Contributed

Will the story go on for Bangladesh?

I AM still receiving random Facebook friend requests from Bangladesh fans I have never met to this day.

I've counted almost 30 of them. They started after I did a story and video package on my search for the world's No.1-ranked all-rounder, Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan, before the start of the World Cup early last month.

The requests have been rolling in from cricket-mad Bangladesh folks ever since I posted it on Facebook.

While I waited for three hours to interview Al Hasan, I met some lovely blokes out here covering the World Cup from Bangladeshi television station, Ekattor TV. These guys absolutely live and breathe their cricket, and it was so refreshing to see the enthusiasm on their faces when talking about how much cricket meant to them.

"Mister Josh, all people are fascinated with cricket in Bangladesh. It is a religion," one of the friendly and enthusiastic reporters told me.

From those reporters I spoke to last month, to the many Bangladesh fans I have chatted to (pictured), to my interview with Al Hasan - they have all told me that a game featuring their beloved Tigers was more than just a game.

It is a festival and a celebration of life.

 

Even Bangladeshi reporters are so in awe of their cricketers they pose for selfies with them after press conferences, and worship them as gods.

Far different from the run-of-the-mill press conferences we generally have here in Australia.

It would be incredible for world cricket if Bangladesh could spring an upset over India in the second quarter-final at the MCG today and write another chapter in the fairytale.

It should be a memorable spectacle, regardless of who wins.

Indian cricket fans have set the benchmark for passion for many years - their supporters almost packed out the 100,000-seat MCG against South Africa back in the group stages on February 22, and the noise they generated was deafening.

Bangladesh showed it was not here just to make up the numbers when it upset England in Adelaide, a victory that sparked an outpouring of joy back home.

Mohammad Mahmudullah was one of the stars that day, scoring a wonderful hundred - Bangladesh's first at a World Cup.

Fast bowler Rubel Hossain then stepped in to take 4-53, clean bowling Stuart Broad and James Anderson to secure a remarkable entrance to the quarter-finals.

India will prove harder to beat than England, however, after going through the pool stage unbeaten.

The defending champion has an all-star batting line-up, including Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, ODI world record holder Rohit Sharma and skipper MS Dhoni.



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