Bangladesh’s warm-up match against Pakistan in Cardiff’s Swalec Stadium was an acute disappointment because a very light but persistent drizzle prevented play, and ended up causing an abandonment without a ball being bowled on Sunday.
Pakistani and Bangladeshi expatriates alike had come to the ground nestled in the middle of the wooded parkland known as Sophia Gardens, and it would be understandable if they were frustrated at the rare opportunity to see their cricketing heroes being thwarted by the weather.
Four or five Bangladeshis -- there were around a total of a hundred spectators on the gloomy day -- took it upon themselves to partake in some cricketing action.
A lively, if shortlived (a safety steward put an end to proceedings within about half an hour), game of cricket took place beneath one of the stands with temporary participants joining in. But three expats were having the game of their lives under the scant shelter even as the real cricketers were confined to indoor practice.
The ball was a red tennis ball and the bat appeared to be one of those sold as souvenirs at the ground, still in its plastic wrapping. Bangladesh’s Liton Das seemed a popular name, as one of the participants repeatedly yelled out ‘Shabash Litu’ every time a ball was fielded successfully at what would have been a short cover.
At one stage, Pakistan batsman Imam-ul-Haq walked out of the nearby indoor nets and was making his way to the dressing room. As some Pakistani spectators -- some who had stationed themselves at midwicket for the impromptu cricket game -- rushed to take selfies with the bespectacled batsman, the Bangladeshis running the game were not interested in the least.
“He is not one of ours; doesn’t concern us,” said one of the main players to general laughter among his fellow expats.
Soon, however, Liton went through and that brought the game to a momentary halt as the participants scampered for selfies. Liton, however, was eager to get to net practice and the expats had to be content with a picture from afar.
Soon, Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur walked through and he noticed some of the big hits unleashed by the player batting at the time.
“Where are you going to be next Friday,” Arthur asked with a chuckle, presumably talking about Pakistan’s World Cup opener against West Indies.
“Too bad, mate, we are from Bangladesh,” came the reply, and Arthur was on his way.