Dead rubber or not, if cricket is one’s profession then not much motivation is needed to be pumped up about a match at the Lord’s Cricket Ground. Bangladesh have been eliminated from the race to the 2019 World Cup semifinals, but from the expressions on the faces of the players standing on the iconic dressing room balcony at the Pavillion End of the hallowed ground, today’s match against Pakistan would be made all the more special by the venue.
“Yeah, they really enjoyed the walk from the coach through the gates, the Grace Gates,” Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes said during the pre-match press conference yesterday. “As soon as they got in the pavilion, you could see them looking at the paintings along the walls of the staircase, and then heading into the changing rooms and looking at the boards with five-wicket hauls and Test match 100s.”
Two Bangladeshis have their names on those boards. Opener Tamim Iqbal -- still a part of the team now -- had struck a phenomenal Test hundred in 2010 and in the same match pacer Shahdat Hossain had taken a five-wicket haul.
“A few of them went straight out onto the balcony and they were taking it all in. That’s what you need to do at Lord’s. You need to not let it overpower you, but take it all in because it’s one of the best places to play cricket.”
To be at the ground is to walk amongst history -- a statue of WG Grace playing a flick off his pads has been placed without much ceremony opposite the inauspicious museum, which itself is a cricket-lover’s treasure trove, full of memorabilia and images of legends past and present.
Dead rubber or not, Bangladesh will be a part of that history, and that should be enough motivation for them to give their last match against Pakistan their best shot today.
“They probably thought that was it, and then as soon as they walked through the Long Room, there was more to see in the walk down to the ground. Hopefully, they’ll have happy memories tomorrow. Nobody likes losing, so if you lose, often you’re hopeful that you can try and forget it. Certainly, playing at Lord’s really is something you should never forget as a person.”