Shakib the culprit, but BCB the enabler
There is an age-old cricket batting tip: play according to the merit of the ball. This does not only apply to batting; the statement stands true for all components of a game. To become successful in cricket is one part of the game, but another major part is playing according to norms and with decency, especially when it cricket boasts the title of the gentlemen's game.
What Bangladesh premier all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan did at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Friday during a match between traditional rivals Abahani and Mohammedan in the Dhaka Premier League T20 encounter has been widely circulated on all media platforms. There should be no debate that what transpired on Friday is undoubtedly the ugliest thing that can happen in sport.
Kicking the stumps over after umpire refused a leg-before appeal and then uprooting the stumps while fuming at the umpire as well making indecent gestures towards the opponents dressing room was a far cry from what is called decency. To say the least and ignore the negative impact that the experienced campaigner's may have on the next generation of cricketers, there is hardly any doubt that the ace all-rounder's act was a serious offence according to the laws of the game
There is no scope to link his behavior with factors surrounding Bangladesh cricket and there is no way we can shift focus from the issue with ifs and buts.
The country's media told many stories and brought to the fore incidents relating to Bangladesh Cricket's alleged corrupt practices in domestic cricket, especially in lower-tier leagues, and that is something they must continue to do in the greater interest of the game. But nobody can use that to justify what Shakib did. Instead, we need to seriously examine the actions of the country's best cricketer and a role model to millions.
The 34-year-old is undoubtedly the best cricketer in Bangladesh's history, but unfortunately he is also the one who has relentlessly hogged the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
A very interesting twist came when Shakib quickly issued an apology on Facebook for 'human error', but the concerned authorities were unsure what they would do. Had they followed standard practice, it would not have taken more than three hours to reach a decision regarding the punishment for a breach of the code of conduct. But the board failed to approach the issue according to the merit of the incident.
Would it be an overstatement if we said that the history of the BCB's failure to act according to the merit of incidents somehow encouraged the all-rounder to court more controversy? We need not go far. Shakib would not have been playing this match if the authorities had followed its rules.
The BCB and Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis (CCDM) held a hearing in relation to the breach of the bio-secure bubble during a Mohammedan practice session, with skipper Shakib among those present. The outcome of the hearing was strange because despite affirmation that a breach of the bio-bubble had occurred, there were no fines or suspensions meted out. The funniest part was that both the BCB and CCDM suggested that the matter was being taken seriously.
Just a few months back, Shakib was not even questioned for saying things against board officials to members of the media in a number of interviews regarding his NOC for the Indian Premier League. Authorities simply turned a blind eye.
Shakib probably is the biggest beneficiary of the BCB's unprofessional attitude, with his latest act is just another example of Bangladesh cricket failing to act according to merit and just taking a nosedive.