieved much, something Bangladesh never had in their formative years. Once Afghanistan had received international status, they had pulled off bigger results than most sides coming into the sport.
In that context, Naib’s promise to drown the beloved with themselves wasn’t just a false threat — Afghanistan had the potential to take down their South Asian rivals. But here was the thing — Bangladesh had paid the price of being here in blood. They’d gone through the false dawns, the near misses, the agonies and tribulations that come with being a newbie. And forged through those fires, they had emerged with the Prince Who Was Promised — Shakib al Hasan.
Bangladesh cricket’s first superstar, Shakib had long been one of the world’s best all-rounders, and could hold his own both in international cricket as well as in franchise T20 leagues around the world. Known mostly for his bowling, his batting always showed far more promise than actual results. But then, in the buildup to this tournament he insisted that he bat up the order, and since then he is having one of the best World Cups any player has ever had.
Against Afghanistan, he turned in a truly record-breaking performance. After scoring his third fifty to go top of the tournament’s batting charts, he took five wickets to crush Afghanistan’s spirited reply, forcing himself into the top 10 list for the bowlers as well. His presence was a reminder to Afghanistan that despite doing much better than Bangladesh had at this stage of their development, they don’t have a player like Shakib that elevates your team to another level. To be fair, even Bangladesh never had this version of Shakib before. He’s had three centuries in this tournament, and is having an outsized impact on his team’s progress.
His captain, Mashrafe Mortaza acknowledged as much saying that “Shakib’s been fantastic. He’s scoring runs and whenever we need he’s getting us wickets. I think that partnership [Shakib had with Mushfiqur Rehman] wasn’t very big but [it] was important.”
Shakib himself noted: “I did work really hard before the WC [so] I was well prepared. The best I could ever be prepared. It’s paying off. Definitely want it to carry on. Our next two games against India and Pakistan are big games.” Indeed victories in these two matches would take Bangladesh to their best ever finish in a World Cup with a semifinal spot.
As for Afghanistan, their journey seems set to evolve after this tournament. Their cricket board has made a host of controversial moves which are meant to take the team to the next level, and which have left a lot of the old guard that led the team’s initial years out in the cold. The search is very much still on for how to move forward, but this World Cup might not provide any answers. As Naib said at the end of the match, “I think we missed something this tournament … We’re missing something.”
That something might well be a superstar like Shakib.


No change in instructions on purchase of foreign currency by banks, clarifies central bank

Updated 22 July 2019
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No change in instructions on purchase of foreign currency by banks, clarifies central bank

  • Some media outlets misinterpreted the updated version of Foreign Exchange Manual, causing confusion
  • Commercial banks cannot replace exchange companies, says Malik Bostan

KARACHI: Pakistan’s exchange companies would continue to play their role in the country’s economy, clarified the State Bank of Pakistan on Monday, noting that there was no change in the instruction on purchase of foreign currency notes by banks who were already allowed to deal in international currencies through authorized branches.
The confusion was caused when some local and foreign media outlets misinterpreted the updated version of the central bank’s instructions in its Foreign Exchange Manual, thinking that the country’s currency exchange companies were being drive out of business and commercial banks were going to assume their role. 
“SBP is in process of revision of Foreign Exchange (FE) Manual in phased manner. In this respect, seven chapters (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 & 20) of FE Manual have been revised and circulated through FE Circular dated November 29, 2018, in the first phase. In phase II, three chapters 8, 9 & 11 have been revised through FE Circular No. 03 of 2019 dated July 16, 2019,” a statement issued by the central bank said. 
One of these revised chapters, 11, includes regulations on “Dealings in Foreign Currency Notes and Coins etc. by the Authorized Dealers (banks).”
“With respect to revised Chapter 11, it has come to our notice that there are some confusions/misinterpretations regarding Para 2 suggesting that SBP has allowed the banks to sell/purchase foreign currencies to/from public by amending the existing regulations,” the SBP said while clarifying that no such amendment had been made.
Currency dealers also said they were playing a vital role for the country’s economy "that cannot be downplayed."
“Banks were already authorized to undertake foreign exchange currency business through authorized branches, but they did not take interest in currency dealing which is evident from the fact that only a few of them established such branches,” Malik Bostan, president of the Forex Association of Pakistan, told Arab News on Monday.
Bostan added that “we are operating on meager profit that commercial banks can’t afford to make.”