CHENNAI: Bangladesh cricket plunged into crisis on Monday, with leading players going on strike. The upcoming tour of India may be in jeopardy if matters are not sorted. Addressing a press conference in Dhaka, the players listed 11 demands. Unless those are met, they have spoken about a strike that will cripple all levels of senior men’s cricket in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is yet to react. A spokesman told this newspaper that they have heard about the development from the media and will not comment until they receive an official communication. It’s an unprecedented situation in the country’s cricket. If the team fails to turn up for matches listed in the ICC’s Future Tours Programme, the board can be fined.
Resignation of top officials of Bangladesh Cricketers’ Welfare Association, reverting to the franchise-based model of Bangladesh Premier League, pay revision in domestic cricket, increasing the number of centrally contracted players, and hike for coaches, physiotherapists, umpires and groundsmen are highlights of the demands made by the players.
“As long as our demands are not met, we are not going to be part of any programme run by the cricket board. We are keeping under-19 out of this because they have a World Cup coming up. Also, we could not discuss issues with women cricketers due to lack of time. If they want, they can join us with their demands. All other players are with us,” Test captain and star player Shakib Al Hasan said during a press conference at the National Cricket Academy.
Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah and Tamim Iqbal were among a host of frontline Bangladesh players, alongside Shakib. “In the franchise-based Premier League system, players were better looked after and had a say in how much their fees should be. That has gone missing (after BCB took over). We want the old model from next year,” said Mahmudullah.
Bangladesh are scheduled to arrive in India at the end of this month for a series of three T20Is and two Test matches, from November 3 to 26. Failure to turn up may amount to violation of contract, and BCB will have some answering to do in that eventuality. Talks are expected over the next few days and that should indicate which way this is headed. As things stand, it’s over to BCB to make the next move.