Rise of the Tigers

Cricket in Chittagong


My cricket-playing days began ‘properly’ shall we say at the age of 12. This basically means that I ditched the tennis ball and moved up to the real leather cricket ball and in the process soon became acutely aware of why cricketers wear so much padding. If I were to describe my cricket prowess I would say I’m a moderately fortuitous swing bowler and sporadically stubborn number eleven bat, learning (and unlearning!) all I needed to know about the game in the picturesque English village of Cockington, South Devon. It was during this time as part time scorer, part time bowler, and full time scone eater, that my love of the beautiful game of cricket took root.

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Cockington Country Park – Home of Cockington Corinthians Cricket Club


The Devon D Division West (2nd XI) title winning medal from 1999 that now sits tucked away in a box at home, and a match saving 11 not out with the bat are proud moments in an otherwise unremarkable cricket playing life thus far. Nevertheless, my enthusiasm for the game remains undiminished and my international employment in recent years has led me onto the path of some fairly random cricket encounters, which include cameo appearances for Prague Cricket Club, the National University cricket team in Butare, Rwanda, as well as almost playing against the Suriname national team in Guyana…until rain stopped play.

Here in Bangladesh I spend a great deal of my free time exploring the country armed with a camera, and for the past few weeks I have been photographing (and occasionally joining in!) local cricket matches around the city and surrounding areas. The continued growth and rise of the Bangladesh national team (or ‘The Tigers’ as they are proudly known) has reignited the public’s interest and passion for the game, and recent one day series wins against South Africa, India, and Pakistan is a key reason for this.

No longer viewed as a minor or emerging force on the international cricket stage, Bangladesh now command real respect, and the England team that recently toured here found out exactly why.

The following photos were all captured in and around Chittagong and depict the love of a sport that continues to capture the imagination of many of the 160 million proud Bangladeshis, especially young players who dream of emulating their heroes.


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All images: © John Stanlake

7 responses

  1. Dad

    Nice one John and the usual hihg standard of photos. You didn’t mention your hat-rick for Corries v Exeter. You have the tie to prove it ! Where better to play your club cricket from a young age than at Cockington. Many happy times, none more so for me, than batting with you or taking a catch off your bowling. Keep playing the beautiful game as long as you can. I’m going to, providing my legs can carry me and my eyes can see the ball coming.

    November 21, 2016 at 6:11 am

  2. Mum xx

    A very good blog John and lovely photos. I think the England cricket team could do with you at the moment!

    November 22, 2016 at 5:48 am

  3. Auntie Julie

    Once again John super photos and clearly shows how dedicated the Bangladesh people are with their cricket. Not worried about perfect wickets .

    November 25, 2016 at 5:18 pm

  4. Hi John. I hope that you don’t mind me commenting on your blog as I’m neither your dad, your mum or your auntie Julie. Really nice piece. I’m jealous of you getting to play internationally and I’d take 11 not out any day of the week!

    December 5, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    • Thanks very much! I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and yes, all comments and feedback is gratefully received 🙂 I lived off that 11no for months!

      December 12, 2016 at 4:18 pm

  5. Hello, really great photos John. It really captures the love we Bangladeshis have for cricket and also the creativity(Notice the stumps?)

    April 26, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    • Thanks very much! Yeah, such ingenuity – I saw so many different types of stumps 🙂

      April 26, 2017 at 4:01 pm

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