Members of Bangladesh national cricket team and senior players on Monday went on an unprecedented strike to press home their 11-point demand, putting next month's tour of India in jeopardy.
‘Unless our demands were met we will not get involved in any cricketing activities. It includes everything — the first-class cricket, national team preparation, international cricket,’ said national Test and Twenty20 captain Sakib Al Hasan.
Sakib said that only National Under-19 team, who would play a series against their Sri Lankan counterparts from next week as part of their World Cup preparations, and other age-level teams are exempted from the strike.
Flanked by dozens of players, including stalwarts such as Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, among others, Sakib announced in front of the National Cricket Academy that the strike would be effective from Monday.
It left uncertain the third round of the ongoing National Cricket League, scheduled to start on October 24, and the preparation camp for India tour.
Bangladesh are scheduled to start their preparations for India tour on October 25.
The Tigers will play three Twenty20 internationals and two Tests in India, with the series starting with first Twenty20 international on November 3 in Delhi.
The demands include respect from the Bangladesh Cricket Board members, restoration of the previous pay structure in Dhaka Premier League, a promise for returning to franchise-based Bangladesh Premier League from the next season, at least Tk 1 lakh match fees for the National Cricket League, at least 30 players in national payroll and 50 per cent rise in the salary of first-class players.
Currently, the BCB, which has 18 nationally contracted players 79 first-class contracted players, pays Tk 35,000 as fees to each player for a match in the National Cricket League.
The BCB announced to drop the franchises from this year’s BPL and retain the ownership of all teams by itself, raising a fear among the players that they their payment could get reduced under the new format.
‘We know the BPL will be held according to new rules, as such our demand will be to restore the original format next year. We also demand that the wage of local players would be compatible with foreign players, which we have never seen,’ said wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim.
Players also demanded the resignation of the office bearers of Cricketers Welfare Association of Bangladesh, respect for local groundsmen and coaches.
‘You see our groundsmen. They work round the clock, but at the end of month get only Taka 5,000 to 6,000. We don’t want to promote our own coaches. The money that our coaches get it is 20 times less than that of a foreign coach,’ said opening batsman Tamim Iqbal.
Sakib said that by calling the strike they want to ensure a good cricketing atmosphere for the next generation of players.
‘Once our demands will be met we will go back to our normal activities, because we all want the development of cricket... those who will come in future we want a good environment for them so that Bangladesh cricket can move forward,’ he said.
The BCB said they will discuss the matter before making a decision.
‘The players are very important for us. From time to time, they demand many things and we always try to accommodate their demands,’ said BCB chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury.
‘As we have heard about this matter today, we will definitely discuss it in the board to make a decision,’ he added.
National players Mahumdullah, Naeem Islam, Anamul Haque, Enamul Haque Junior, Junaed Siddique spoke at the press conference, among others.
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