Cricket comes to standstill as players call for boycott

Bangladesh national cricket team captain Sakib al Hasan (C) speaks with reporters next to team-mate Mushfiqur Rahim (R) in front of the National cricket Academy Groud at Mirpur on Monday. — New Age photo

Bangladesh national team cricketers and first-class players on Monday came together to begin an unprecedented movement in Bangladesh cricket when they declared to boycott all cricket related activities unless their 11 demands are met.

This sudden movement took the country’s cricket fraternity by surprise, as the players took up the onus of pointing out the problems in the country’s current cricketing system claiming that the players association CWAB had failed to be their voice.

National team stalwarts Sakib al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim and domestic veterans Naeem Islam, Enamul Haque junior, Junaed Siddique, Farhad Reza, Anamul Haque and Nurul Hasan voiced the demands in the presence of other first-class cricketers, showcasing the unity among players in the movement.

Sakib officially announced their boycott after the players pointed out the demands one by one and also talked about the troubled current state of the country’s domestic competitions, hoping that their proposals will bring in the required change.

‘We all know the sorry state of our 1st, 2nd, 3rd division cricket. A lot of the times we know which team will win and which team will lose before the match starts. It’s very unfortunate and needs to be rectified.

‘Even a good player could get dismissed of a good delivery. But if a player gets out in multiple matches because of biased decisions and then gets dismissed off a good delivery in the following match, his career could end right there. To develop new players, we need to improve the pipeline,’ he said.

Al though the men’s team cricketers were seen in solidarity in the announcement, there was no representative from the women’s team. National one-day international captain Mashrafee bin Murtaza was conspicuously absent.

Sakib acknowledged the women’s team are not a part of their movement yet as they were not informed of the boycott beforehand but said that they will welcome the women if they wanted to join the movement.

‘We could not include our women’s team in our demands as it was a very sudden decision. They are most welcome to come forward with their demands. If they announce solidarity with us then next time we will also put forward their demands,’ Sakib said.

This boycott, however, doesn’t include different age-level teams, clarified Sakib.

‘We left out Under-19 team because they are currently taking their World Cup preparation and other age-level teams.’

The demands of the players as follows:

CWAB officials must resign   – Naeem Islam

Today we have gathered before you all to put forward the problems and demands of players. First of all we want to talk about respect, as we cricketers don’t think that we get our deserved respect. And we have not seen our players association, CWAB, take the players’ side and speak and take actions for the players. So our first demand is the immediate resignation of the CWAB secretary, president and other members. CWAB is a players’ association, so we players will choose the next president, secretary of the association by an election.

Revert to old DPL format – Mahmudullah

Secondly you all know about the situation of DPL [Dhaka Premier League] for the last few years. All the players have expressed their dissatisfaction about how the tournament is being held. The players’ salaries are fixed and a lot of limitations are being imposed on the players. We want the DPL to be held like the past when the players used to negotiate their salary directly with the club officials. Players previously had the power to choose their team and their salary. So our second demand is that we want the DPL to be held like it was held earlier.

Revert to old BPL next season – Mushfiqur Rahim

Our third demand is about BPL. We all know that this year’s BPL is going to be held differently and we respect that fact. But our main demand is that we want the return of the previous format in BPL next year. The most important point is that we want to see our local players getting fair salary in comparison to the foreign players, something that we have not seen before. We see the foreign players getting huge salaries in BPL while the local players in comparison don’t get paid much. We want to make sure that our local players get fair salaries. If you see in many other franchise leagues, the players get to choose the grade they want to be in the player’s draft. I think it should happen here also. If the franchises don’t want to pick him, it’s their call but I think we should be given the respect to choose our own grades.

Increase match-fees in NCL – Sakib al Hasan

Our fourth point is the first-class players’ match fee. We all think that it should be Tk one lakh. So we are expressing that demand. The salaries of first-class cricketers are very low. It needs to be increased by 50 per cent at least. The practice facilities for the players need to be increased. Gym, indoor and field and all other facilities need to be provided. Coach, physio, trainer have to be appointed for 12 months. They will put the first-class players in a system and give them proper directions, from where the first class cricketers could work on. We understand that these facilities can’t be provided overnight, but we want it for the next season. We want it in every division. We don’t want every training session to be held in Dhaka. Barishal should train in their home venue, so should Sylhet, Khulna and the other divisions. Only then cricket will be spread even more.

Increase travel, daily allowance – Sakib al Hasan

There are many other small issues that we need to solve if we want to improve in Test and improve our cricketing culture. First of all, the balls are a big issue. We don’t get good quality balls in the first-class matches and we struggle with that. In international matches, when we play with a different ball, the players again have to adjust. The daily allowance of Tk 1500 is not enough for a player to take the food required to maintain the fitness level demanded by the BCB. We need to take good food and live in a hotel and those things are naturally expensive. Considering these things, we hope that they select a suitable amount. Then we only get Tk 2500 for travel and with that amount the players can only travel by bus. The players need to be ensured the plane fare. The players don’t need an allowance for this. They just want the plane ticket to be ensured. We must have a gym and a swimming pool in our hotels. After playing a four-day match, players need a gym and swimming pool for recovery which is not available in two stars, one star hotel. We also need air-conditioned buses or at least more comfortable buses to travel from hotel to field.

Include 30 players in BCB contract – Enamul Haque Jnr

The number of BCB contractual players’ needs to be increased. In comparison with other cricket boards, I think that the number of contractual players of BCB is very less. I think that it should be increased to 30 and there should be a raise in salary. The players’ salary has not increased in three years. So I think the number of contractual players and the salary needs to be increased.

Increased pay for groundsmen, coaches – Tamim Iqbal

Our movement is not only about cricketers. We all know the salary of our groundsmen. They work hard throughout the day. They get Tk five to six thousand at the end of the month. We don’t promote our local coaches. Our 20 local coaches get the same amount of money one foreign coach would get. In a recent tour a local coach had done well with a team but was taken off in the next tour. We don’t want to mention any names. We, players and journalists complain about the umpiring. But if someone wants to take it as a profession he needs to be provided some financial security. We all know that they are paid less. Same goes for physios, trainers. I think this is the right time we promote and give priority to Bangladeshis over anybody else.

Organise more domestic tournaments – Anamul Haque

We play two four-day tournaments, BCL and NCL. But we play just one domestic ODI tournament DPL. We want another such ODI tournament. We feel that we need another Twenty20 tournament before BPL, to help us play better in BPL. Even five years ago, we used to play a 50-over match after every four-day match in NCL. But it has stopped. We want to see an ODI version of NCL so that we can get more ODIs to play.

Fix domestic calendar – Nurul Hasan

We want a fixed calendar for domestic cricket. It would help us prepare better for every tournament.

Complete the payment – Junaed Siddique

We want to receive our remaining payment of BPL and DPL on time. Last year’s 10 DPL teams have completed the payments of their players. But from Brothers Union, we are still due 40 per cent of our payments. We have gone to the cricket board and to the CWAB many times. As a national player, I don’t deserve his, nobody deserves this. I hope that the teams will pay the money in due time every year.

Revoke two-tournament-per player rule – Farhad Reza

We were forbidden to play more than two franchise-based tournaments. After national duty, if we are free we should be allowed to play elsewhere and learn a lot of things.

Source: New Age.

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