The cricketers who have taken part in the strike are irreplaceable players for Bangladesh. The problems they have pinpointed in Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) suggests the board has failed to work responsibly. This failure had let to the strike. This is a serious crisis. The players and board officials should work together to resolve this for the sake of the Bangladesh's cricket.
Bangladesh is scheduled to take part in some important tournaments in the near future, including the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) and a full series against India. Every ODI, every Test match is important for us. Even every T20 match plays an important role in deciding the ranking. So the board should take steps immediately to ensure that this strike does not affect the team’s international or domestic schedules. The first class league of this season started just a few days ago. Now the board should find a way to resolve the crisis without hampering the country’s cricket.
The Cricketers Welfare Association of Bangladesh (CWAB) is supposed to negotiate cricketers’ demands with the board. But those in CWAB for the last 10-12 years are also on the board. It is because of CWAB's failure that the players could not officially approach the board. The players who have now gathered together are not a part of any organisation. These problem have been highlighted by some of the current players and some of the former ones.
I do not live in the country but whenever I come across news reports about a bowler giving away 90 runs in an over, sub-standard umpiring, results being fixed before the match, or players being selected through Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), I realise we are on shaky ground. We have failed in these sectors because the team supposed to implement the plans has failed to do so properly. Some of the 11-point demands are justified, some could be 70 per cent justified, some 50 per cent. Before simply trying to save its skin, the board should first investigate how far these demands are justified.
I think it is to BCB's discredit that the players had to be vocal about these demands. A player’s duty is to play on the field, not think about how much money the curators would get, which local coach should be appointed, who would be the umpires for the domestic matches and so on. But when the players have raised these issues, this indicates that there are questions as to how far these tasks are being carried out.
Challenging times are ahead for Bangladesh and every Test match is important for the team in the ICC World Test Championship. The T20s are also important. More importantly, Bangladesh is going to play the next series in India who are very strong at home. We were supposed to begin our preparation in full swing for such an important series as we don’t get enough chances to play in India. Now we were to go for a full series. And Sourav Ganguly’s appointment as BCCI president has been another ray of hope. Overall a good feeling was pervading the country’s cricket arena. But now this strike has come as a big setback before such an important series.
The cricketers’ mental state is very important as they compete in the field. They are the ones who play, not the board officials. Players are lauded when they win and castigated when the lose. Board officials do not bear that burden. I think it is better to resolve the crisis immediately before the all-important series against India.
* Aminul Islam is a former captain of Bangladesh men’s national cricket team. The opinion, originally published in the Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza