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22 October, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 22 October, 2019 02:08:49 AM
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Cricketers go on strike for rise in pay and perks

SPORTS REPORTER, Dhaka
Cricketers go on strike for rise in pay and perks
Bangladesh national cricket team captain Shakib Al Hasan (C) speaks with journalists next to teammate Mushfiqur Rahim (r) at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka yesterday. Bangladesh cricketers, including the members of the Bangladesh national squad, called the unprecedented strike demanding sweeping pay hike, effectively putting the team's next month's tour of India in jeopardy. AFP photo

A large number of Bangladesh national cricket team players, along with the others taking part in the country’s domestic cricket, have called a strike to press for their 11-point charter of demands placed before the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). The players have threatened to quit all levels of cricket until their demands are met. Shakib Al Hasan made the announcement after discussions with other players at the academy ground of the SBNCS in the capital yesterday.

Naeem Islam held a press briefing at the SBNCS academy ground yesterday on their eleven-point charter of demands. ‘‘We’ve came here to press home some of our demands. First of all, I want to talk about respect. We players don’t get the respect we deserve. Secondly, the players’ association CWAB, which delegates players, never talked about us or took any step in our favour. So, we demand the immediate resignation of CWAB's president, secretary and other functionaries. We, the players, will choose those delegations through election,’’ said Naeem Islam.

Mahmudullah Riyad came next and raised the second demand. ''You are aware of the situation in the Premier League cricket prevailing for the last few years. Every player expressed their dissatisfaction over the way the Premier League cricket is being played. Players' salaries have been set within a certain frame and they've been put under several limitations as well. The way we played Premier League previously and the way players dealt with club officials gave players the power to set their own salary and rights to choose their own teams. So, our second demand is that we want that Premier League cricket back," Riyad said, referring to the recent scenario of the Dhaka Premier League.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board has decided that the upcoming seventh edition

of the Dhaka Premier League would be played in the name of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, leaving out all the franchisees. But wicket-keeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim, raising the third demand, said, ''We obviously respect this edition of the BPL, which is going to be held differently this time around. But, at the same time, we want the same BPL format from next year. The focal point of our demand is that there should be a fair base price for our local players, with parity with that of the foreign players. We've never seen our local players get the amount of money they get. We want to make that sure for us.

“Another important aspect is players' draft. If you look at the world's franchisee cricket, players have the right to ensure their grades in the players' draft. We want this system, too. So, with due respect, players should be given that right to choose their own draft."

Just a few days ago, the Bangladesh national team’s iconic all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, in an exclusive interview to the media, had criticised the BCB's poor infrastructure and facilities in domestic cricket. He referred to players' salaries, accommodation, gym and indoor facilities.

Shakib reiterated those demands at yesterday’s press conference, saying, “Our first-class cricket match fee should be Tk. 1 lakh and players' salary should be raised by a minimum of 50 per cent, gym and indoor facilities should be increased, and physio and trainer should be appointed for 12 months. We want to make this certain before the season begins next year. To spread out our cricket, training facilities should be set up in all divisional levels, and not only in Dhaka.

“If we want to improve the culture of our cricket, we need to focus on certain small issues. For example, the ball with which we play first-class cricket isn’t up to the standard. So, we struggle in international matches when we have to adjust to with a different ball.

“The second thing is that Tk. 1,500 as daily allowance is not enough for accommodation and healthy food that players need to eat to keep fit. We need a considerable amount of money for that.”

Regarding players’ travel, Shakib said, “We only get Tk. 2,500 as travel cost. With this amount, we can only travel by bus. Players must be given plane fares. We also demand gyms and swimming pools in each of the hotels allocated for the players. A player who plays a four-day match needs a gym and swimming pool to regain fitness. But such facilities are not available in 2-star or in one-star hotels. We also need AC buses, at least to travel from the hotel to the field,’’ Shakib added.

Enamul Haque Jr raised the fourth demand. ‘‘The number of BCB’s contractual players should be increased. I think the number of the BCB’s contractual players is much less than that of other cricket boards. So, I think that it should be at least 30 at central contract and there should be increment in players’ salary scale, too. I heard that the salary scale of the players had not been increased in the last three years. So, it must be stopped.”

Left-hand opener Tamim Iqbal raised the sixth demand. ‘‘We don’t only want to talk about cricketers’ problems. We are all aware of the salary of the BCB ground staff. They only get Tk. 5,000 or 6,000 per month. We don’t want to promote our local coaches. The amount of money that a foreign coach gets is equal to that of our 20 local coaches. We’ve also seen that a local coach, who had done reasonably well with the team on a tour, was removed in the next series. We, players and journalists, also complained about the umpiring. But if someone wants to take it up as a profession, he should be provided security for life. The same goes for physios and trainers. I think this is the right time to promote and give priority to Bangladeshis than anybody else.”

Anamul Haque Bijoy raised the seventh demand. “We play two four-day tournaments—BCL and NCL. But we just play one ODI version in the DPL. We want to see one more domestic ODI tournament. We also want to play another Twenty20 tournament before the BPL. Five years ago, there was a one-day version tournament after the four-day NCL.”

Nurul Hasan spoke about the eighth demand. “We want to see a fixed calendar for our domestic cricket. If we have this, then we’ll be able to prepare well for these tournaments.”

Junaed Siddique also spoke on the eighth demand. He said, “We want to get our money from the BPL and DPL in time. Last year, 10 DPL teams made all the payments of the players. But from Brothers Union, I am yet to receive 40 per cent of my money. We have gone to the cricket board on several occasions and also knocked on the CWAB’s door. But there has been no response. As a national player, I think none of us deserve that. I hope the teams will pay the money in due time.’’

Farhad Reza spoke on the ninth demand: “We were forbidden to play more than two franchise-based tournaments. After national duty, when we are free, we want to play in these tournaments more and more. That will help us learn a lot of things.”

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan concluded the briefing, saying, “We could not include our women’s team in our demands. They are welcomed with their demands as I know there will be some, of course. We also left out the Under-19 team and age-level teams. Till now, our demands have not been resolved. So, we won’t participate in any kind of cricket activities.”

“First-class players and national team players all are included in placing the demands. We have begun pressing for their fulfilment from today.

I think the demands will only be fulfilled after discussions. We will commence normal cricketing activities once our demands are fulfilled. We all want to see the development of our cricket. We want to create a better place for upcoming players, so that cricket can go further.”

Meanwhile, BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury said, “We have been informed through the media about their demands. But they didn’t make any formal communication with us. Of course, players are very important for us. Once I get their demands in writing, I will definitely talk to the board about it. The board will take a decision on the matter.

“Players are part of the cricket board. I think any kind of demand can be sorted out through discussions,” he added.

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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