As Bangladesh were being humbled by an under-strength India at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday, there was reportedly another one-sided fight going on behind the scenes. And if you have followed Bangladesh cricket, you will be given no prizes for guessing that at the eye of the storm was Tigers superstar Shakib Al Hasan. This time Shakib was reportedly involved in a scuffle with spectators who, it was learnt, were taunting the all-rounder's wife -- who was standing above the dressing room area -- during the rain break.
“There was an incident and there was some misunderstanding,” Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) acting CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury told The Daily Star over the phone. “We have heard the version of one of the parties, and we will look into it in greater detail once the series is over. I cannot say anything more at this moment.”
The Daily Star understands that Shakib was told of the incident involving his wife, after which he came out of the dressing room and confronted the offending spectators. It was also learnt through eye witnesses that Shakib physically attacked the spectators quite brutally and that security personnel had to ask him to stop, after which the involved parties were taken to the CEO's box where the matter was resolved for the time being.
Other than the obvious indiscretion of laying hands on paying spectators, there are two other questions that can be raised. It is strange that during an international match outside information -- by which Shakib came to know of the incident -- can enter the dressing room and more alarmingly, how a player involved in the match can exit the dressing room and enter the general viewing area.
“It was not in my control and neither did it happen near me,” said skipper Mushfiqur Rahim when asked about the incident after the match. “I did not hear about it at the time; I was busy calculating the equations of the match. I think you will get a better idea if you talk to the management.
“Of course (I regret it). You hear a lot of things and of course one may feel bad. But whatever a spectator does or says, we have to accept it and take it in our stride. The fault was ours -- not just his but the whole team's. It can happen to anyone, but the whole team has to suffer..”
On condition of anonymity, a BCB official said that it is a serious offence to physically assault a spectator and as far as he knows, there are serious ICC-sanctioned consequences for such an action. Moreover, he was of the opinion that a player entering the spectators' zone during an international match was a serious security breach and may lead to an investigation.
It may also be mentioned that Shakib has been a repeat offender when it comes to indiscipline. During the second ODI against Sri Lanka in February, Shakib made a vulgar gesture to a live TV camera and was subsequently banned for three matches. He was also in hot water during the ICC World Twenty20 when he gave a controversial interview to a Bangla daily.