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Home fans now on West Indies side

Monday, March 31, 2014
Caption: Bangladeshis awaiting the arrival of the West Indies team at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. Photo: VINODE MAMCHAN

Host Bangladesh may have exited the ICC T20 World Cup here following their loss to Pakistan yesterday.


But for thousands of home fans, the West Indies is likely to be the team they will be supporting.


When the cricket world was painted maroon two decades ago, Bangladesh cricket team was still competing in the second division of world cricket, so they did not play the West Indies. 


However the people here saw the team on television when they came to neighbouring India and Pakistan and they still remember the great cricket played by first Clive Lloyd's men and then Sir Viv Richards' team.


A stroll among the fans here and some chat have revealed that the people are more than happy to have their say on West Indies cricket. Most of them think that the West Indies will repeat as World T20 champions and one even went as far to say that West Indies can also win the 50 overs World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year.


Rubel ul Hasan a fish monger says West Indian cricketers brought him plenty joy when he was growing up. "We used to listen to the matches they played against Pakistan and I tell you, they used to have me anxious. That man Viv Richards was amazing, as he slammed balls out of the park all the time and he would have been the biggest T20 star if he was playing today."


At the International Cricket Council's (ICC) merchandise booth Bangladesh and West Indies shirts were the ones going the fastest. Even though. he is not here with the team, Keiron Pollard remains on the lips of every Bangladesh fan while Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine are among their heroes.


Fans will be rooting for them for the rest of this tournament. 


They are saying they don't want Australia, England or Pakistan to win the tournament. It’s the West Indies, India and Sri Lanka in that order. 


West Indies captain Darren Sammy has responded to them by saying that his team has felt at home since arriving and that he feels the love from the stands. "We have felt at home since arriving here and the people have shown that they appreciate our brand of cricket. This is 20 overs cricket and they want to see the balls flying in their direction and they have seen us do that. They have been very kind and they have been coming up to us and showing their love. My players have also been great ambassadors for the Caribbean and the game and I think the fans appreciate that a lot."


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