“Sport is extremely powerful. For more than a hundred years, it has done things which politics failed to do. It has the power to unite a nation and spread love all over the world. In this unrest world, it’s the perfect tool to undermine terrorism and thus, if England tour Bangladesh, it will be a befitting answer to terrorism”

July 1, 2016. All of a sudden the whole world was stunned. A horrifying night preceded the glorified Night of Power of Holy Ramadan. Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, was left in a state of stupor and in a dazed state of disbelief and heartbreak.  The whole nation came to a standstill and the vengeance of that night jolted the whole nation.

Five militants took hostages and opened fire on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Gulshan, which is known as one of the most secured and posh areas of Dhaka. The assailants entered the bakery with crude bombs, machetes, pistols, and took several dozen hostages, both foreign and local. The Bangladesh Army took a drastic approach and ended the standoff via “Operation Thunderbolt.”

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A few days later, during the Eid prayers at Sholakia, a group “Son of the Devils” carried out a bomb blast which added more grief to the heart and soul of the Bangladeshis who were already hurt and devastated by the Gulshan attack.

The incidents of Gulshan and Sholakia had put Bangladesh in a very bizarre state. They faced the risk of losing various foreign investments in the business sector and a major setback in tourism and sports, especially cricket.

Last year, Australia’s tour of Bangladesh was officially postponed due to concerns over security. An Italian charity worker was shot dead in Dhaka and later, Islamic State reportedly claimed the responsibility, and thus, Cricket Australia had no option but to abandon the tour.

It was a sad state of affairs for the Tigers, who were eagerly waiting for the tour to happen. They were in such a wonderful form last year that it promised to be a cracking Test series against a team who are weak against spin and were down after losing the Ashes in England.

But Australia’s decision to postpone the tour left the Tigers devoid of Test cricket for almost a year and since the World T20 ended, Bangladesh are hardly involved in any international cricket.  The likes of Shakib Al Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman featured in some T20 leagues, but that was not enough to quench the thirst of Bangladeshi cricket fans.

England are supposed to tour Bangladesh this year for a bilateral Test and ODI series. But the tragic incident of July 1 has cast a shadow over the tour. England Cricket Board’s (ECB) security delegation arrived in Dhaka last week and inspected venues in Mirpur, Chittagong, and Fatullah. They also inspected the hotels and had meetings with the intelligence agencies and BCB officials in Dhaka. They were also shown the security plan for the tour at the home ministry.

The ECB delegation left Dhaka, but it is still not certain whether the tour will proceed or not.

England should not postpone the tour. The whole world is affected by terrorism, but it doesn’t stop the day-to-day activities and sports at all. Moreover, the security state of Bangladesh is not in the doldrums like some of the countries where each day children have to wake up with the fear of a drone attack or bomb blast.

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Mashrafe Mortaza, who has supported the tour, said, “Firstly, I would ask them to come, and I still believe they will come. We are all confident that the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the government will be able to make necessary security arrangements. As a player, I will say that the sport should continue. This kind of attack is happening all over the world. There were attacks in France and still the Euro was held there. I think it depends on ECB-BCB, what is going on between them. I think they should come.”

Again, if England’s tour to India in 2008 could proceed despite the horrifying terrorist attack in Mumbai, why not the Bangladesh tour?

The Government of Bangladesh has taken stern steps to control violence and terrorism all over the country and at the moment the state of security in Bangladesh is comfortable. The foreign investors have not stepped back, whereas many foreigners are still visiting Bangladesh as tourists and for various business purposes.

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Bangladesh has stood up on her feet and moved on with enough determination and positivity.

England should realize what cricket means to the people of Bangladesh and how badly it will affect the country’s cricketing affairs if they decide not to tour Bangladesh. England should not forget, despite Australia’s sad decision, Bangladesh has successfully staged two major international events and a limited-overs series this year. The arrangement of security by the Bangladesh government was stupendous and there were no reports of any ugly incidents during those events.

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Moreover, England must not miss the opportunity to enjoy Bangladesh’s eye-popping natural beauty, heartwarming hospitality, and passion for the game. No matter where they go to play, they will be greeted with a cheer, and no matter whom they meet they will never experience a moment of hostility. Bangladesh is the school of life.

Bangladesh are a rising force in world cricket and deserves to host and play against big teams like Australia and England. It’s quite sure, Bangladesh won’t wobble against them like in the past but will offer an exciting contest which will not only benefit both the teams, but cricket itself will be enriched a lot.

Sport is extremely powerful. For more than a hundred years, it has done things which politics failed to do. It has the power to unite a nation and spread love all over the world. In this unrest world, it’s the perfect tool to undermine terrorism, and thus, if England tour Bangladesh, it will be a befitting answer to terrorism.