Five days after the truce between the BCB and the striking players, not everything seems to be right in Bangladesh cricket, especially when it comes to Shakib Al Hasan. After leading the strike, Shakib hasn’t turned up for the national team’s training sessions on two out of three days so far.
The BCB hasn’t offered much by way of explanation for Shakib’s absence, except conveying coach Russell Domingo’s message that Shakib had been left out of Sunday’s practice match as he wanted to look at other players. But Shakib’s name was, reportedly, in the list of players expected to attend.
In any case, that isn’t all there is to the story.
In an interview with Bengali daily Prothom Alo, BCB president Nazmul Hassan has said that some players – he named Shakib specifically – could skip the upcoming India tour, for which the team is scheduled to leave on Wednesday. Mohammad Saifuddin has already been ruled out due to a back injury while Tamim Iqbal has opted out to be with his pregnant wife.
“I am quite sure that they [the players] won’t go, and they will only inform us when we have nothing to do about it,” Hassan said in the interview. “I don’t know. I have called Shakib today. Let’s see what he says. It might be others too. I don’t know. But I had information that they won’t go.
“Now things have quickly changed [vis-a-vis the strike]. They didn’t think it would all change so quickly. I am not saying this after hearing it from a trusted source. If they say on October 30 that they won’t go, what will we do? We have to change the entire combination. Where will I get a captain from? You tell me what will I do with them?”
To complicate matters further, the BCB has called Shakib’s recent sponsorship deal with Grameenphone “unlawful”. Hassan has said that the board had specifically told the players not to sign contracts with any telecom company. “We told the players not to do any deals with telecom companies, so that they can participate in the tender [for team sponsorship] next year. Can Shakib do this unlawful thing knowing everything? Should I allow them to do just about anything?
“Look at the timing too. I won’t get the telecom companies in the January tender. Even if they do come, it will be for a lower price. Who is getting hurt in this? Only one player is profiting, but what about my team?”
Shakib has been sent a show-cause notice to explain his side of the story, and there might be an update later today when the Bangladesh squad attends its final training session in Mirpur, where they will play a practice match among themselves. Will Shakib be around for that?