Did Sabbir threaten a fan again?
Bangladesh batsman Sabbir Rahman may have landed himself in disciplinary trouble yet again after screenshots emerged of abusive language used and threats issued towards a fan from a Facebook account bearing his name and one he used in conversation with media personnel in the past.
It is known upon good authority that the account 'Shabbir Rahaman Roman' was Sabbir's personal account as he often interacted with the media through the account, which also boasted more than 90,000 followers.
"Players, especially national players, are given definitive guidelines on how to behave with fans and on social media," Bangladesh Cricket Board CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury told The Daily Star yesterday. "They have been told that they must be very careful when interacting with the public on social media. Since it is out in the public and when it has come to the board's knowledge, if such a breach has occurred it will be referred to the disciplinary committee and appropriate action taken."
A Facebook user, professing himself to be a Bangladesh fan and a Sabbir admirer, posted a sarcastic message about the batsman after he was dismissed for 12 in the penultimate over of Bangladesh's loss against West Indies in the second ODI in Guyana on Wednesday, or Thursday morning Bangladesh time.
The user, a Dhaka University student, poked fun at Sabbir saying that the improvement of 'Sir Donald Sabbir Rahman Bradman' was quite mysterious. Sabbir's account was not mentioned in that remark, but another user replying to his post mentioned the aforementioned account, which is presumably how 'Shabbir Rahaman Roman' came to know about it.
About three hours later, both users got identical private messages from the unverified account, filled with expletives and ending with a threat about how they would regret their words once he, presumably Sabbir, returned to the country. And then both users were blocked.
"I can't understand why he would block me," the user who prefers to remain anonymous told The Daily Star on Friday night.
The Daily Star also verified that the screenshot was authentic by seeing it first-hand on the user's phone. "I am a fan of his and if he plays well in the next match, we will all be chanting his name. Also, I never used a bad word when I posted that message on my Facebook, but he abused me in unspeakable language. I am sorry if I offended him but it was not right to threaten me; he could have just pointed out my mistake instead."
It may also be mentioned here that the account of 'Shabbir Rahaman Roman' was either deactivated or deleted around eight or nine hours after the offensive message was sent and about an hour or two after some media outlets, including The Daily Star, attempted to get Sabbir's side of the story through the team manager in West Indies.
As mentioned, it is fairly well known that this account is Sabbir's personal account. It is common practice for players to have a verified Facebook page to interact with fans and a personal account for friends and family. If true, it is all the more damning because while verified pages are usually left to an appointed social media manager, personal accounts are normally maintained by the players themselves -- which means that it is unlikely that someone other than Sabbir penned the threat.
When asked if there are provisions for harsher sanctions against a repeat offender like Sabbir, Chowdhury said that was an internal matter and not to be discussed with the media.
Sabbir is no stranger to disciplinary breaches and abusive behaviour. In November last year, during a National Cricket League match for Rajshahi in Rajshahi, Sabbir had physically assaulted a young fan during a break in play because the fan allegedly made cat noises as a humorous allusion to Sabbir's cat-like eyes. He had also threatened the match officials with dire consequences if they reported the incident.
BCB president Nazmul Hassan had announced on the first day of 2018 that Sabbir would be banned from domestic cricket for six months, and levied a hefty fine. However, he was allowed to continue playing for the national team -- which to many eyes drastically reduced the punitive effect of the ban as national appearances are the main currency for young cricketers. The six-month ban would also not have affected Sabbir's participation in the most lucrative domestic competition, the Bangladesh Premier League, which was then slated for November 2018.