Bangladesh cricketers go on strike, India tour under threat

The strike puts a question mark on the upcoming tour of India, but the BCB has admitted that it will look into the matter.

The Bangladesh players have put forward a 11-point demand.   -  AFP Photo

In an unprecedented move, top cricketers of Bangladesh went on a strike on Monday, making it clear that they won’t feature in any cricketing affairs unless their demands are addressed by the Bangladesh Cricket Board.

A group of 60 cricketers, including Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmadullah gathered at the Bangladesh Cricket Academy at Mirpur in Dhaka with a 11-point demand. Their strike does put a question mark on the upcoming tour of India, however, the BCB has admitted that it will look into the matter — raising hopes about the series.

“We know all the cricketers are with us and we won’t be part of any cricketing activities until the issues are addressed,” Shakib said.

This also puts the third round of National Cricket League — which is slated to begin on October 24 — in a jeopardy.

Read: 'Lack of facilities, low pay hurting Bangladesh cricketers'

Trouble has been brewing among the cricketers ever since the salary cap was lowered in the seventh edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).

“Even we want the betterment of cricket. We know that everything can be sorted over discussions and once the issues are addressed, we will return to work,” Shakib said.

BCB CEO, Nizamuddin Chowdhury, said: “We have heard about such a thing in the media. We haven’t heard anything formally from the players yet. Players are very important for us and I will definitely communicate all their demands to the Board. Then, the Board will decide.”

“The players often have demands and we try to address them as and when they come. This matter has come to our notice and we will definitely look into the matter,” Chowdhury said.

Bangladesh is slated to play three T20 matches and a two-match Test series in India in November with the first T20I to be played on November 3 in New Delhi. While the BCB is hopeful that the series will go on, top officials in the BCCI told Sportstar that they would take a note of the situation before taking a call. “There is still some time left for the series. We don’t want to get into their internal matter. We are hopeful that the series will go on as per schedule. We will monitor the situation,” the senior BCCI official said.

BCCI’s president-elect and former India captain Sourav Ganguly, too, is hopeful that the BCB will sort out the matter before the scheduled India tour.

“That is their internal matter, they will sort out. They will come…” Ganguly told reporters in Kolkata. The former India captain will formally take charge as BCCI chief on Wednesday.

Efforts of reaching out to BCB chief Nazmul Hasan Papon failed.

11-point demand made by striking Bangladesh players:

1. The office-bearers of Cricketers Welfare of Bangladesh -- a cricket players’ association -- should step down and the current cricketers should be allowed to decide their representatives

2. The standard of Dhaka Premier League should improve. The previous pay structure should be restored

3. A promise for returning to franchise-based Bangladesh Premier League next season to maintain parity in payment

4. At least Taka one lakh match fees (Bangladesh currency) for the National Cricket League

5. At least 30 players in National payroll

6. There should be a 50 per cent rise in the salary of first-class players

7. Introduction of another one-day tournament at the domestic level

8. There has to be a proper domestic cricket calender

9. The payments at BPL and Premier League should be made on time

10. The BCB doesn’t allow its players to feature in more than two franchise leagues. But when there is no international commitment, the players should be allowed to play in those leagues

11. There has to be proper trainers and physios for all levels so that players can train across the country under the BCB supervision.