Tigers’ India tour in doubt as cricketers stage strike

Sports Correspondent

22 October, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Tigers’ India tour in doubt as cricketers stage strike

Bangladesh National Cricket Team Test and T20I skipper Shakib Al Hasan speaks as fellow cricketers cheer during the press-conference at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in the capital on Monday. — SUN PHOTO

Bangladesh’s upcoming tour of India is in doubt as cricketers have decided not to participate in any cricketing activity for the foreseeable future until their demands for the improvement of cricket in the country are met.

Members of Bangladesh National Cricket Team called for an unprecedented strike on Monday to press home their 11 demands, leaving next month’s tour of India uncertain.

“Unless our demands were met we will not get involved in any cricketing activities. It includes everything– the first-class cricket, national team preparation, international cricket,” said national Test and Twenty20 captain Shakib Al Hasan.

Shakib said that only National Under-19 team, who are playing a series against their Sri Lankan counterparts from next week as part of their World Cup preparations, and other age-level team will stay out of their strike.

Shakib, who was flanked by dozens of players including national stalwarts Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad among others, said the strike will be effective from Monday, which also left national team’s preparation for India tour in uncertainty.

Bangladesh are scheduled to start their preparation for India tour on October 25.

Tigers will play three Twenty20 internationals and two Tests in India, with the series starting with first Twenty20 international on November 3 in Delhi.

The immediate impact of their action will be on the National Cricket League (NCL), currently in progress, the training camp for next month’s tour to India, and possibly the tour itself.

Veteran all-rounder Naeem Islam commenced the strike stating their grievances.

“We have some demands to BCB which we will share with the world today. We don’t get the respect that we deserve. At the same time, the association we have - Cricket Welfare Association of Bangladesh (CWAB)- is not working in our favour. So as our first demand, we are asking CWAB President and Secretary to resign immediately. After their resignation, we, the cricketers, will select who will take over the CWAB,” said Naeem.

Mahmudullah Riyad came up with the second demand stressing on payments in Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League.

“You know the current situation of the Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League. We have been expressing our discontent for a long time. We get a very low amount as our remuneration from the league. We used to sign the contracts with the club on our own previously. Now, our second demand is to go back to the previous model of the Dhaka league,” told Riyad.

Mushfiqur Rahim, the former national captain announced the third demand asking for a reinstatement of previous model of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) after the upcoming special edition.

“Our third demand is about Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) which has been given a facelift this year. We respect the model that BCB has chosen. But we want the previous model of BPL back from next year. At the same time, we are asking to make the remuneration of the local players balanced with the foreign cricketers. If you look at other foreign franchisee leagues, cricketers can decide their own grade in the draft. We are also seeking this feature in BPL,” told Mushfiqur.

Bangladesh Test and T20Is captain Shakib announced the fourth demand stating the low match fee in first-class cricket.

“Match fee for the First-class cricket should be increased to one lakh (BDT), which is now thirty five thousand taka only, this is our fourth demand. At the same time, the salary of first-class cricketers also should be increased by fifty per cent. A first-class cricketer gets only fifteen hundred taka as the daily allowance. I don’t think this is enough for a cricketer in order to get a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, we are demanding to increase the travel allowance. We will be happy if BCB ensures air tickets for travelling for the First-class cricketers around the country,” told Shakib.

Enamul Haque Jnr, the hero of Bangladesh’s first Test win, came up with the number six demand which asked for increasing the number of players under national contract.

“BCB should increase the number of the cricketers in the national contract. If you look at the world cricket arena, there are more players in the central contract. At the same time, the salary of the national cricketers should be increased, which has been stuck at the same level for three years,” told Enamul.

Tamim Iqbal, the national opener, came up with the seventh demand asking for increasing the salary of people related to cricket.

“We have to respect the local coaches, physios, trainers and groundsman. They get very little amount of salary at the end of the month,” told Tamim.

The eighth demand was about increasing the amount of domestic cricket events. Anamul Haque Bijoy voiced the demand.

“We play only one 50-over event and one 20-over event. We are now demanding more domestic event,” told Bijoy.

The ninth demand was put up by Nurul Hasan Sohan who proposed a fixed sporting calendar.

“There should be a fixed calendar of our domestic cricket so that we can take preparation for the whole year,” said Sohan.

The ninth demand which was for clearing the due payments of players, was aired by Junaed Siddique.

“We must the get our money by a set time. Ten DPL teams in the previous season have paid all the players’ salary but Brothers is yet to clear 40 percent of their dues. We have gone to the board several times and as national cricketers, we don’t think we deserve this kind of treatment. It looks odd and we hope that we get paid at the right time,” told Siddique.

Farhad Reza came up with the eleventh point where he stated that players should be allowed to play in more than two franchise-based leagues.

“We have seen there is a rule in place that suggests a player cannot take part in more than two franchise based league. But if there is no national duty, players should be allowed to play in available franchise-based tournament as we can learn a lot from there,” said Farhad.

Later Shakib ended the demand session saying that their fight is for the improvement of cricket.

“We are talking about domestic cricket. We all know about our first division, second division cricket and third division cricket standard and sometime it has also been reported in media. We know about the low standard of cricket in these levels,” said Shakib.

“Even before the start of the match sometimes it is decided who will win and who will lose. This is very sad and we need to fix it. There are a lot of things involved in a cricketer’s career in this level because he might get out in a good ball but if he is dismissed for bad decision on numerous occasions then his career will be over. So we must have a proper pipeline,” he said.

“We could not include our women’s cricketers because this decision was taken suddenly and if they have any demands they can put it on board with us. I am sure they must have some demands and if they join us we can take the issues to the cleaners,” he said

“We did not include Under- 19 Cricket Team with us as they are preparing for the World Cup. Everybody else is here and we know everybody is with us in their spirit. We are not going to get involved in cricket unless our demands are fulfilled. We are not coming back to cricket if things remain the same,” he said.

”Apart from age level cricketers namely Under-19, 17 and 15, everybody of national team and domestic cricket is involved with our strike and its starts from Monday. This is applicable from domestic cricket, first-class cricket to international cricket,’’ he said.

“When the demand is going to be met, surely it will be done through discussion. After the demands are met, we will resume everything. Everyone here are playing cricket for a long time. We just want to leave a good environment for the upcoming generation of cricketers,” he added.

BCB Chief Executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said afterwards that they are trying to sort out everything as soon as possible.

“We just came to know about it we will discuss it in the board and try to resolve it as soon as possible,” BCB CEO Nizamudin Chowdhury said.

“I don’t think it is a revolt. They are yet to tell us anything formally, but we are looking into the matter,” he concluded.