MELBOURNE:In the 40-year history of cricket World Cups, there had been no precedence of a player taking part in the event on bail. That the charge was of rape and false promise of marriage, brought by a 19-year-old actress, makes Mohammad Rubel Hossain’s case one of its kind. Arrested in January and behind bars for three days, the Bangladesh medium pacer was granted temporary relief to play. Following a match-winning performance against England on March 9, the allegation was withdrawn.
Speaking to Express from the team’s base here, a member of the Bangladesh contingent revealed it was not an easy situation to handle, although other players and the board were as supportive as they could be under the circumstances. It was made clear to Rubel it was his problem and getting his name cleared was his responsibility. At the same time, they made him feel part of the squad by making things as normal as possible. With the charge dropped, they are confident normalcy has returned.
“It was an allegation and the matter was under investigation. Rubel wasn’t found guilty. According to our law, such charges mean the person concerned will be arrested. He was told by the Bangladesh Cricket Board it was up to him to prove he was innocent. After that, the players welcomed him because he’s an important member of the team. They tried to involve him in jokes and friendly banter so that he felt comfortable,” said a member of the Bangladesh tour party, on condition of anonymity.
The 25-year-old has played 22 Tests and 58 ODIs after international debut in 2009. He was part of the 2011 World Cup squad as well. Following the allegation by Naznin Ahmed (popularly known as Happy in Bangladesh), he was arrested and released on bail in “national interest”. After the right-armer took taking four for 53 against England that sealed a quarterfinal berth, the actress dropped the charge.
“We can’t say how he was feeling, but Rubel looked as normal as possible and concentrated on training. He’s a strong lad and it didn’t seem as if he was playing with such a serious charge against him. Other players and the team management supported him, maintaining that all cricketing co-operation would be extended, provided he fought the legal battle on his own. He was told it was a personal problem, and the team or board didn’t want to get involved in that. Going by how he responded, it has to be said he handled the situation well,” said the source.
Reports coming out of Bangladesh suggest even though the actress said she wouldn’t pursue the case or testify against him, charges under their Women and Children Repression Prevention Act can’t be dropped so easily because of legal complications. However, the team is not looking that far ahead and instead, concentrating on the quarterfinal against India at MCG on March 19. With seven wickets in five matches, Rubel is Bangladesh’s joint highest wicket-taker so far. In three matches against India, he has an unexceptional record of two wickets at an economy rate of 6.31.