Bangladesh cricket 'rebel' stunned by 10-year ban

Former Bangladesh captain Habibur Bashar was stunned by the 10-year ban imposed on him and 12 others for joining the unauthorised Indian Cricket League (ICL), reports said on Thursday.

The ICL, bankrolled by India’s largest listed media company, Zee Telefilms, on Tuesday unveiled a new Dhaka Warriors team for its upcoming season that includes 11 current or former internationals.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board on Wednesday banned all ICL signees for 10 years, in keeping with the policy of administrators in other countries who regard the ICL as a rebel organisation.

“It is really unexpected,” Bashar told the Dhaka-based Daily Star. “The 10-year suspension is too harsh. I can’t believe it.
We may try to meet with the board officials to explain everything.”

Media reports said the players had signed up for $200 000 each for a three-year period but the ICL declined to reveal the financial details.

The 13 players announced for the Dhaka Warriors include senior teammates Shahriar Nafis, Dhiman Ghosh, Mohammad Rafique and Alok Kapali.

The others are Aftab Ahmed, Farhad Reza, Manjural Islam, Mabud Chowdhury, Mahbubul Karim, Mohammad Sharif, Mosharraf Hossain and Tapash Baisya.

Bashar (36), who has played in 50 of Bangladesh’s 53 Tests and is the country’s most successful Test batsman with 3 026 runs, said he did not want to be called a rebel player.

“I think the people in this country will not misunderstand us because we did not commit any crime, rather we just want to play cricket,” he said. “It would be an unbearable pain for me to be cast as a banned cricketer after playing for my country for so many years.

“There were reasons for me to take such a decision. I didn’t consider only money because I know how big it is to represent the national team.”

Meanwhile, the International Cricket Council (ICC) backed the Bangladesh board’s move to ban the 13 players.

“Our position is that at the moment ICL is still unofficial cricket,” an ICC spokesperson said from the governing body’s headquarters in Dubai.

Bangladesh, who have lost 47 of their 53 Tests and won just one against Zimbabwe, were expected to be severely depleted for next month’s home series against New Zealand.

But Black Caps skipper Daniel Vettori refused to take victory for granted in the two Tests and three one-day internationals his team will play on the tour.

“The expectations are on us to win and that’s fair enough,” Vettori was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald. “You have to give Bangladesh due respect. I’m not going to sit here and say they’re not good enough. They need to be given opportunities to try and progress.”

New Zealand will play the one-dayers on October 9, 11 and 14 before the first Test in Chittagong from October 17 to 21. The second Test will be played in Dhaka from October 25 to 29.—Sapa-AFP

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