On a sultry evening in Dubai, the clash between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka lived up to its hype, providing viewers with an all-time classic and a meme-fest that was as interesting as the game itself. There was no dearth of controversy or heroics, but these acts were easily overshadowed by the Naagin dance that Sri Lankans performed in the dugout.
Bangladesh had only brought this ceremonial hookstep to the field of cricket. But on Thursday, all they could do was watch their opponents imitating the same while they trudged back to the dressing room. Call it a “Karma’s a B*tch” moment or just the natural trajectory of a sporting team. The demons they brought into the world engulfed them as an act of revenge.
It wasn’t started by Mushfiqur Rahim. Nazmul Islam Apu started this trend when he was plying his trade for Rajshahi Kings in the Bangladesh Premier League. Nazmul later recounted that when he did that for the first time in the game, after dismissing Mushfiqur Rahim, his captain Darren Sammy pretended to be afraid.
“Last year I played for Rajshahi Kings. Darren Sammy was the captain of Rajshahi then. During play, when I tried to do this snake celebration, Sammy pretended to be afraid. From then it all started. It’s a funny thing. After that, it continued, and thus it became a trademark celebration for me,” said Nazmul to Dhaka Tribune.
Nazmul has always been the most entertaining guy in the team. When he was selected for the first time for a series against Sri Lanka, Nazmul celebrated his four-wicket haul with the Naagin Dance that has already become synonymous with him. The rest of the players too didn’t shy away. On the same tour, Danushka Gunathilaka gave it back after Sri Lanka won the series.
Later that year, Nazmul did the same after pinning Aghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad leg before in the T20I.
While Nazmul was the pioneer of this move, it was his teammate Mushfiqur Rahim who popularised it. It was during the Nidahas Trophy 2018 when Bangladesh were staring at a big defeat, after conceding 215 runs against Sri Lanka. Mushfiqur, however, turned the game on its head with his quickfire 72 that snatched the victory from the jaws of defeat. Soon after he hit the winning six, he launched into a Naagin dance in front of the Sri Lankan crowd.
While Mushfiqur was criticised by some section of the media, he had the backing of his ODI skipper Tamim Iqbal, who said, “After the final game in Sylhet. I think it was Danushka Gunathilaka, who started doing it when they won that series. After he did it, Rahim saw that and it was on his mind.”
Later on, when Bangladesh lost the Nidahas Trophy final to India in a heartbreaking fashion, the Indian spectators celebrated the victory with this signature step.
By mimicking the step on Thursday in Dubai, the Sri Lankan players have ensured that the cycle continues. Expect the Bangladesh cricketers to dance to this tune if and when they beat Sri Lanka next time.
Lead Image: ICC