DHAKA: Bangladesh’s cricketers have decided not to participate in any cricket activity for the foreseeable future until their demands for the improvement of cricket in the country are met. The immediate impact of their action will be on the National Cricket League, currently in progress, the training camp for next month’s tour of India, and possibly the tour itself.
The players released a list of 11 demands, including a reversal of the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s decision last month to abandon the Bangladesh Premier League’s franchise-based model. Those present at the press conference, at the National Cricket Academy in Dhaka, included Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah.
“Everything is included,” said Shakib. “Apart from the Under-19s and the other age-group teams, all first-class and national teams are included. From today. From the National Cricket League to first-class, national team preparations, internationals…everything is included.”
The BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury said they would react only once the demands are presented to them formally and they know the details.
Asked what response they anticipated from the board, Shakib said solutions would be found when the demands were met or discussed. “When the demands are met, normal service will resume. All of us want cricket to improve. Some of us will play for another ten years, some for four-five years, but we want to create a good environment for the players who will come after us, so Bangladesh cricket can move forward.”
Shakib clarified that women cricketers were not included in today’s developments but added that they were welcome to join. “We haven’t been able to include the women cricketers here, because it was done in a rush. If they have any demands, they are most welcome to join us. I am sure they have grievances too. If they come to us and join us, we will be able to put forward their demands too.”
The state of cricket in the country had led to simmering discontent among the players. The trigger seems to be the decision on the BPL, which reduced the average professional cricketer’s earning to an all-time low. The players’ woes were furthered after the BCB didn’t raise the match fees in the first-class competition that began earlier this month. These, in addition to the salary cap applied to the Dhaka Premier League, although it used to be an open market for club-to-club transfer for players, for the last several years.