DHAKA: Bangladesh Cricket Board President Nazmul Hassan said the national players’ unprecedented strike seems to be a “conspiracy” to destabilise the game in the country but remains hopeful that the upcoming tour of India will go on as per schedule.
Hassan’s comments come after country’s top players including Test and T20 captain Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim on Monday announced a boycott of cricketing activities until their demands, including a salary hike, are met.
“Obviously I hope that the camp will go on. The India series will take place. I believe that most of the players want to play. They want cricket to develop. I don’t believe that they will bring the country’s cricket into disrepute due to a small sum of five thousand taka. But we will see what happens,” Hassan was quoted as saying by ‘Daily Star’.
Bangladesh are scheduled to play three T20s and two-Tests in India starting November 3.
“First, I have to know who is trying to jeopardise the India tour. I have to know what the real problem is or else there will other problems a few days later. We will find who is behind this conspiracy,” said Hassan during a press conference here as the BCB called an emergency meeting of directors to discuss the issue.
Hassan also said that purpose of the public protest was to create chaos and tarnish the image of the game in the country.
BCB director Jalal Yunus said the players should have come to the board with their demands rather than communicating with them through media.
“We had no idea that the cricketers were so angry, disappointed and upset,” Yunus told Bengali daily Samakal.
“They could have placed the demands at the board before issuing the ultimatum. However, they went to the media to call off all cricketing activities. This is nothing but blackmailing.”
Another BCB director Mahbubul Anam too smelt a conspiracy against the Board.
“They could have followed the process of going through the CEO, cricket operations chairman and board chief, and if their demands weren’t met, then they could have gone for action.
“I believe something else is behind the cricketers’ call for the strike. It is a conspiracy against BCB,” he said.
However, former Bangladesh captain and BCB cricket operations head Akram Khan empathised with the players.
“These things always start with a movement. Once you sit with the board, it is no longer a movement. The board is there to serve the cricketers’ purpose. I hope there will be a reconciliation between the players and the board. We will try to solve their issues in the board meeting on (Tuesday),” said Khan.
Some of the players’ main demands are: Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) must go back to franchise model, Dhaka Premier League (their domestic first-class competition) must go back to open market transfers, central contract salary should be higher, and include more players, higher first-class match fees, players association to no longer have conflict of interest.
The BCCI has maintained that it would adopt a wait and watch policy for now and is hopeful of an amicable solution to a matter which is completely internal.