“Eye on the Ball,” a pictorial anthology of Bangladesh cricket, was introduced to cricket fans in England at Lord’s, the home of cricket.
The event was held in the prestigious Long Room of the Lord’s Pavilion in the presence of former national and international cricketers, local cricket organisers and enthusiasts, including members representing the Bangladesh community in London.
Close friends and family members of the author of the book, Yousuf Rahman, former national cricketer of Bangladesh, also attended the event.
Rahman, who represented Bangladesh from 1977 to 1984 as a leading all rounder, is the first international century maker for Bangladesh, which he scored in the 1982 ICC Trophy tournament.
In the book, he takes the reader through a pictorial journey starting from the days of the British Raj into the Pakistan era and, eventually merging into the Bangladesh period. It comprehensively captures all aspects of the game in Bangladesh that includes a segment on the cricket fans.
“It is a clear presentation of the rags to riches story of our cricket but more importantly, it presents to the world what cricket means to a Bangladeshi all across the globe,” said Yousuf when asked to comment on the book.
As to the question of why Yousuf had produced the book, his view was that this was done out of necessity to set records straight. “For too long, by too many, the narrative of Bangladesh cricket has been doctored to suit a particular group of individuals. Players and administrators have been misleading the fans.
“Eye on the Ball debunks all false claims and accurately presents the facts. It can be used as a reference for the future, as it presents the facts as unearthed by members of the Eye on the Ball team.”
Two members of the 1977 MCC team that toured Bangladesh, John Barclay and Dudley Owen-Thomas were present. The event took them back to that tour, which they recalled with a lot of nostalgia. John Barclay recalled the 1977 tour mostly because of the enthusiasm that he and the team experienced.
“Cricket was in the air,” he said. “It was as if we were a full England side playing a Test match against Bangladesh, and so it was quite special.”
Also present were two greats of international cricket – Zaheer Abbas, the former Test player from Pakistan and Sir Gordon Greenidge, the former West Indian great and head coach of the successful Bangladesh team that won the ICC Trophy in 1997.
Both icons contributed articles in the book.
Also present was Cally Barlow, wife of the late South African cricketer Eddie Barlow, who also coached Bangladesh soon after achieving Test match status.
Eye on the Ball was initially launched in Dhaka on January 7, 2023 through a high profile event attended by several heads of foreign missions representing cricket playing nations and some current and former Bangladesh national cricketers.
Sir Gordon Greenidge also attended the Dhaka event along with former Zimbabwean captain Hamilton Masakadza. Greenidge hailed the one of a kind initiative taken by Yousuf Rahman and hoped that Bangladesh cricket would get back on track sooner than later.
In collaboration with MCC, the event was organised by Yousuf Rahman who partnered with Capital Kids Cricket of London toreceive support and local logistics and Markovit Inc, a USA based nutritional supplement company.