The recent on and off the field incidents have thrust the Bangladesh Cricket Board into an image crisis and have put the BCB high-ups in a vulnerable position, believed prominent members of the country’s cricket fraternity.
The Anti-Corruption Unit of Bangladesh on Thursday imposed a travel ban on BCB director Mahbubul Anam after accusing him of amassing illegal wealth, which was the fresh addition of a long list of unfortunate incidents for the country’s cricket governing body in the last few months.
Earlier in September, BCB director Lokman Hossain Bhuiyan was busted in a countrywide anti-gambling drive when the law enforcement agencies captured him for running an illegal casino in Mohammedan Sporting Club premises, an organisation which he was in-charge of.
The situation turned even sourer for the BCB on October 21 when the country’s first-class players, led by the then Bangladesh Test and Twenty20 skipper Sakib al Hasan, began a strike and declared their withdrawal from all cricketing activities before their demands were met.
The BCB, stunned by the unforeseen strike, promised to heed to the players’ demands and the stalemate ended inside three days, but an even bigger setback was soon to hit Bangladesh cricket.
Sakib, the man who was in prime position to take Bangladesh cricket forward both on and off the field in the coming years, was handed a two-year ban (one year suspended ban) from cricket by the International Cricket Council on October 29 for failure to report multiple match-fixing approaches in 2018.
Country’s oldest first-class competition National Cricket League then witnessed Dhaka division pacer Shahadat Hossain physically assaulting a team-mate during the second day of their final round match against Khulna division in Khulna on November 17.
The BCB handed Shahadat a five-year ban for the incident on November 19 and the pacer also retaliated by appealing against the ban on Wednesday.
Raisuddin Ahmed, a former general secretary of the BCB and a lifetime member of the MCC, felt that the BCB was going through an ‘identity crisis’ and warned that if Bangladesh continued to perform poorly in Tests, it could bring an end to the board’s financial stability.
‘Undoubtedly the BCB is facing an image crisis nowadays. As the on-field performances of the players are below-par and some of its officials have involved in questionable activities, I think they are having an identity crisis at the moment,’ Rais told New Age on Friday.
‘All the financial stability BCB got was because we have acquired the Test status. If we become relegated from the ICC Test Championship then it would be a great loss for our cricket,’ he added.
Former BCB director Mubasshar Hussain called out the current board officials for allowing corruption to run amok in the domestic circuit.
‘The BCB, itself is organising fixed matches. They are all talking about Sakib’s issue but no one is talking about what is going on in our domestic cricket. Every club is involved in match-fixing,’ said Mubasshar.
‘The BCB is only looking after some people’s interest, not the whole aspect. There are a lot of members in the cricket board who are neither organisers nor players. They are just misusing a rich organisation.’
His comments came days after a video of third division cricket league went viral showing the players to take on umpires for their biased decision, which resurfaced the allegation of umpiring manipulation at root level cricket.
BCB still could have saved their face, as it did on many occasion, had the national team performed well in their India tour, but that wasn’t to be the case.
An unexpected win in the first Twenty20 international gave Bangladesh a false sense of hope of turning their recent turmoil into success before they lost the next two matches to lose the series.
A bigger humiliation in the Tests was just round the corner.
Bangladesh failed to show any fight in the two-Test series, losing both the matches by an innings margin and that too inside the third day, managing to score over 200 only once in their four innings with none of the players doing anything notable.
The second Test of the series was both nations’ inaugural day-night Test and among the festivities held around the historic event, the Tigers displayed a miserable show and began their pink-ball cricket journey in the worst way possible.
The BCB’s first priority should be to improve the state of the country’s Test cricket, felt former national skipper and chief selector Faruque Ahmed, while claiming that the board should not be held responsible for an individual’s wrongdoings.
‘I don’t think the off-field issues have anything to do with the BCB. Some individual people can face those problems no doubt. I think our cricket board should look over our on-field performances. I think they all should concentrate on our cricket after the recent Test debacle,’ Faruque said.
All these incidents, one after another, have placed the organisation in an unfavourable position in the eyes of the countrymen, but the BCB was still hopeful of coming out of their current multifaceted predicament very soon.
‘Many federations a lot of the times faced such kind of issues. It is true that there are several issues which have come out in recent days in the cricket board. I will not term these as problems but these are issues. I hope that the BCB can overcome from these issues very soon,’ said BCB director Ahmed Sazzadul Alam.