BCB 'looking into' Gayle omission - Hassan
BCB president Nazmul Hassan has said the board is investigating Barisal Bulls' decision not to field Chris Gayle in the BPL's second qualifier on December 13, but did not elaborate on the matter when pressed further.
The Barisal management informed at the time that Gayle had complained of back pain on the morning of the game. The BPL was Gayle's comeback tournament since undergoing back surgery.
During the press conference in Mirpur on Sunday, Hassan was asked if the BCB had received any information or complaints regarding specific allegations of corruption in the BPL. He said the board had not received any, but added that they were looking into the Gayle issue.
"One could hold suspicion about certain matches from the BPL's first two seasons," Hassan said. "But none of that caught our attention this time. Our local ACSU team, who worked during the BPL, didn't inform us of anything, but it is a continuous process.
"At the same time, there is one issue which they are already working on. It is about Chris Gayle's [non] appearance in the semifinal [Qualifier]. There is some discussion about it. We are looking into it. I am not saying there was anything untoward but we are investigating the matter."
When asked to explain the Gayle issue further, Hassan said it would not be wise to discuss the matter without any specific complaint.
When contacted, the Barisal franchise co-owner Rizwan bin Farouk said the team was not going to force Gayle into playing a game with a back injury.
"If the player is injured, he can't play. You can't force him to play. He has had an operation. When he called the doctor, he was told to go back immediately," Farouk told ESPNcricinfo, adding that the franchise's contract with Gayle was for him to play "four to five matches" during the BPL season.
Gayle played four games, scoring 139 runs including an unbeaten 92 against Chittagong Vikings on December 9. During his stay for Barisal, he was also left out of the December 10 match against Dhaka Dynamites.
BPL governing council chairman Afzalur Rahman Sinha was quoted as telling the Bengali daily Prothom Alo during the Barisal-Rangpur qualifier that the council had learned of Gayle's unavailability just before the game. He said the council would investigate the Barisal franchise's decision not to pick Gayle.
"We have to examine if there was any other motive in this regard," Sinha told Prothom Alo. "We have to find out why Gayle wasn't played. We will investigate the matter after the tournament. They could have let us know earlier. The BCB physio and doctors could have looked after the problem. But they didn't tell us.
"We heard that he won't be playing a little while before the match began, and that he will be leaving [the country]. If he had an injury, he wouldn't be able to field the full game yesterday [December 12]. It would have been revealed in the field."
The BCB and the BPL's governing council and technical committee, however, do not have the jurisdiction in the composition of a team's playing XI, according to the BPL's rules and playing conditions.
At the toss of the same game, Barisal captain Mahmudullah said Gayle was going to join his BBL team in Australia and was hence unavailable. Their manager told the media that Gayle had notified the franchise of his back pain on the morning of the match. "He informed us this morning that he has back pain, which is why he can't play today. Because he just returned from injury, we didn't force him. Gayle wants to have treatment of his back pain in Australia," Barisal manager Saidul Islam was quoted as saying by Prothom Alo.
In the post-match press conference Sabbir Rahman said the Barisal team had known of Gayle's unavailability earlier. "After our last match, we heard that Gayle wouldn't be playing this game," he said.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84