• Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019
  • Last Update : 01:19 am

Top cricketers go on strike; present 11-points demand

  • Published at 09:49 pm October 21st, 2019

The cricketers, in most part of their demands, emphasized on the development of the domestic circuit, better training facilities for all cricketers and for a better and secured payment structure

Top Bangladesh cricketers have announced a strike for an indefinite period until their 11-points demand have been accepted by the Bangladesh Cricket Board [BCB]. Around 50 of top cricketers of the country took to the BCB Cricket Academy field Monday afternoon to press their demands “for the betterment of Bangladesh cricket.”

The cricketers, in most part of their demands, emphasized on the development of the domestic circuit, better training facilities for all cricketers and for a better and secured payment structure. Until the demands are met, the cricketers have announced not to take the field, putting an abrupt halt to the ongoing National Cricket League [First-class cricket tournament] and put Bangladesh national team’s tour of India in November under a cloud of uncertainty. The third round of the NCL is scheduled to begin on Wednesday.  

The eleven demands include the resignation of current CWAB [Cricketers’ Welfare Association of Bangladesh] officials, reinstatement of traditional players’ transfer regulations in Dhaka Premier League [DPL], proper fee valuation of cricketers in Bangladesh Premier League T20 [BPL T20], better facilities and fee structure in the National Cricket League, increasing the numbers of BCB central contracted cricketers and their salaries, encouraging involvement and a better salary structure of local coaches and other team staff-members including groundsmen. Hold at least another one-day and T20 league besides DPL and BPL T20, fix a domestic calendar, clear players’ due payment in DPL, allowing cricketers to play more than two away franchise leagues in a year apart from fulfilling their national responsibilities, improving playing conditions with better umpiring and transparency in DPL, 1st, 2nd and 3rd division cricket leagues.      

Star cricketers Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah were present among the leading cricketers of the country. The occasion is only the second in Bangladesh’s cricket history when the cricketers had to take such a hard-lined initiative. During the 1998-99 season, the cricketers in Bangladesh had initiated such a movement demanding regular editions of the Dhaka Premier League.

This time around, the demands of the cricketers however, have turned into a long list and are understood to be a result of deep-rooted frustration and discontentment. It has been learned that the cricketers had been planning on the movement for the past few weeks. The biggest challenge for the group was to find a common page and ensure that most cricketers are available during the movement.

The cricketers first gathered near the indoor facilities in Mirpur Monday as the words of a probable strike by them made rounds within the cricketing fraternity. As the cricketers waited for full attendance, some of them opted to switch off their phones as personnel from the BCB tried to contact them. Coincidently, influential BCB directors had already gathered for a scheduled meeting at BCB president Nazmul Hasan’s corporate office in Dhanmondi.

It is understood that having failed to reach the cricketers on phone, one of the BCB directors had made a BCB employee run to the indoor facilities of the stadium in an effort to establish communication and make an effort to stop the movement. But that effort proved futile as none of the cricketers paid any heed and by showing utmost unity, marched together to the training ground where they read out their points one by one through 11 different players. 

The strategy of announcing through 11 players is not only a huge symbolic gesture of utmost unity but also a very pragmatic approach as it would now be impossible to single out a “leader” and put him under stress. The call of the strike was, however, made by Shakib al Hasan, the poster boy and the biggest name in Bangladesh cricket, when he took the microphones for the second time.    

“We could not include our women’s team in our demands. They are mostly welcomed with their demands as I know there will be some of course. We also left out the U19 team and other age-level teams [from this movement]. Apart from that, all raised the same demands. Until these demands are met, we don’t want to participate in any kind of cricketing activities,” Shakib said as he addressed the eager reporters who had gathered under the sun for the impromptu briefing session. 

“First-class players and national team players all are included in the movement which starts from today [Monday]. I think the demands will only be fulfilled after the discussions. When the demands are fulfilled, we will resume our general activities. We all want to see the development of our cricket. We want to make it a better place for upcoming players so that cricket can go further,” the ace Bangladesh all-rounder added.

The BCB is yet to declare their stance on the issue. BCB’s chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury said that they had learned of the players’ demands through media and will decide on their stance once written demands have been presented to them.  

The abridged version of the 11-points demand by the cricketers are as follows.

1.     The resignation of current CWAB [Cricketers’ Welfare Association of Bangladesh] officials

2.     Reinstatement of traditional players’ transfer regulations in Dhaka Premier League [DPL]

3.     Proper fees valuation of cricketers in Bangladesh Premier League T20 [BPL T20]

4.     Better facilities and fees structure in National Cricket League

5.     Increase the numbers of cricketers under BCB’s central contract and their salaries

6.     Encourage the involvement and better salary structures of local coaches and other team staff-members including groundsmen

7.     Hold at least another one-day and T20 domestic leagues apart from DPL and BPL T20

8.     The setup of a fixed domestic calendar

9.    Clear players’ due payment in DPL from season 2018-19

10.  Allow cricketers to play more than two away franchise leagues in a year

11.   Improve playing conditions with better umpiring and transparency in DPL, 1st, 2nd and 3rd division cricket leagues