Arduzzaman Munshi is not only the captain of Bangladesh kabaddi team but also one of the best players of the country.
He is the only Bangladeshi to have played in the first and fourth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League in India but the country’s best raider was not even nominated by the Bangladesh Kabaddi Federation for the fifth edition of the competition, which begins later this month.
In a late response to the tournament committee, the federation sent a list of only four players from Bangladesh. Among the quartet, three players – Mohammad Zakir Hossain, Ziaur Rahman and Sulieman Kabir – were mentioned in the auction and got selected by three different teams.
The four-man list also excluded the names of some prominent kabaddi players like left-cover Tuhin Tarafder and right-cover Mohammad Sabuj Mia.
Zakir is the only player among the trio who has experience of playing in the Pro Kabaddi League before.
Zakir, who made his debut for Mumbai in the last edition but failed to feature in any game, will be playing for Patna Pirates in the upcoming season, starting on July 28.
The 32-year old Zakir, who is the vice captain of Bangladesh, has as much experience at the senior level as Arduzzaman.
“I couldn’t play in the best seven last season but this time I’m hopeful. I’m more prepared. I was an all-rounder before but from now on, I will play as a raider. This time, there will be more teams, more matches and I hope I get some playing time,” said Border Guard Bangladesh member Zakir, who is expected to leave for India by Saturday.
This will be the very first experience in the Pro Kabaddi League for both Ziaur of Bangladesh Navy and Sulieman of Bangladesh Air Force but the former has already undergone a training camp with his new team Puneri Paltan from June 16 to July 7.
He is expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday.
“They chose me during the World Cup in India last year,” said 22-year old Ziaur, who plays as left-cover for the national team.
He continued, “I’m the only player among three Bangladeshis who enjoyed a camp with the team before the tournament. They didn’t want me to leave the camp but I had to return due to visa issue. If I get the chance to play I want to give my best.”
The nomination of Sulieman by the federation raised a few eyebrows.
The 26-year old Sulieman will be playing for Team Uttar Pradesh, one of four new teams this season.
“He (Sulieman) scored only 17 points in the World Cup while my score was 52. I was the third best player in the World Cup out of all the participants around the world. Sabuj Mia was the third best defender there but none of us got selected by the federation,” a disheartened Arduzzaman told Dhaka Tribune on Sunday.
He added, “The federation said they want to give new players the opportunity. They sent names of four players, among whom Masud Karim was not selected by any team. He (Masud) was not in the national team. At least 100 people from India called me and asked why my name was not there. Considering performance, I should be there. I have been deprived.”
Arduzzaman and Ziaur played the first season of the Pro Kabaddi League. Ziaur retired from the game after the 2014 Asian Games and is now a BGB coach. Arduzzaman, Zakir and Tuhin all played for Mumbai in the fourth season last year.
Arduzzaman left Bangladesh Police in February, 2015, to join Bangladesh Navy.
The new ad-hoc committee of the kabaddi federation was formed in December last year, which was dominated by members of Bangladesh Police.
A national player, who did not want to be named, told Dhaka Tribune that some members of the new committee are not happy with Arduzzaman for leaving Bangladesh Police.
Current federation joint secretary Gazi Mohammad Mozammel Hoque, who also happens to be the AIG of Bangladesh Police, explained the reasoning behind the decision to pick four players excluding Arduzzaman.
“We wanted to give the new and young players the chance. He (Arduzzaman) played there two times before but what has he done? He already gained experience there,” said Mozammel.
He added, “Our expectation is that, they (Ziaur, Zakir and Sulieman) will train and practise along with the best players there. The experience they will get there will be shared with the other players in Bangladesh.”