Highlighting the way cricket has become a site of a new nationalist masculinity in post-colonial Bangladesh, this paper examines the eruption of a recent controversy about a Bangladeshi cricketer’s sexual entanglement with a movie actress just before the ICC (International Cricket Council) World Cup in 2015. The long-running racial interpretation of Bangladeshis as being of short stature and frail in the popular Indian and Pakistani media has led Bangladeshi cricket supporters to view this athlete’s sexual aggression, despite charges of rape and sexual harassment, as an expression of Bangladeshi masculinity. The problem is that in positing this athlete as a counterpoise to the dominant Indian and Pakistani cricket nationalism, the nationalist resurgence in Bangladesh produced an aggressively heterosexual and masculinist politics that relegated women to a commodity in the formation of a cricket-based nationalism. I argue that the collective cultural complicity with the making of this new masculinity is not just the product of a Bangladeshi patriarchy, but is rooted in a fear of a putative emasculation in the field of cricket by other nations.
- sexual nationalism