The event making it to its first anniversary, a wide discussion is afloat of what the cricketers of the country have achieved from the protest
October 21, 2019 arrived as the most tumultuous day in the history of Bangladesh cricket. On that fateful day, the whole fraternity was rocked with a planned and organized protest by the top professional cricketers of the country that shook the spectators and journalists alike. Led by the leading cricketers of the Bangladesh national cricket team, around 60 cricketers on the day appeared in BCB Academy Field and had called for a strike until their 11-point demands are acknowledged by the Bangladesh Cricket Board [BCB]. The cricketers were adamant to not take the field until the demands, which were finally a list of 13, were met.
Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hasan had reacted furiously to the event and had called the movement by the cricketers as a ‘conspiracy to demolish cricket in the country’. Following a three-day of tussle between the board and the cricketers, the two major stake holders of the country met for a meeting late at night at the BCB board room and had reached common ground.
The event making it to its first anniversary, a wide discussion is afloat of what the cricketers of the country have achieved from the protest. Looking into the list of demands achieved, majority are work in progress while there have been at least four of the demands that had almost zero progress.
The first demand by the cricketers was resignation of Cricketers Welfare Association of Bangladesh [CWAB] president and its general secretary. There has been zero development to the demand given the cricketers never got back to CWAB on the issue following a meeting immediately after the strike.
The sixth demand of the protest was increase in number of players under BCB central contract. The demand was not met rather the number of contracted player under the latest central contract has been decreased by one. The previous contract had 17 cricketers under BCB payroll but in the latest, where the cricketers have been divided into red and white-ball category, involves only 16 cricketers.
BCB chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury explaining the decrease in number of cricketers under the contract said to a Bangla online portal, “Central contract is a big thing for the cricketers. We believe there should be a good competition and only those who deserve should be named under the contract. The quality of the players will not improve if we start including them just for the sake of meeting the numbers. There should be a balance and we will try to maintain that.”
One-day competition under the National Cricket League and a T20 competition for only locals ahead of Bangladesh Premier League T20 was demand number eight by the cricketers and the demand has been yet unattended. As per Nizamuddin, domestic competitions should be based of necessity. “We had once held a second T20 tournament and this time it will be corporate league [in November]. It is not possible to have another domestic one-day tournament at the moment. National League once had one-day competition under it but we have to understand the timely demand. Which format is more important, how much value another one-day competition add, you have to understand that first,” Nizamuddin explained.
The 12th demand by the cricketers- the board should share its revenue with the both men and women cricketers- were ruled out by BCB president Nazmul a few days after the protest and it still remains the same. As per the board the model of revenue sharing is unrealistic in Bangladesh’s perspective.
Although not much have been achieved after one year since the protest by the Bangladesh cricketers, which had made headlines across the globe, a general feeling is that whatever that has been achieved is more than enough. The feeling is driven from the fact that the cricketers since the movement have lacked in leadership, there was hardly anyone to follow-up with the progress of the demands including CWAB, an organisation that is meant to look into interest of the professional cricketers of the country.
There have been incidents amongst the cricketers particularly since the start of Covid-19 pandemic where the leaders took a step back, upset that a particular group had put distrust in them.