“It’s not just you guys who enjoy picnics and other gatherings; we cricketers can do it too,” one of the players, who preferred to remain unnamed, told The Daily Star at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. It was indeed an unusual sight at Bangladesh’s home of cricket — where it is a common sight to see up to 10 national or domestic cricketers gather on an ordinary day — as around 50-60 cricketers gathered for a closed-door meeting.
That of course piqued the journalists’ interest and everyone was eager to know the agenda of the meeting that lasted for more than an hour. However, none of the players — from Shakib Al Hasan, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal to the domestic cricketers — were willing to reveal the purpose.
It was eventually learnt that, in the absence of any real functionality from the Cricketers Welfare Association of Bangladesh (CWAB), the purpose of the gathering was to discuss the problems that the country’s cricketers were facing on various levels.
The three top officials of CWAB — Naimur Rahman (president), Khaled Mahmud ( vice-president) and Debabrata Paul (general secretary) — are all engaged with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB); Naimur and Mahmud are board directors while Debabrata is also involved in various assignments of the BCB.
Therefore, a body whose purpose is to look after the interests of the cricketers of Bangladesh — and one of its functions is dealing with the BCB on the players’ behalf such as about payments, etc. — has actually contributed to the distance between board and player as CWAB’s top brass’s dual role with the BCB leaves players reticent when it comes to fully trusting the body.
Moreover, the CWAB has also not arranged gatherings among the cricketers – a common function of such bodies.
In light of all this, yesterday’s meeting was the first step in the players airing their problems among themselves. It was also learned that the players are planning to organise a reunion every year from now on.
As far as the picnic is concerned, Shakib is indeed planning a reunion and will organise a Mezban for all the cricketers after the conclusion of the ongoing Dhaka Premier League. But the meeting was much more meaningful than that.
Source: The Daily Star.