“I cannot imagine what I am dealing with. I can only say that it’s not normal.”
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Nazmul Hassan told The Daily Star the other day while reflecting on what he had been dealing with just a few days ahead of the Tigers tour of India.
After all the speculation and guessing, when the International Cricket Council (ICC), via a media release, revealed that it had banned Bangladesh Test and T20I captain Shakib Al Hasan from all forms of cricket for two years, with one year of that suspended, it appeared the revelation surrounding the premier all-rounder was actually not normal.
True, it is never normal to find a player in this kind of situation and it was no exception when Bangladesh’s first cricketing superstar Mohammad Ashraful had been banned from all cricketing activities. But still it was probably on everyone’s lips: “Shakib, you too? How could you be trapped in it?”
If the ban was shocking, then the findings in the ICC’s press release were a real surprise for everybody. Shakib may know the truth, but for the common people it would be very hard to tag the case with any words like ‘happened out of ignorance, out of callousness or out of arrogance’. It will remain a mystery how it happened with a player who was not only praised for his outstanding all-round performance, but also maintaining the highest standard of professionalism.
How could he not be aware of the consequences of this kind of mistake (If you want to call it a mistake)? Had he not been informed about what cricket has been going through in regards to corruption? Was he not smart enough to understand the dark side of the game? As a fan of one of cricket’s best all-rounders, we can only throw such questions because we cannot get relief by saying that he was a victim of ignorance, thereby exonerating him to some extent. If we could have reached such a conclusion, then it would have been only pain rather than the puzzle.
When you had raised your fingers towards corruption in lower-tier domestic cricket in the country, we found a new hope and were impressed by your consciousness over corrupt practices in cricket. So, it’s hard to accept what has happened and it’s really difficult to find an answer. There was not a single indication in your characteristics from where we could find an answer for such happenings.
When you, and Tamim Iqbal, were approached by a bookie in 2010, you immediately reached out and reported the incident.
You have name and fame and yes, you have had also some blunders in terms of discipline in your career. But what was revealed on the 29th October, 2019 will remain the subject of bemusement.
Should we all say that all human makes mistake? Not sure at all. But we hope you will make a strong comeback as you promised yesterday, not only as one of the world’s best all-rounders, but also as an exemplary person who will be remembered for learning from his mistake.