The Red Team comprising national cricketers lost a T20 practice match against The Green Team by 50 runs at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. However, the focus was not on the match as the question on everyone’s lips was: where is Shakib al Hasan?
The Test and T20I captain did not turn up at the venue to play the game. There were a lot of murmurs about the tension between Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Nazmul Hassan and the premier all-rounder following the players’ strike, which was followed by a letter to the all-rounder from the board.
BCB issued the letter asking Shakib to clarify why he had breached his contract by signing a deal with one of the country’s top mobile phone operators without informing the board. Shakib had inked an agreement with the national team’s former sponsors, Grameenphone, for an undisclosed sum at a time when he was also playing a pivotal role behind the cricketers’ strike for better pay and benefits. Shakib, who attended a UNICEF programme at a local hotel yesterday, was yet to reply.
“He didn’t reply but there is enough time,” said BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury when asked about Shakib’s reply.
The BCB boss went to Mirpur to watch the practice match but when approached by reporters after the match, the usually media-friendly Hassan refused to say anything.
It was learned that the BCB boss was upset with Shakib’s leading role in the players’ strike.
“Everybody should get rid of their ego… if all the parties allow their ego to take over, it can be suicidal for our cricket. We have to now fully focus on the upcoming India tour,” an official said on condition of anonymity.
BCB’s cricket operations committee chairman Akram Khan said: “The coach [Russell Domingo] told me that he was given a rest as he wanted to see the young players in the practice match.”
It later emerged that Shakib’s name was on the original players’ list for the match, as a wicketkeeper no less.