By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
Chittagong : Visiting cards can be refreshingly amusing and indicative of the sense of humour of their owners. Take for example those of the affable Australian umpire Daryl Harper who is on duty for the India-Bangladesh Test here. The picture on his card shows him running from a dog that has entered the field.
The picture depicts Harper, now 55, trying to avoid a stray dog that sneaked into the ground while he was umpiring. "If I remember correctly, the picture is from a Sri Lanka-New Zealand Test match in Kandy, Sri Lanka, in 2003," Harper told IANS.
The caption to the picture reads: "Every dog has his day". The ongoing Test is the Adelaide-based Harper's 64th match as umpire. He has also officiated in 141 One-day Internationals.
Interestingly, Indian umpire A.V. Jayapraksh has not one but 10 photographs on his visiting card. These are of the 10 wickets taken by Anil Kumble against Pakistan in Delhi in 1999. Jayapraksh had given all 10 batsmen out.
Wi-fi system connects stadium
One of the features of the ongoing Test here is that the entire Bir Shrestha Shahid Ruhul Amin Stadium is well connected by wi-fi (wireless fidelity) Internet, provided by Global Online Services Ltd., a leading corporate Internet Service Provider and member of the Texas Group.
Only four technicians, including three engineers, are on duty for as long as 15 to 16 hours everyday. "We come here at seven in the morning and often go back by 11 p.m. after everyone has finished his job connected with the Internet," said Mohammad Monzur Morshed, senior technical executive (infrastructure) of the company and in-charge of the operations here.
The company is the official Internet provider to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) offices and the residences of its top officials in Dhaka. Global Online signed a four-year contract with the BCB in 2003 and it is expected to be renewed.
School kids fill in the stands
That there are few takers here for the five-day cricket Test match is obvious. While the stadium was packed for the third One-day International, which was eventually washed out May 15, half the stands are empty at any stage of this rain-marred match.
On the fourth and penultimate day Monday, hundreds of school kids were given free entry into the Bir Shrestha Shahid Ruhul Amin Stadium in an apparent attempt to fill the galleries.
Rain, of course, has had a big say in this series, comprising three ODIs and two Tests. But the choice of the public is quite clear as to which form of the game they prefer. And this phenomenon is not just confined to Chittagong or Bangladesh, but throughout the cricket world.
It is feared that the fast-growing Twenty20, the latest version of the game in which an innings comprises just 20 overs, will further take fans away from the traditional Test matches.