The year 2014 for Bangladesh cricket so far, both on and off the field, has been shrouded in darkness. Yesterday's decision by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) to impose a six-month ban on all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has added another chapter to Bangladesh's bad run. It was expected that the board was going to take stern action against the all-rounder but still the BCB president Nazmul Hassan Papon's words were heavy with emotion when he announced: “Our board has unanimously decided to ban him from competitive cricket for the next six months, both national and international. And till 31 December 2015, he won't receive the NOC (No Objection Certificate) for any foreign tournament.”
Following are excerpts from Papon's press conference, which was held after the board meeting which decided to punish Shakib for breaching agreement terms under the national player's contract:
“We had a lot of discussion. Individually we tried to give everyone time to take all opinions, including their own, into account. Shakib met up with me and he told me that he went (left for the West Indies without the No Objection Certificate) because he thought he would get the NOC after going to London. Regardless of whether Akram Khan (cricket operations committee chairman) told him to go through Shujon, he always takes the NOC from him (Shujon) and knows from whom to take it. He came to know that he did not have the NOC the night before (leaving for London) and he could not do anything about it at that point of time. He told Akram and left. Akram told him that he didn't have any problem but that Shakib needs to go through the CEO.
“The second thing is regarding his misbehaviour with the national coach. He clearly admitted that and he apologised for it. From what we have seen, it's not just regarding his NOC; rather it's the multiple issues.
“We have a series of allegations and reports which clearly show that he has a severe attitude problem and the extent of which is such that we never received a player with such a disciplinary issue. Those who were here said that they never saw any one with such an extent of attitude problem. If the problem was restricted to just him that would not have been a problem, His behaviour is such that it affects our team directly. Not only regarding the team combination but also the performance. What is perhaps more alarming is that there are some others who have started behaving like him. If this continues it will destroy the future of our cricket. So that's why we believe that he obviously deserves a strict punishment. And after this if there are any further instances of gross indiscipline, we will not shy away from imposing life bans if necessary.
“Our cricketers can't take the entire fault. It's not that they have been doing these things for the last one or two months; they have always been doing this, and we have been ignoring these small issues for a while, because they are loved by the nation. Having ignored these issues for such a long time, the board feels that if this trend continues the players will simply go out of control -- they won't listen to anyone.
“If he was a player who played just once and nobody knew him that would have been a different issue, but he is a role model. He is our country's ambassador. Many in the world know Bangladesh because of Shakib. That is why we think that a person of his level should be able to maintain his self-discipline.
“Let me give you an example and you will understand the severity of the problem. In the dressing room there was an incident. Our security guards who brought that boy (whom Shakib allegedly had an altercation with), they had the report that Shakib had hit him. He even told the team manager that he hit him. But when we called him for the hearing, he said that he didn't hit him. Then when he was asked as to why he left the dressing room he said he didn't know the rules. The board believes that this damn-care attitude of his won't work here.
“Some of the alleged behaviour was so inhuman that we were in awe as to how a player can commit these crimes.
“I met Shakib, and when he was in front of me I felt 'okay, let's forgive him right now'. But Bangladesh cricket is not for Shakib; Shakib is a part of Bangladesh cricket. That's why we had to give this punishment. Regarding discipline, there's zero tolerance.
“There will be a massive change in different places (management level). But today this one issue was so important, so delicate and so touching that we couldn't touch any other topic.
“Every player will get a letter, (to the effect that) before signing any commercial activity they have to inform the BCB. In certain cases they will need approval from the BCB.”