Board, selectors in spotlight
Serious questions have been raised regarding selection procedures after the board allegedly interfered and later overruled the team list of the selection committee while choosing the Bangladesh side for the ODI series at home against England.
There is severe doubt about the relevance of the Rafiqul Alam led selection panel after this episode where their original 14-member team list was disregarded by the board members, who later released a 13 man list, which notably omitted batsman Rokibul Hasan from the team. The issue of the culling of Mohammad Ashraful from the team has also stirred controversy, as it was unclear whether the ex-national captain was dropped due to his own wishes or by the selection panel.
While the board members hold the right to dissolve the selection committee, team selection has long been mutually exclusive to the selection committee and interfering with the process is generally viewed as highly unprofessional. If the board are to overrule the decisions of the committee what is the use of having it in the first place, much less pay a healthy salary to its members?
This incident, while hopefully sporadic, might signal the return to a time when board members could pick the team. This led to favouritism and famously created a lot of controversy in the team selection history of the country. However, the last few years had seen a refreshing change as selectors enjoyed the freedom of choice and dealings were generally administrated in a professional way.
But this incident has disheartened some with one high-up commenting on the condition of anonymity that this practice could set bad precedents and that he was unhappy at the events.
The non-selection of Ashraful has also raised many questions, not for why he was dropped but how and by whom. The common consensus is that Ashraful was discarded only because the player himself desired to take a break after a poor run of form. The chief selector didn't make it clear what their opinion about the fate of out-of-form Ashraful was. The right-hander has been going through an elongated lean patch and there have been plenty of calls for him to be dropped.
However, many a time the chief selector has given the impression that he is not in favour of taking a harsh decision against the former national skipper despite the heavyweight underachiever, making mistake after mistake to set a bad example in the team as a senior member.
However, Ashraful aside, if the selection of the team against England is something to go by, there are bigger questions of autonomy of processes that need to be answered.